Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lab expansion in BioTech Park bringing 653 new jobs

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced today a planned expansion by Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc. that would bring $68.5 million in capital investment and 653 new jobs to the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park.

The health-management company started in 2009 and has experienced such rapid growth that it realized in September that it would need to relocate or expand its 30,000 square-foot presence in the downtown research park, said Tonya Mallory, the company's president and chief executive officer. The company decided to remain in Richmond at the BioTech park in light of its proximity and existing relationships with VCU Medical Center.

The Jones administration said it had followed the company's growth and worked aggressively to support the two-phase expansion when it learned other locations were being considered.

"This has been a company that's been on our radar for a long time," said Peter H. Chapman, the city's deputy chief administrative officer for economic and community development.

Pending approvals by City Council, including a 10-year, $1.35 million performance-based grant, site work will begin early next year to demolish two buildings and replace them with a pair of six-story buildings along Jackson Street near Fifth Street, across from Altria's massive research facility.

The two-year expansion of Health Diagnostics Laboratory will represent the largest investment in the 16-year-old BioTech park behind Altria's, said Robert T. Skunda, president and chief executive officer of the park.

By Will Jones
Richmond Times-Dispatch

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