$200 million made available for Athenex

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian: Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul announced the release of funds to Athenex during a visit to the Hanover Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon Thursday.

The progress has been slow going for the major development that will be the Athenex biopharmaceutical factory, but one more step has been made.

Last year, a controversy shifted responsibility of the project from SUNY Polytechnic to Empire State Development.

Now, the ESD board has approved the release of the $200 million promised by the state to build and furbish the 315,000-square-foot facility at 3178 Lake Shore Drive East in Dunkirk.

An ESD representative noted that these are not additional funds, just the original agreed-upon investment as part of the public-private partnership with the global cancer-drug company.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul spoke about the good news Thursday during the Hanover Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon.

“This is huge,” she said. “There are a number of delays related to the management of the programs, and we’ll overcome them. Howard Zemsky was able to announce as chair of the Empire State Development Corporation that $200 million was officially released yesterday, and because of that the company will now be looking for various contractors and they’re hoping to have the opening by 2019. That’s outstanding.”

According to documents from ESD’s board meeting on Monday, the $200 million grant is for design and construction costs which are expected to total around $179 million for the building and $29 million for the machinery and equipment.

The documents also note that the state’s total $225 million investment in the Dunkirk plant and Buffalo headquarters will yield $1.62 million in investment from the company in the 10 years following the projects’ completion.

The Dunkirk plant is expected to be completed in December 2019 with the facility being fully operational by June 2021, according to the documents.

The agreement requires 450 full-time permanent jobs be created in the first five years with at least 300 created in the first two and a half years after the facility is built. The 33.6 acres of land, the building and any machinery bought with state money will remain in the ownership of a state agency and leased to the company.

OBSERVER Correspondent Damian Sebouhian contributed to this article.