Published in Manufacturing
Global Life Sciences Solutions USA LLC plans to invest up to $430 million at a former BASF manufacturing facility in Muskegon Township. Global Life Sciences Solutions USA LLC plans to invest up to $430 million at a former BASF manufacturing facility in Muskegon Township. COURTESY PHOTO

Life sciences company investing up to $430M to revive former BASF site in Muskegon Twp.

BY Tuesday, June 28, 2022 11:09am

MUSKEGON TWP. — A former BASF herbicide production facility in Muskegon County would return to life with a potential $430 million capital investment by Global Life Sciences Solutions USA LLC.

The Michigan Strategic Fund Board today approved two job-training grants totaling $3 million for Marlborough, Mass.-based Global Life Sciences Solutions USA, which would create up to 200 jobs that pay an average of $1,800 a week. The MSF Board also approved a personal property tax exemption for the company for up to five years valued at $2.7 million.

“Obviously this is a huge project for Muskegon County (and) probably our largest manufacturing project in the last couple of decades,” Morgan Carroll, director of business development at Greater Muskegon Economic Development, said at this morning’s MSF Board meeting. “It’s a perfect location for (Global Life Sciences) to locate. It’s a really great fit for our talent pool and it’s a really great fit for the county as we already have the talent pool and some of the suppliers for the company in the area.”

Global Life Sciences will use a former chemical production site “that we thought was going to be extremely hard to market, and it turns out we didn’t have to market it barely at all,” Carroll said.

The 168,000-square-foot facility on a 400-acre site along Whitehall Road in Muskegon Township would produce resins used in biologic, pharmaceutical and diagnostic and medical products, according to a Michigan Economic Development Corp. memo to the MSF Board. 

The company solely produces the resins in Sweden, said Sophie Stille, general manager for resins and technology for Global Life Sciences Solutions USA.

“In order to secure the supply of these critical components for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, we want to establish operations in the U.S. and in particular Muskegon,” Stille said.

Global Life Sciences Solutions USA also “may construct additional space on the remaining acreage in future phases,” according to state economic development officials.

“The company plans to invest significantly in real property upgrades and new machinery and equipment to establish an environment capable of high-quality life sciences manufacturing including lab and clean-room space,” MEDC staff wrote. “The company is attracted to locating this facility in Michigan due to the unique fit the site provided, despite its need for improvements. Additionally, the company sees the potential in the production labor base of Michigan providing benefit to its biotech processes. What is more, the company is excited to expand its footprint beyond existing locations and bringing its operations to a new state.”

Muskegon Township also is expected to approve a property tax abatement to accommodate the project.

Global Life Sciences Solutions USA is also known by the brand name Cytiva, the former GE Healthcare Life Sciences business that Washington, D.C.-based Danaher Corp. acquired in March 2020 from General Electric Co. for $20.7 billion. Global Life Sciences Solutions USA has operations in 40 countries and employs 8,000 people.

The company’s decision to locate in Michigan “will further enable our prominence” in the life sciences and medical device industries and “build on our efforts to foster high wage and skills growth throughout the region,” MEDC Chief Operating Officer Jen Nelson said.

“This is a great opportunity for Michigan,” Nelson said.

The company plans to begin upgrades on the facility later this year and targets production in the facility to begin by late 2025 or early 2026, Nelson said.

Michigan competed with five other unnamed states for the project. The grants and other incentives are needed to “address the cost disadvantage of locating the project in Michigan when compared to the competing sites outside of Michigan,” according to the MEDC.

Global Life Sciences Solutions has yet to close on acquiring the site, though due diligence continues and MEDC Business Development Project Manager Jeremy Webb expects the company to finalize the deal.

BASF announced in October 2020 that it planned to shutter the facility at 1740 Whitehall Road by the beginning of this year. 

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