Emergent Biosolutions may expand its drug and vaccine production to a 34-acre parcel in DeWitt Township, but the site near the Capital Region International Airport isn't the only contender for the company's upcoming expansion.
The company was founded in Lansing as BioPort but is now headquartered in Maryland. It still has a facility in Lansing on Martin Luther King Boulevard that produces vaccines for anthrax exposure.
"Emergent remains solidly committed to the Lansing area," said Matt Hartwig, Emergent Biosolutions' director of media relations, and the property in DeWitt Township "is a primary candidate for this investment, however, no final decision has been made on whether this project will proceed."
Hartwig added that, "the facility in discussion could add new jobs and help bring economic growth to the region" and make Michigan "a home for critical therapies necessary to protect the United States from serious public health threats."
Some of the critical therapies in Emergent's portfolio include the smallpox vaccine, the typhoid vaccine, the cholera vaccine and Naloxone, which is used to treat opioid overdoses.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor predicts the facility would add as many as 300 jobs to the area.
"We don't know for certain but something in that ballpark. Again, these are good-paying jobs, too," Schor said.
That's why DeWitt Township has partnered with Lansing and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership to make its proposal more appealing to the company in the form of an Act 425 tax agreement.
If approved by Lansing City Council and the DeWitt Township Board of Trustees, the 50-year deal would transfer the parcel of land near the corner of DeWitt Road and Port Lansing Road to Lansing. The township and city would each collect half of the property and income tax revenue from the facility. Lansing would then provide police, fire and other services.
"With a 425, or a tax-sharing agreement, we look at a whole variety of services. We look at infrastructure, we look at sewer and water, electrical, some land use and zoning, there could be police and fire," Schor said. "So, any of these basic services that the city naturally provides, that the township may or may not, are things that can be put within a 425 agreement. So, all of those have been worked on and negotiated."
Both the Lansing City Council and the DeWitt Township Board have hearings scheduled in May - on May 10 and May 24 respectively - to discuss the agreement.
DeWitt Township Supervisor Rick Galardi said "the township takes great pride in contributing to the region-wide efforts to bring a possible Emergent Biosolutions expansion to our community."
"Emergent Biosolutions is a noble company and that their therapies and vaccines have, and will continue, to save countless lives," he said. "DeWitt Township is thrilled to be under consideration."
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