Regeneron Buys Avon Property in Suffern; Plans $138M Spend for New R&D Complex
By JOHN JORDAN – January 25, 2024
SUFFERN, NY—In addition to the $1.8-billion expansion Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is now advancing in Westchester County, the company announced it will invest another $138 million in Rockland County to renovate a former Avon Products facility for its research and development functions.
An entity of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, NY (Rock County Holdings) has acquired the Avon Global Innovation Center at 1 Avon Place in Suffern for $38,875,000 from Avon Capital Corp., according to a deed filed with the Rockland County Clerk on Dec. 20, 2023.
Regeneron stated in documents filed earlier this year with the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency that it plans to spend nearly $100 million to retrofit the facility located on 10 acres for its research and development operations. The company informed the IDA that it would look to start the acquisition of equipment or the construction of facilities at the site by April 2024 and complete the project by Sept. 30, 2026. The project is expected to create 230 full-time jobs upon completion.
In addition to the acquisition, the company’s IDA filing apportioned the costs as follows: $63 million for reconstruction/ renovation work; $23 million in non-manufacturing equipment (furniture, fixtures, etc.) costs; and $6 million in soft costs.
According to the project’s inducement resolution with the IDA, the project will involve the redevelopment of an underutilized property and the construction of a new warehouse building.
The company secured a sales tax exemption of approximately $4.2 million on an estimated $50 million of improvements from the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency last month, and is pursuing a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with the Village of Suffern, the Town of Ramapo and the local school district. Avon had operated under a PILOT during its tenure at the facility, and was released from its Agreement with the IDA in April of 2023, according to a report in the Rockland County Business Journal.
Avon notified New York State its intent, in November 2022, to shutter its 235,000-square-foot Avon Global Innovation Center for sometime this year. The company had operations in Suffern for nearly 140 years, and at the time of the notice had employed 138 workers engaged in research and development. The complex at one time served as the cosmetic company’s corporate headquarters.
Regeneron purchased the Avon property on Dec. 1, 2023, according to a company spokesperson in an emailed statement.
“Regeneron will begin a comprehensive renovation project in mid-2024, transforming the site into a state-of-the art medical research lab, office and cold storage space. This facility will serve as a dynamic workspace for approximately 230 Regeneron employees, with the move-in process expected to begin sometime in 2025,” Regeneron stated. “In the interim, the previous site owners, Avon Products, Inc., will rent the space from Regeneron through spring of 2024 as it transitions its R&D operations to other locations.”
Stephen J. Reich, vice president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Rockland County, told CONSTRUCTION NEWS that the building trades are hopeful, now that the sale of the Avon property has closed, that discussions can begin with Regeneron and its contractors on union contractor participation. He said that he expects the building trades to pursue talks with Regeneron this month.
Mr. Reich noted that the project will likely be required to abide by New York State’s prevailing wage laws because of the public financing incentives it secured from the Rockland County IDA. In addition, he said the Rockland Building Trades have held talks with the Rockland County IDA on strengthening local workforce participation language and that he is hopeful those discussions will continue in the coming weeks. Mr. Reich also serves as Business Manager of Laborers Local No. 754 of Chestnut Ridge, NY.
Regeneron broke ground in June 2022 on the largest business expansion project in Westchester County history, the $1.8-billion expansion project at its corporate headquarters campus in Tarrytown/Greenburgh.
The biotechnology company has committed to create at least 1,000 new full-time, high-skill jobs in the Mid-Hudson region over the next five years.
Tarrytown serves as Regeneron’s corporate and research and development headquarters, and the expansion plan now underway includes the addition of new laboratories, preclinical manufacturing and process development suites and office space. The project will encompass the design and construction, and fit out of up to eight buildings, three parking garages and a central utility plant totaling approximately 900,000 square feet.
New York State’s Empire State Development is supporting the project with up to $100 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits, consistent with the company’s hiring goals.