A $53.5 million biotechnology facility in the Brooklyn Army Terminal — or BioBAT — has everything a modern lab needs, except tenants.
The city and the state invested millions of dollars to turn the former industrial building into a state-of-the-art lab.
SUNY Donwnstate Medical Center and the city Economic Development Corp. led the project, which was conceived in the mid-2000s by Eva Cramer, a professor of cell biology at SUNY Downstate. Reportedly, the two organizations often did not see eye to eye about how to manage the project.
BioBAT is also an effort to attract biotech away from places like San Francisco and Boston. But the Sunset Park location of BioBAT is proving to be too far from large academic medical institutions on the Upper East Side, making it difficult to find tenants.
While still struggling, there is some hope for the facility, according to government officials. Earlier this year, the Department of Buildings gave the project a temporary certificate of occupancy to make it possible for new tenants to move in. The lab has also been designated a Start-UP NY Zone, which means that businesses can operate tax free there for a decade.
Cramer, president of BioBAT Inc., told the Wall Street Journal that IRX Therapeutics is about to sign a lease for more than 7,000 square feet. [WSJ] – Claire Moses