FARGO - Aldevron is expanding again, creating another campus on Fargo’s south side by converting the former Maintenance Engineering building into a new research and development and manufacturing facility.
The Fargo-based firm purchased the two-story building at 3001 University Drive S. in 2019, and is requesting a 10-year payment in lieu of taxes property tax break from the city. On Monday, Sept. 28, by Fargo’s Tax Exempt Review Committee gave its approval to the request, sending it on to the City Commission for final approval.
The PILOT would run from 2021 to 2030, and if both the city commission and Cass County Commission eventually approve the tax exemption, Aldevron would save about $685,000 in property taxes. If the county opts not to approve the PILOT, Aldevron’s tax benefit would drop to $371,562, according to city documents.
The building is being renovated and expanded to become a biologics research and manufacturing facility, producing therapeutic products and reagents for biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms worldwide. With its basement, the building is nearly 48,000 square feet.
Adevron has other facilities nearby at 3233 and 3239 15th St. S., and 3301 S. University Drive. The addition of the new facility creates another campus for Aldevron, according to company spokeswoman Ellen Shafer.
The rapidly expanding headquarters campus is at 4055 41st Ave. S., and another facility is at 4837 Amber Valley Parkway.
The current operations for research grade biologic materials “are at capacity without room for expansion,” Shafer said in an emailed statement Friday, Sept. 25. “In order to serve our clients working on life-saving treatments, we needed to consider other options for growth. This particular building suited our needs well due to its location,” size and three-acre lot, which allows for expansion.
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Aldevron will install manufacturing equipment, and analytical equipment, including bioreactors, chromatography equipment and other analytical equipment and genetic sequencers, in the new facility. The project is expected to be completed and operations underway during the second quarter of 2021, the PILOT application said.
The market value of the property is $6.7 million ($900,000 for land, $3.8 million for existing buildings and structures, and $2 million for new construction on the site). Machinery and equipment value is $1.5 million, the PILOT application said.
Aldevron is undergoing rapid growth at this time, including a massive expansion at its 14-acre campus at 4055 41st Ave. S.
Aldevron opened a $30 million, 70,000 square-foot GMP plasmid DNA manufacturing facility there in 2018.
A second phase of construction, three buildings that comprise a 189,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehouse and logistics space, is underway. The $46 million facility will also include $26 million in equipment.
The 3001 University Drive S. location is projected to add 51 new jobs in the first years, the city's Director of Strategic Planning and Research Jim Gilmour told the committee. He said Aldevron has had no problems exceeding its employment projections. Aldevron's 2016 expansion was expected to add 85 jobs in five years. Instead, it added about 192 jobs in three years, city documents show.
City Commissioner and committee Chairman Dave Piepkorn said he liked the idea that the bulk of the jobs expected to be created by the firm's latest expansion will pay well. Projections call for 20 positions paying $15-$20 per hour; 24 positions paying $20.01 to $28 per hour; five positions paying $28.01-$35 per hour; and two positions paying more than $35 per hour, documents show.
“Aldevron is proud that our headquarters is here in Fargo, and we have exciting plans for our growth and expansion that will bring more job opportunities for people not only with our company, but also with the construction and renovation businesses assisting with all our building projects,” said Marc Wolff, who is chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the firm.