Speaking at a ribbon cutting for an expanded 44,000-square-foot facility in Bothell’s Canyon Park area last Wednesday, Gov. Chris Gregoire said she never thought she would be happy to hear Washington’s economy had hit bottom.
The obvious implication was, though, that there is nowhere to go but up.
Gregoire was the biggest name among numerous officials attending the grand opening for the expanded research and production facilities unveiled on 26th Avenue Southeast by Albany Molecular Research, Inc., (AMRI).
Gregoire said high-tech, bio-science companies such as AMRI are vitally important and will play a major role in Washington’s economic recovery.
“We really feel despite the tough economy that we have a bright economic future,” Gregoire said, adding later that she wants the state to “hit the ground running” as the economy rebounds.
In the area of bio-sciences and green industries, Gregoire hopes Washington will come out stronger than before the recent economic slump took hold.
“It’s where our jobs are for the future,” Gregoire said, adding a desire that AMRI’s willingness to invest and expand during the economic downtime will inspire others.
Before he introduced Gregoire, AMRI Chairman, CEO and President Thomas D’Ambra said business pundits slammed his company’s decision to remain here and even expand its Bothell facility.
“Believe it or not,” D’Ambra said, “Wall Street analysts criticized us.”
D’Ambra said those analysts advised shutting down AMRI’s Bothell operations completely and moving them to China.
Instead, with the state’s help, D’Ambra said AMRI has made a $45 million investment locally.
“This was the right thing to do,” D’Ambra said, adding AMRI hopes to even further expand its Bothell facilities, doubling in size over the next few years.
According to Gregoire, the state provided about $100,000 from Washington’s strategic reserve fund. Due to energy efficiencies built into the expanded research facilities, AMRI also received over $300,000 from Puget Sound Energy and the Snohomish County Public Utility District. The lion’s share came from Puget Sound.
Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb said he was pleased to have the state formally recognize Bothell’s high-tech industrial area as a bio-technology enterprise zone. He said the area is home to some 23,000 high-paying jobs and growing.
With some nine facilities spread across the world including in Singapore, India and Hungary, AMRI helps develop and produce pharmaceuticals for companies globally, D’Ambra said. He talked about potential new products to help fight Alzheimer’s Disease, cystic fibrosis and various types of cancer.
According to its Web site, the Bothell research center focuses on early phases of drug discovery. D’Ambra also talked about the Bothell facility helping develop AMRI’s natural product line and stocking and studying the company’s extensive cell cultures.