Aviridi, a life sciences company and Qualified Opportunity Zone business, is expanding its presence in the Greater Philadelphia region, and specifically — in Montgomery County.
Aviridi has purchased a 26,000-square-foot building at 10 Quinter Street in Pottstown. The facility, formerly owned by Sonoco Paperboard Group LLC, sits in one of Pottstown’s three Qualified Opportunity Zones.
“Pottstown is an exceptionally attractive location for life sciences manufacturing as research and development companies seek to commercialize their successes in the lab and require modern, cost-effective manufacturing capacity in order to grow,” Jamie Anderson, co-founder of Aviridi, said in a statement.
The building is the second Montgomery County property purchase for the firm. In April, the company closed on the purchase of a 10,000-square-foot life sciences facility at 48 E. Main St. in Norristown that will serve as the company’s headquarters. That building also sits in a Qualified Opportunity Zone.
In an emailed response to questions, the company said Montgomery County is strategically located from a business investment standpoint.
“Specific to life sciences, we see the Philadelphia market migrating further out for various reasons, but especially for manufacturing which requires a balance between cost, location and size,” the company said in its response. “King of Prussia, for example, has become a major center for life sciences research and development and our Norristown location is uniquely situated to serve multiple aspects in support of life science development.”
Aviridi purchased the Quinter Street facility for $1.2 million according to the company, closing on the sale in May. The location scouting process began at the end of 2021, and the Pottstown site was identified in early 2022.
Aviridi is currently evaluating the “ultimate end-use” for the building, but said it plans to invest “in a substantial building renovation,” expected to begin within 90 days.
“We are currently working with design firms to substantially upgrade the facility, including adding upper floors for a research and development space,” the company said in its response to questions.
Additional details about the Pottstown project are expected to be released within the next couple of weeks.
“We are excited about them and thrilled they found us,” said Peggy Lee-Clark, executive director of Pottstown Area Economic Development, adding that she first heard from Aviridi in the March timeframe, after the company had submitted an offer on the building. “We’re looking forward to working with them.” She added that the company is aware of the development happening in the Pottstown-area, and the accessibility of the region to other areas.
She indicated Aviridi is interested in a second building in Pottstown, although no specifics were provided by Lee-Clark or the company.
“Pottstown Area Economic Development has been exceptionally helpful in all respects and in our experience is a very valuable resource for existing and prospective investors in the Pottstown area,” the company said in its emailed response.
David Zellers is the director of commerce for Montgomery County. He said the county is “excited about the news” and eager to talk with Aviridi about any needs they may have as they expand in Montgomery County.
“This wasn’t something that we had direct involvement in, but a great company expansion like this speaks to the overall attractiveness and strength of Montco as the place to live, work, learn, and invest,” he said.
In April the company closed an equity seed round that will fuel Aviridi’s R&D and biofermentation capacity as the company builds a life sciences platform with the goal of onshoring global supply chains.
Biofermentation, according to Aviridi is a “more efficient and environmentally friendly” process of recreating molecules that exist in nature. The company creates a strain of yeast which it then converts into molecules, optimizing the molecules for large scale production for pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, food ingredients, flavors and fragrances, according to the company website.
For more information visit Aviridi.co.
Opportunity Zones offer tax benefits to investors who elect to temporarily defer tax on capital gains if they invest those gain amounts in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF), according to the IRS website.