January 6, 2017

Baker signs biomanufacturing land transfer bill

Governor Baker was joined by Worcester community representatives at the signing of H.4774 on Friday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that the bill signing took place.

A bill that will help kick off the expansion of biopharmaceutical companies to designated land in Worcester was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker today, according to the governor's office.

The bill, H.4774, authorizes the state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance to convey the land parcels on the site of the former Worcester State Hospital to the Worcester Business Development Corp. or its nonprofit designee New Garden Park, Inc, which was named as the site's developer in September. It also requires the DCAMM commissioner to consult with the neighboring UMass Medical School before determining the boundaries for any part of the property sharing a boundary with the Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, which is used by the medical school.

According to the bill, the former hospital parcels can be used for one or more medical or technologically-related purpose, including pharmaceutical research and production, biotechnology, bioengineering, or biomanufacturing.

California-based LakePharma, which acquired Worcester-based Blue Sky BioServices in March of last year, has expressed interest in becoming the first tenant of the proposed 500,000-square-foot site.

The redevelopment, part of the commonwealth's ongoing Open for Business Initiative, was announced in September by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who is also expected to be present at the bill signing. At full capacity, the site has the potential to create over 500 jobs.

"This bill is critical to the continued growth and prosperity of my district," said state Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler. "The statutory changes would provide the framework for a new biotechnology park, bringing jobs and opportunity to our community. Worcester is on the cusp of becoming a destination for this burgeoning industry and this legislation is the next step towards a very bright future."

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