CenterPoint seeing activity as NEPA biosciences initiative heats up

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CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park in Jenkins and Pittston Townships in Luzerne County is fast becoming a preferred location for companies serving the life sciences and medical sectors.
Since 2007, seven companies with ties to those sectors have located in CenterPoint buildings developed by Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services. Those seven companies employ close to 800 people.
Most recently, Corning Life Sciences, a leading developer, manufacturer, and global supplier of scientific laboratory equipment, agreed to lease an additional 124,000 square feet of industrial space from Mericle in CenterPoint East.
Since 2010, Corning Life Sciences has leased 396,800 square feet of Mericle space at 160 Research Drive. The expansion will bring the total space occupied by the company to 520,800 square feet
Mericle is fast tracking construction for the addition and has begun putting the roof on the 124,000-square-foot section. Corning is expected to move into the expansion area by mid-February.
Corning Life Sciences offers a comprehensive range of laboratory products and solutions for a wide variety of life sciences applications. The company is a division of Corning Incorporated, the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics.
C3i, a leading provider of technology enablement and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services for the life sciences industry, announced in October 2011 that it had leased approximately 41,000 square feet of Mericle flex space in CenterPoint.
C3i is using the space to receive, repair, and distribute computers used by life sciences professionals.
Last June, a joint venture between Geisinger Health Systems and LifeSource, a division of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine (ITxM), began collecting and distributing blood in the new Geisinger Blood Center in a Mericle flex building in CenterPoint West, Pittston Township. The joint venture has brought additional transfusion medicine expertise to Geisinger including improved blood product inventory management, a more robust blood management program, and clinical trials that were previously unavailable to patients. This center allows Geisinger to better manage its blood supply which will help better contain costs and prevent shortages in the future.
San Antonio, Texas-based KCI Inc. also leases space from Mericle in CenterPoint East. KCI is a leading global medical technology company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of innovative, high-technology therapies, products and medical devices used for wound care, tissue regeneration and therapeutic support system markets.
In 2010, Benco Dental opened its new corporate headquarters and distribution center in CenterPoint East. The building has a total usable area of 272,800 square feet making it “the largest dental equipment showroom in North America, with 24 operatories of dental equipment from all major vendors in all standard configurations,” according to Benco President Chuck Cohen.
Patterson Dental and Cintas First Aid and Safety also distribute medical products from facilities in the park. Patterson Dental is a leading distributor of dental products, equipment and technology in the U.S. and Canada.
Cintas’ First Aid and Safety Division offers van delivered first aid supplies, safety products, ReviveR AEDs, and CPR/AED/first aid training to help businesses improve productivity through worker safety and reduce workers’ compensation costs.
Atty .Joseph Burke, president of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, congratulated Corning Life Sciences and Mericle on the new expansion and said CenterPoint’s growth as a preferred location for companies serving the life sciences and health-care sectors is a good indicator that the recently launched Northeastern Pennsylvania Regional Bioscience Initiative (NEPA RBI) has merit.
The NEPA RBI was established in 2010 by regional leaders in education, business, economic development and government. Based upon the location of The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) within northeastern Pennsylvania, an eight-county economic development strategic plan was completed by Angelou Economics, an Austin, Texas based economic consulting firm.
The goal of the NEPA RBI is to increase life science career and business opportunities within northeastern Pennsylvania. Regional strategies will build upon the region’s knowledge-based partnerships and investments.
Mericle Vice President of Marketing Jim Cummings serves on the NEPA RBI roundtable focusing on logistics. He said having quality existing space and sites available will be a key factor in the overall success of the regional initiative.
“Through Mericle’s ‘Ready to Go’ program, we have developed 21 industrial and flex buildings in CenterPoint and all but a few were built on speculation,” Cummings said. “We plan to develop office space in the park in the near future. We believe that always having a variety of space available is critically important if we want to continue to be competitive within the life sciences and medical sectors.”
Cummings added that Mericle has also developed more than 30 “Ready to Go Sites” in the park. “These sites have been cleared, graded, and have all permits and approvals in place,” he said. “They are truly ready for immediate construction and give our area a huge competitive advantage when companies have specialized needs, a short time frame, and can only operate within a newly built facility.”
“Services and logistics is one of the priority areas of focus for the NEPA RBI,” said Amy S. Luyster, NEPA RBI Coordinator and Scranton Plan Administrator.

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