The Jackson Laboratory is one step closer in its bid to expand into a vacant Lowe's store in Ellsworth, following the city planning board's approval of a zoning amendment allowing that to happen.
Next step, according to the Bangor Daily News, is for the Ellsworth City Council to endorse the zoning change that would expand the types of activities allowed in a research facility located in the C-2 commercial zone around the building located just off Route 3 that Lowe's closed last November.
Jackson Lab announced in March its interest in purchasing the 143,000-square-foot building on a 17-acre site from Lowe's, with the sale contingent on municipal approval of zoning changes to allow research labs in the commercial zone. In a press release accompanying that announcement, Charles Hewett, Jackson Lab's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said after the planning process is completed it could take another two years before operations would begin in Ellsworth.
BDN reports that Jackson Lab officials anticipate between 200 and 300 people would be employed at the Ellsworth location within a decade. The nonprofit genetics research organization uses specially bred mice to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease, and to enable research for the global biomedical community. It has more than 1,400 employees at its facilities in Bar Harbor and in Sacramento, Calif., and is planning a third facility in Connecticut.
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