New Sanford research facility moves forwardFARGO — A new Sanford biotech research facility at North Dakota State University’s Research and Technology Park that’s expected to create dozens of jobs took another step forward on Tuesday.
By: By Marino Eccher, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — A new Sanford biotech research facility at North Dakota State University’s Research and Technology Park that’s expected to create dozens of jobs took another step forward on Tuesday.
Sanford secured a five-year property tax exemption worth about $114,000 a year on the project from the city’s tax-exempt review committee. The company plans to open the facility in the space formerly occupied by Alien Technology.
The exemptions are used by the city to promote job growth. In its application for an exemption, Sanford said the facility will employ 12 people in 2011, with a payroll of $312,500. By 2015, Sanford projects 96 employees and a payroll of $5 million.
Plans for the facility are moving along quickly, Sanford spokesman Dave Anderson told committee members. Sanford is ready to sign a lease on the building, he said, and the facility will be operational early next year.
Anderson said the facility will conduct heart, cancer and diabetes research. He said he could not be more specific about the nature of the research.
Sanford will invest about $617,500 in the facility next year, according to the proposal. The company projects investment to grow to $2.2 million in 2012 and $8.4 million by 2015.
The Forum reported in August on a pending Sanford program in the technology park — dubbed the ESTEEM Institute — that would serve as an educational collaboration with multiple partner organizations. Anderson said those plans have yet to be finalized, and are separate from the current proposal.
City Assessor Ben Hushka said the educational program could become a sticking point if it becomes part of the tax-exempt facility. The city generally doesn’t grant tax exemptions for educational programs, he said.
Beyond that concern, the committee’s assessment of the proposal was largely positive. Committee member Jim Buus said the new facility aligns well with Fargo’s goals for growth.
“This is exactly the sort of thing that’s consistent with the strategic plan of the Economic Development Corporation,” he said. The Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corp. has focused heavily on bolstering Fargo’s biotech sector in recent years.
After the meeting, Tony Grindberg, executive director for the research and technology park, said more biotech research and investment is a good fit for NDSU.
Marino Eccher is a reporter
at The Forum of Fargo-
Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.