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Eight months after successfully courting Beacon Pharmaceutical to town, Jupiter Town Council members are expected to vote Thursday on the bioscience company’s plans for a research, development and production facility on Indiantown Road.
The 150,000-square-foot facility built on town-owned land just west of Florida’s Turnpike would create at least 240 new jobs, George Gentile, of landscape architecture firm Gentile Glas Holloway O’Mahoney & Associates, said on behalf of Beacon at a September meeting of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
Commission members voted 5-0 at that meeting to recommend approving the site plan. Town staff also recommend town council members OK the site plan.
At the heart of Beacon’s plans is an incubator, where it will work with possibly over 50 bioscience companies in the spirit of “cross-fertilization” of ideas related to pharmaceuticals aiding in disease treatment and prevention, Gentile said.
Research there will focus on immunology, oncology, aging, epigenetics, as well as rare and nervous system-related diseases, according to a town document.
The building will have lab space across three floors, with an average building height of roughly 32.2 feet, Gentile said.
Its full-glass atrium, which Gentile called “kind of our key element,” will be 56 feet high.
“We’re excited about the architecture, the glass and also the landscaping ... incorporated through the building and into it,” he said.
Beacon Pharmaceutical hopes to break ground by early 2020, Nancy Torres Kaufman, the company’s executive chairwoman, said in an interview last month. She expects construction to last 12-14 months.
“We wanted to bring something that could represent the cutting-edge and modern complexities,” she said of the facility’s design.
But just as important was blending “with communities in the area,” she said. The company took pains to make sure their facility doesn’t look out of place in west Jupiter.
“We wanted to be part of the neighborhood,” Torres Kaufman said.
He added: “The location is perfect. It’s located right at the foot of the turnpike.”
Developers met with nearby residents of Jupiter Country Club and Sonoma Isles. Some had questions regarding the biomedical activity on-site. Beacon representatives say there will be no animal testing and no fumes, and waste will be hauled away daily, according to a town document.
Councilman Wayne Posner, a Jupiter Country Club resident, said he attended both meetings. He was impressed with how the company fielded questions and said the facility will fit in well with the neighborhood.
“It’s probably one of the lower-impact kinds of buildings that could go there,” Posner said.
There were also traffic questions at those neighborhood meetings.
At this stage, plans call for about 180 parking spaces on-site, although there is room for more, Gentile said. To ease the flow of traffic onto Indiantown Road, he said workers will operate on three shifts staggered on non-peak hours.
Posner called it a good solution, saying “that’s a good thing for a big building like that.”
Gentile added the new facility will complement the bioscience organizations that already call Jupiter home.
“The center is in line with the vision of the town of Jupiter,” Gentile said. “It’s ... part of the Max Planck, Scripps, FAU hub that we’ve been working on here.”
Town officials offered Beacon a number of incentives to attract the bioscience company to Jupiter.
The company will rent the nine acres of land through a lease-to-own agreement with the town, which will pay Beacon up to $600,000 over 10 years depending on how many jobs it creates. Jupiter council members also voted in June to foot a $500,000 loan guarantee for Beacon.