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Palm Beach Gardens agrees on plan for biotech village by FAU-Scripps campus

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Palm Beach Gardens agrees on plan for biotech village by FAU-Scripps campus

Retail, hotel, offices planned near FAU Jupiter.

Note: I was just going to post a quote with a link but online newspaper stories tend to disappear into some unattainable chasm after about a week online so we should post the entire stories here for archive purposes.


By Bill DiPaolo, The Palm Beach Post

PALM BEACH GARDENS Initial approval to bring a biotech village to north Palm Beach County was made earlier this month, a decision that will bring "the exciting future of science" to the area, said Harry Orf, vice president of scientific operations for The Scripps Research Institute.

"Just as physical inventions drove the last century the automobile, the computer science will drive this century. And north county will be right in the middle of it," said Orf, after the unanimous council vote to rezone 681 acres for about 4 million square feet of biotech and related uses.

The overall project across from Florida Atlantic University calls for a 20-year plan to also build 500,000 square feet of commercial/retail, 300 hotel rooms, 1.2 million square feet of office space and 2,700 residential units.

The next step in the process is Jan. 14, when the rezoning of the vacant property east and west of Interstate 95 between Donald Ross and Hood roads comes up for final approval. The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on how the 1-square-mile project will affect local roads, schools and neighborhoods at the same meeting.

Jupiter officials had objected to the 150-foot capacity height of the buildings, but worked out a compromise with Palm Beach Gardens officials.

"[Scripps] may not need that height. They just want that flexibility," said Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus.

Scripps is expected to bring an influx of high-tech jobs, research and biotech businesses to north county, said Jupiter Mayor Karen Golonka. The town has created a $3 million fund to attract biotech businesses.

"This means high-paying, long-term jobs for north county," said Golonka. "I expect more scientific higher-education programs at FAU."

Palm Beach Gardens resident Donald Schwartz, who lives in the San Michelle development at Hood Road and Central Boulevard, objected to the high density of homes and retail.

"All these stores in the area are closing. Why do we need more retail?" Schwartz asked.

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