Bayer HealthCare expands in Coon Rapids

by Peter Bodley
Managing Editor

Bayer HealthCare has expanded its presence in Coon Rapids.

And the expansion project received a financial boost from the Coon Rapids City Council and Coon Rapids Economic Development Authority (EDA) in the form of grants totaling $340,000.

According to Marc Nevinski, city of Coon Rapids community development director, the expanded facility is called Bayer Interventional.

The project approved by the city included renewing the lease at its current 50,000 square-foot building on Evergreen Boulevard and upgrading its equipment there as well as moving into and renovating a large area of unused space at the north end of the Honeywell building, which is on Evergreen Boulevard.

“It’s very impressive,” said Nevinski, who attended an open house at the new facility last month.

“I felt like I was in Silicon Valley. It’s very modern.”

According a Bayer HealthCare press release, the new, expanded facility is for its interventional franchise within its medical care’s radiology and interventional business.

“The new facility features new research and development laboratories as well as manufacturing clean rooms,” the press release states.

“The interventional franchise discovers, markets and manufactures therapeutic medical devices for the treatment of vascular occlusions.”

This expansion nearly doubles Bayer HealthCare’s infrastructure in Minnesota, home of its interventional franchise, and provides room for future growth in the cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease device lines, according to Alan Main, president of Bayer HealthCare’s medical care business, which includes the radiology and interventional and diabetes care businesses of Bayer HealthCare.

The new building comprises roughly 80,000 square feet of space, Main said in the press release.

“Scientists and research technicians are now working in new laboratory space and the company plans to use new clean rooms to expand production of Cotavance®, a drug-eluting balloon for the treatment of peripheral artery disease presently approved for use in the European Union, as the company introduces it into additional markets,” he said.

Bayer HealthCare’s connection to Coon Rapids dates back to 2008 when a Bayer subsidiary, MEDRAD, acquired Possis Medical, which had been located in Evergreen Business Park for many years.

Before the $5 million expansion project, the company operated out of what was the Possis building on Evergreen Boulevard, as well as two smaller plants totaling 25,000 square feet, on Springbrook Drive, also in Evergreen Business Park, said Matt Brown, city community development specialist, when he presented the grant proposal to the council and EDA last year.

Under the agreement with the city for the grants, Bayer HealthCare, which currently employs 220 people in Coon Rapids, will add 30 to 45 new jobs in the next two years.

According to Brown, this is the first phase of a proposed two-phase project with Bayer planning a second-phase expansion worth some $3 million later this year, which would add even more jobs.

To provide financial assistance, the city used a financing tool put in place by the 2010 Minnesota Legislature, Brown said.

The Legislature approved a temporary provision to the tax increment financing (TIF) law allowing the use of cash balances in TIF districts for loans and assistance for any project that creates jobs, including construction jobs, he said.

In August 2010, the council changed the budgets of two TIF districts to free up money for this purpose.

The Legislature put a cap on the use of the TIF dollars – projects receiving assistance had to begin by July 1, 2011 and the money had to be spent by Dec. 31, 2011, according to Brown.

But in the 2012 session, the Legislature extended the program another year, providing the project receiving the TIF dollars has started by July 1 this year and is completed by Dec. 31, 2012, Brown said.

The financial assistance by the city to Bayer provided a $300,000 grant plus up to $40,000 to offset building permit fees, all using the TIF cash balances.

“This project did exactly what the financing tool was designed to do – expand and retain business in Coon Rapids and create new jobs,” Nevinski said.

Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG, is one of the world’s leading companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany.

The company combines the global activities of the animal health, consumer care, medical care and pharmaceuticals divisions.

Bayer HealthCare’s aim is to discover and manufacture products that will improve human and animal health worldwide, according to its website.

Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 55,700 employees (Dec. 31, 2010) and is represented in more than 100 countries. For more information go to www.bayerhealthcare.com.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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