RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Triangle continues to be a magnet for high-tech and life sciences companies attracted by the available workforce and economic incentives offered to them by the state.
Now, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies joins that growing list, constructing a plant in Holly Springs that will be completed in 2025.
Even before Thursday’s groundbreaking, Fujifilm had already begun clearing the land and doing site work on the 150 acres that will become the largest cell culture plant in North America.
The facility will start by employing 725 people making an average salary of $100,000.
That will have an impact on the local economy creating a ripple effect of even more jobs in the community.
“You’re talking about jobs that will impact small businesses,” said Holly Springs Economic Development Director Irene Krasteanovic. “Services, day care, eye doctors – it’s anything you can think of that needs to support local residents who work and live here.”
Beyond the economic impact, Fujifilm Diosynth hopes the biotechnologies it creates in Holly Springs will have an impact on people’s lives worldwide.
“If you think about in terms of bioreactors, we’re going to build eight in the initial facility,” said Martin Meeson, the CEO Fujifilm Diosynth. “There’s space to develop another 24, so we could have 32 bioreactors producing millions and millions of doses of medicine.”
Having a plant such as this one in town could create special problems for public safety agencies like the Holly Springs Fire Department.
“This facility will bring unique challenges,” said Chief Leroy Smith. “There will be a hazardous materials component, but we’re going to start training up and preparing for that.”
The biotechnology facility will add to the explosive growth in a town that was a sleepy little community a decade ago.
Thursday, Holly Springs has a much more urban feel with the addition of a new downtown hospital and lots more traffic congestion everywhere on roads not designed for those loads.
“Main street is already busy and now with the addition of the hospital and the incoming pharmaceuticals, I think we are going to see an issue here,” said Beth Martinez de Andino, the co-owner Our Moments in Time Shop on Main Street.
Meanwhile, the state is hoping the economic inducements it provided Fujifilm will pay off for everyone.
The state will give Fujifilm Diosynth a $20 million grant over the next decade, but only if it meets hiring and investment goals.