Monday, March 10, 2014
WESTBROOK - Idexx Laboratories has the city's approval to start building the first phase of its proposed $60 million corporate headquarters.
The city's Planning Board unanimously approved a site plan Tuesday for a 107,000-square-foot building to house offices for 300 administrative employees, as well as a fitness center and a food service area.
Construction of the building, next to Idexx's existing facility off Eisenhower Drive, is scheduled to start in April 2012 and be completed in August 2013.
The additional office space will allow the growing biotechnology company to expand its work force in all departments, including manufacturing and research and development, said Dick Daigle, facilities director for Idexx.
The company, which makes testing products for diagnosing diseases in animals and for determining the quality of milk and water, employs 1,700 people in Westbrook and 4,800 people in more than 100 countries.
Idexx announced its plan in July to build two $30 million administrative buildings that would comprise its corporate headquarters.
Daigle has said the company's growth rate in coming years will determine when it will construct the second building, which would be 100,000 square feet and house 400 employees.
He said Tuesday that preliminary site work for the first building will begin this fall, pending approvals from the state's Department of Environmental Protection.
Idexx, which has been based in Westbrook since 1991, put plans to build its corporate headquarters on hold in 2008, when a conflict arose with Pike Industries, which had been planning its own expansion at a nearby rock quarry.
The high-profile battle began when Idexx said it would build its headquarters elsewhere if Pike was allowed to have an asphalt plant and blast rock.
The two companies reached a compromise last fall that allows Pike to blast rock at the quarry, with restrictions.
Warren Knight, the president of Smiling Hill Farm and a vocal opponent of Pike's expansion, was the one person who spoke at a public hearing Tuesday night before the Planning Board's vote.
"We're very pleased to see this going in," he said. "We think it's a great development."
Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at firstname.lastname@example.org