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LOWER SALFORD TWP, PA-Ground has broken on Almac Group’s $78.5-million US headquarters building. The 240,000-sf project, which is being managed by Skanska USA, is scheduled for completion in 2010.

Skanska was awarded the contract for the project in 2007. The first phase will involve the development of roads, storm water management systems, parking, utility infrastructure and landscaping. When complete, the 40-acre site at Wambold and Fretz roads will hold a 74,500-sf office building and 165,600-sf production facility for packaging, storage, warehouse, shipping and receiving and label control. The project has already drawn the ire of local builders for Skanska’s decision to use only union labor on the project.

Almac, based in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, will combine the operations of its Pennsylvania divisions in Audubon in Montgomery County and Yardley in Bucks County at the new complex, which was designed by Francis Cauffman Architects, Genesis Engineering and Barry Isett & Associates. Nearly 500 employees will be relocated to the new complex, with an additional 265 jobs to be created within three years.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development put together a $9-million funding package for the project. It included a $4.5-million grant through the infrastructure and facilities improvement program that will be disbursed over a 10-year period, $2-million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, $1.25-million grant from the infrastructure development program, $400,000 Opportunity Grant and nearly $1 million in job-training funds and job-creation tax credits.

“Pennsylvania is proud to welcome Almac’s North American headquarters, enhancing the Commonwealth’s status as a leader in the biosciences industry,” Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell says in a company press release. “Almac takes its place among the innovative companies and researchers calling Pennsylvania home and will serve as a magnet for even more talent and inspiration.” Rendell joined Almac chairman Sir Allen McClay at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility.

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