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Friday, August 12, 2016

Vancouver USA Rescinds BioTech Lease

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners on Aug. 9 voted unanimously to cancel the lease of biotechnology company AbSci LLC at Terminal 1, saying that the location is no longer adequate to meet the company’s needs.

AbSci originally planned to relocate from its offices in Portland, Oregon, to the port’s waterfront development at Terminal 1 this spring. The port would have provided renovated office and lab space in the former Red Lion Vancouver at the Quay Hotel.

However, AbSci’s continued rapid growth due to significant industry interest in its protein manufacturing platform means further investment in the port’s interim facility at the former hotel no longer meets the company’s needs.

“We’re pursuing an aggressive schedule for redevelopment at Terminal 1, which includes eventual demolition of portions of the Red Lion,” interim port CEO Julianna Marler explained. “AbSci is growing and needs a facility that can support that growth and expansion into the future.

“It’s unusual for us to rescind a lease, but it’s important we support AbSci and our economic development partners as we all work to bring life sciences companies and jobs to Southwest Washington,” she said.

The port is currently working through a planning and concept development plan process for Terminal 1, the port’s 10-acre waterfront redevelopment in downtown Vancouver. The port has said it’s pursuing an aggressive schedule; demolition of existing structures could begin this year and the first phase of construction could start in late 2017.

Port Director of Economic Development Katy Brooks said that work is still proceeding with private developers to attract life science businesses to Terminal 1, and that biotech at the waterfront is still a real possibility.

Going forward, we’ll support our partners and the community infrastructure necessary for this industry to thrive in our region,” she said in a statement.