A city-owned business subdivision in Portland may get its second tenant – five years after the property opened.

The City Council’s Economic Development Committee on Tuesday night endorsed granting an option to buy a 3½-acre parcel in the Portland Technology Park to Capricorn Products LLC, a biotechnology firm in the city.

Under the deal, Capricorn would have 12 months to buy the parcel, off Rand Road, from the city for $420,000.

The proposal still needs approval from the full City Council.

Portland Technology Park opened in 2013 with three parcels. City officials hoped to lure technology and science firms to the park, but so far only one company, an insurance firm, has located there.

Capricorn, a 24-year-old firm based in leased space on Rice Street in Portland, is exactly the type of company the city wants to attract, said Greg Mitchell, the city’s economic development director. The proposed sale would allow Capricorn to grow and create new jobs in Portland, he said.


“This is a perfect match for us for a number of reasons,” he told the three councilors on the committee.

Because the city is in the middle of choosing a new real estate broker for the park, the city would keep all the proceeds from a sale, Mitchell added. City staff members believe the purchase price is a fair market value, he said.

Capricorn produces and sources antibodies for infectious disease and veterinary diagnostic testing industries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

If the deal goes through, it plans to build a new facility of up to 18,000 square feet on the site, according to Mitchell.

Capricorn President Jane Havey told councilors the company is growing fast and needs space for expansion.

“This could be a win-win, hopefully,” she said.


In an interview outside the meeting, Havey said the Technology Park parcel is one of a number of options her company is considering for expansion.

If approved by the City Council, the sale to Capricorn would be the second property transfer at Portland Technology Park since it opened in 2013. Patrons Oxford Insurance bought a similar-size plot in the park in 2015 for $625,000 and finished a 19,000-square-foot office building there last year.

The first phase of the 26-acre Portland Technology Park – including a 0.2-mile road and gas, electric and communications lines – was completed in 2013 for $1.3 million. Construction costs were split between the city and a U.S. Department of Commerce grant.

Officials hoped the park would attract companies to bolster Portland’s growing biotechnology and veterinary science cluster, but so far Capricorn is the only firm in that sector drawn to the property. Meanwhile, other tech firms – such as Wex Inc., a payment-processing services company, and Vets First Choice, a animal health technology firm – are building new corporate offices in downtown Portland, away from suburban office parks. Three out of four development plots in the park are currently for sale.

Councilor Justin Costa, chairman of the committee, said he understood that there were broader questions about the overall technology park initiative, but the city had to focus on how to market and sell the parcels now available.

“I think the question before us is what we are going to do with it now that it exists,” Costa said.


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