Biotech firm moving to South Boston waterfront
Drug maker Vertex Pharmaceuticals will relocate to two new buildings in Boston's Seaport District, the first big trophy in Mayor Thomas M. Menino's effort to transform the city's waterfront into an Innovation District filled with technology companies, academic instutions, and medical firms.
Vertex has signed a letter of intent to move its headquarters from Cambridge to developer Joseph F. Fallon's Fan Pier complex in late 2013. The 23-acre complex currently has one building now, but is slated to host hundreds of new residences, a hotel, public parks and a marina.
Filling two mid-size towers, the Vertex lease for 1.1 million square feet is the city's largest in the office market in over a decade, officials said. Vertex currently has offices in 10 different buildings located around Cambridge.
The company and Fallon must still the official lease. The parties did not disclose terms.
Moreover Vertex's relocation to Fan Pier has an unusual contingecy: the company must first receive federal approval of its first major drug, Telaprevir, a treatment for Hepatitis C that analysts have estimated could yield it billions of dollars in sales.
US regulators are expected to act on the company's application by June.
The relocation is a coup for Boston, which has been trying to lure biotechnology firms from neighboring Cambridge, which offers drug companies close proximity to competitors and to that city's prestigious universities. It also offers a huge boost for Fan Pier, a redevelopment that has been in the making for three decades. Fallon first began building there in 2007, but stopped further construction the following year when the recession dried up funding for large scale development projects in Boston and across the country.
"This is a jump start for the entire South Boston waterfront," Menino said. "Vertex has made the decision to be on the forefront of the Innovation Distirct, and that decision will lead other companies to follow suit.Ē
Menino's administration city provided tax incentives to help close the deal with Vertex. The company will get a $12 million reduction in property taxes through 2018. The firmís relocation will still result in $60 million revenue boost for the city over that period, officials said, from taxes on the new buildings.
The Vertex buildings will be the second and third major structures in the complex, adding to One Marina Park Drive, an 18-story office and retail building completed last year.
Vertex had earlier considered moving to Fan Pier, but held off due to the slowdown in the work on the property. The parties continued to talk over the last several months, and were able to close the deal as competition heated up among area landlords trying to land the company as a tenant.