July 11--Promega Corp., a major Madison-area biotechnology company, is about to grow again.
Just nine months after opening its $120 million, Zen-like Feynman Center manufacturing facility at 2780 Woods Hollow Road -- with its wooden beams and "living wall" of indoor, blooming plants -- Promega broke ground Thursday on another manufacturing building at 5455 Nobel Drive, a short jog south in the Fitchburg Technology Campus.
The 100,000-square-foot building, more on the conventional side, will be used to package and ship the enzymes, proteins and other biological products made at its BioPharmaceutical Technology Center (BTC), 5445 E. Cheryl Pkwy. The BTC produces a wide variety of tools used worldwide for scientific research, cell analysis and DNA tests for human identification.
"We have 2,500 components that could come out in any combination of kits, depending on what the customer requires," said Ralph Titus, global logistics director. "We will do packaging, customization ... and then ship the product across the world."
Products for medical diagnostics are made at the Feynman Center, which complies with more stringent environmental rules.
Titus said the new building will not increase staff immediately.
"We don't expect to be adding any new positions in the near future, but we are building so we can accommodate future growth when it happens," he said.
Founded in 1978, the privately owned Promega has branches in 15 countries and 1,300 employees worldwide, including about 750 in Dane County, with annual revenues of $360 million.
The latest project is expected to cost $30 million, Titus said. Kraemer Brothers, Plain, is the general contractor and Uihlein Wilson, Milwaukee, the architect. The building is expected to open in June 2015.
When it is finished, Promega will occupy 855,000 square feet of space in the Madison area, including its Agora office building and its research and development building, across from the BTC.
"This is another great day for Fitchburg to have this fantastic company continue to expand," Mayor Shawn Pfaff said.
The city of Fitchburg is providing $1.5 million in tax incremental financing to help fund the company's specialized equipment, said Fitchburg economic development director Michael Zimmerman.
"We are not issuing city debt," he said.
The money will be paid to Promega over 10 years, as the company pays property taxes on the new building.
Zimmerman said the Promega project will serve as a catalyst for future commercial and residential development.
That's because Nobel Drive will be extended east by developer Carl Ruedebusch, who owns 56 acres along the Fitchburg Technology Campus.
Zimmerman said the city will provide up to $2 million toward the road building for which the final cost has not yet been determined.
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