Bethlehem's Vista Technology Campus.
Photo by Marcy Velte.
continued Officials estimate there will be 44 new jobs in total at the new building. Breonics currently has five employees and it is not clear how many new jobs would be created at the company once the move took place. Some residents have said they are concerned that the plan could move forward without all tenants officially signed on.
Green said moving to Vista is considered an ideal situation for Breonics. The next phase of their studies requires a sterilized environment, and their current building would not meet FDA regulations for clean rooms. He said it is best to specifically design clean rooms to fit the specifications of the research being performed.
Green said if the building is not complete on time, the company may be able to extend its lease for another month at the Harriman Research Center, but it would delay their work. The company previously owned a 52-acre property in Orange County, but it has since been sold.
Breonics previously owed the Orange County IDA about $200,000 for a no-interest loan to allow the company to build there. IDA officials were angry after the company suspended operations and laid off a majority of its staff before moving to Albany County.
“No one on the IDA board was happy (Green) packed up his company and tried to start new,” said James O’Donnell, executive director of the Orange County IDA. “Our goal is for them to be successful and for Orange County IDA to be made whole.”
A “convertible note” settlement has since been reached between Orange County and Breonics. The Orange County IDA now holds a bond over Breonics that can eventually be converted into stock in the company or cash. This means if Breonics is not successful in the future, the debt cannot be repaid. Currently, the company operates mostly on grants until their product is deemed safe to be used for human organ regeneration.
“I’m sure the Bethlehem IDA works very similar to us, and they’ll do their homework and background checks before doing potential tax abatements,” said O’Donnell.
Green said he expects no problems with the company’s future research and hopes the Vista project can get back on track.
“I’m still hoping we can go through with the move as planned,” he said.
The next Bethlehem IDA meeting is on Friday, May 24 at 8 a.m. in Town Hall.