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HARLEYSVILLE, PA-Following a competitive bid process, Almac Group, a Craigavon, Northern Ireland-based pharmaceutical company, has selected Skanska USA to construct its new North American headquarters on 40 acres of former farmland here, which includes space for future expansion. The initial phase will consist of two buildings aggregating 240,000 sf.

“The final configuration of the buildings hasn’t been fully determined yet,” says Ed Szwarc, Skanska EVP and general manager of the Stockholm-based company’s Philadelphia regional office, which is based in Blue Bell. “One of the buildings will be office, and the other will be a warehouse and R&D facility,” he tells GlobeSt.com. The all-in cost is $100 million, including the price of the land.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for second-quarter 2008. The buildings will be constructed almost simultaneously. “There may be a one-month lag between them,” Szwarc says. Both are expected to reach completion in first quarter 2010. There is no timeline yet for a second phase, which he says will take place as needed.

Skanska has a specialty in construction of hospitals and life science facilities. The Philadelphia region encompasses Southern NJ, Pennsylvania and Delaware, and Szwarc says, “90% of this office’s business is devoted to those specialties.”

Almac provides R&D and manufacturing services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries worldwide. It will relocate and consolidate 495 employees from its existing business divisions in Audubon and Yardley and add more than 262 new jobs at the new headquarters within three years. The company also projects that new hires will total at least 400 by 2013.

The state’s Department of Community and Economic Development has assembled an incentive package of slightly more than $9 million for the project. The package consists of a $4.5-million grant from the infrastructure and facilities improvement program, which will be dispersed over 10 years; a $2-million Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loan; a nearly $1.3-million infrastructure development grant, a $400,000 opportunity grant, $100,000 in customized job training funds, and $786,000 in job creation tax credits. Almac is also eligible to apply for a $10-million, low-interest loan through the Citizens Job Bank program.

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