BOSTON-In a move that the city hopes will expand its biotech market, the Boston Redevelopment Authority has created a special position to lure those companies to build in the city.

Glen Comiso was appointed as the BRA’s new biotechnology and life sciences specialist. The BRA says the new position was created to “give additional focus to Boston’s increasingly high-profile biotech industry.” The appointment comes on the heels of the National Institutes of Health awarding a $120 million grant for the National Biocontainment Laboratory project at Boston University.

“We are lending a lot of focus to this sector of our economy,” Meredith Baumann, spokesperson for the BRA, tells, adding that Comiso’s job will be to “investigate ways to create a more welcoming atmosphere for these companies.”

Baumann notes that the city needs to understand biotech companies’ specific needs for space and how to use the space it has to create that. “We want them to choose Boston,” she says. “This will be a one stop for biotech businesses to navigate the city.” The city receives one billion dollars in NIH grants every year. The BRA says it has already demonstrated its commitment to this sector with its planning efforts in the Longwood Medical Area, a concentration of medical and educational institutions.

Baumann notes that when Genzyme decided to build its headquarters in Cambridge the impact on many sectors of the economy was huge. Genzyme is building its world headquarters in Kendall Square, a $400-million mixed-use development project being developed by Lyme Properties. Genzyme is taking 285,000-sf in that building as well as 150,000-sf of space in a laboratory building.

The city emphasizes that it is already a “world-renowned leader” in medicine and academics. “The mayor [Thomas M. Menino] is also leading the way to build upon that reputation, both in terms of raising the city’s stature as a biotechnology epicenter, as well as recognizing the industry as an economic engine for the city,” the BRA says in a release.

“Boston has its foot in the door,” adds Baumann. “Its something we’re known for.” She stresses that the city does not plan to compete with its neighbor, Cambridge, which is home to its own concentration of biotech companies. “We want to engage companies from far away,” says Baumann. “We need to create a place where these places can grow and help them maintain their stature.

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