WuXi Finalizes Deal and Buys Site for $60M Worcester Project

WuXi Biologics, a life sciences company slated to anchor a new biomanufacturing complex in Worcester, has closed on a deal with the property owner, the Worcester Business Development Corp.

The WBDC announced the agreement Monday evening with WuXi, a Chinese firm looking to build its first major facility in the United States. The facility, which would make Worcester a bigger player in the state’s life sciences field, is planned to open in 2022.

WuXi bought the Belmont Street site for $1.5 million, according to an agreement filed with the Worcester Registry of Deeds on Monday.

The company, a contract manufacturer making products for clients and partners, is proposing a 107,000-square-foot, two-story facility employing 150 people.

The building is proposed for a site next to AbbVie’s pharmaceutical facility on what used to be part of the old Worcester State Hospital. A replacement of sorts, the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, opened in 2012.

The WBDC, a quasi-public development agency, bought the old hospital site in 2017 and 2018. Now, the 46-acre site is envisioned as a biomanufacturing complex called The Reactory totalling 470,000 square feet on nine development sites, complementing AbbVie, the UMass Medical School and the UMass Medicine Science Park, which are key players in the city’s life sciences industry.

Already, the WuXi project has lined up millions of dollars in public aid. The company has received a $6-million tax credit from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and in March, the Worcester City Council’s economic development committee unanimously recommended the full legislative body approve a $11.5-million tax break. WuXi would save 40% off its tax bill over a two-decade period.

The city has estimated the WuXi project will bring in nearly $21 million in new taxes over the 20-year span of the deal, including more than $9 million in net revenue after the tax incentive is factored. The site is currently tax-exempt.

Chris Chen, WuXi’s CEO, said the company was proud to join the Worcester business community. WuXi first announced plans to build in Worcester nearly two years ago.

“Drawing from the talented workforce and impressive biotech network in Massachusetts, we stand ready and able to help our global partners advance their innovative and life-saving ideas,” Chen said in a statement. “Together, I am confident that we have much to contribute to the biologics industry and patients worldwide.”

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus said in a statement the WuXi agreement solidifies the city’s role as an anchor in a biotechnology corridor stretching to Boston and Cambridge.

“It signals not only what we currently have to offer in the life sciences sector, but also how much potential we have for the future,” Augustus said.

-Grant Welker, Worcester Business Journal