Economic Development

Biotech Sprawl?

Palm Beach County's biotech dreams are temporarily on hold, as a plan to turn a 1,900 acre orange grove into a cluster of life science businesses has triggered an anti-sprawl backlash.
by | February 2005
 

Palm Beach County's biotech dreams are temporarily on hold, as a plan to turn a 1,900 acre orange grove into a cluster of life science businesses has triggered an anti-sprawl backlash.

For 18 months, Florida and Palm Beach County have been touting a blockbuster economic development deal with The Scripps Research Institute, based in San Diego. Combined, the state and county are investing at least $510 million, and possibly as much as $1 billion, to get Scripps to open an East Coast campus. Officials hope that Scripps, famous for its research on cancer and other diseases, will spin off startup companies in Palm Beach County and anchor a thriving biotech industry with high-paying jobs ["States Go for the Biotech Gold," March 2004].

Environmentalists, however, are suing to stop the plan to build Scripps' campus on the farm site near the Everglades. A wildlife management area borders the site, and environmentalists complain that building Scripps there would pull suburban sprawl westward. County officials have been exploring alternate sites for Scripps that lie closer to existing development and infrastructure.

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