Drug research firm Covance plans $17.5M expansion, 203 jobs

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Covance Central Laboratory Services Inc. is planning a $17.5 million expansion and renovation project at its facilities in Indianapolis that is expected to create 203 jobs.

Covance, a drug development and contract research subsidiary of Princeton, New Jersey-based Laboratory Corp. of America, or LabCorp., has more than 1,500 employees in Indianapolis at a 352,000-square-foot facility at 8211 Scicor Drive, off Country Club Road between 10th Street and Rockville Road on the city’s far-west side.

According to a tax-abatement request filed with the Metropolitan Development Commission by Covance and property owner NRFC Indianapolis Holdings LLC, Covance plans to renovate 20,000 square feet of the facility into a state-of-the-art, two-story testing laboratory for clinical trials. It also intends to add a 10,000-square-foot addition for subzero cold storage.

Plans call for the company to spend $11.8 million on the real estate improvements and another $5.7 million on new IT equipment and freezers.

The company said the project will help it hire 203 workers and retain 1,530 in jobs. The new and existing jobs pay an average wage of $31 per hour, or nearly $65,000 per year.

Covance is seeking separate 10-year tax abatements on both the real property improvements and the additional personal property.

Department of Metropolitan Development staff are recommending approval of the incentives because of the creation and retention of high-paying jobs.

The facility owner would save nearly $1.2 million in real property taxes (almost 50 percent) on the renovation and expansion. DMD staff said the property owner would pay an estimated additional $240,301 annually on the new investment. That amount is in addition to more than $400,000 in real estate taxes already paid on existing property.

The personal property abatement would save Covance $327,411 over 10 years, a 59 percent savings. The company would pay nearly $47,000 a year on the new personal property once the abatement expires it already pays $811,000 yearly on existing assets at the property.

The MDC is scheduled to hear the tax abatement request at its Wednesday meeting.

Covance, one of the largest lab companies of its kind in the world, was originally part of Corning Glass Works before being spun off as a separate company in 1996. It acquired Eli Lilly and Co.’s Greenfield Labs business in in 2008 for $50 million and entered a 10-year drug-development service agreement with Lilly.

Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings acquired Covance Inc. for about $6.1 billion in 2015.

The company declined to comment on a timetable for the local expansion.

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