MIDDLE CITY –An unknown prospect has laid eyes on the launch of a multi-million square foot campus next year, this will be the first pharmaceutical facility of its kind in Middletown.
Planning documents submitted to Middletown and state officials show the proposed 1.74 million square foot campus with at least seven buildings and a utility facility that would support the infrastructure of an unknown pharmaceutical company seeking to expand into Delaware. The entire campus would be built in phases over 190 acres on Levels Road.
The pharmaceutical company has yet to be announced as development progresses through the state and local planning process known as “Project Dragonfly”. David Fleisher, Senior Managing Director of Savills, said his client would make active pharmaceutical active ingredients and eventually package them in a “solid dose” form, like in a pill.
“This site was really targeted because it would allow the company to build their facilities in a number of years and campus-style phases, ”Fleisher told the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission on May 20.
The Dragonfly project plans to build a laboratory space to test their products, as well as some manufacturing and packaging operations for sterile and solid products. An administrative building will also be at the heart of the installation. The company plans to employ up to 1,200 employees when the campus is fully built, which could take years.
The first plans show 3,000 parking spaces, but Fleisher told planning officials that up to 1,500 parking spaces are expected, as operations will have multiple teams of employees. The final design should make the site look more like a modern business park than an industrial facility.
“It is important to note that Project Dragonfly has a global sustainability program that focuses on reducing emissions and using environmentally friendly initiatives in their facilities, while being the primary advocate for chemistry solutions. green, ”Fleisher told state planning officials during the May 26 preliminary phase of the Use Service meeting. “These will be key elements of the engineering site development process.”
Middletown has been booming for a long time, starting with a city of about 6,000 people in 2000, but today with a population of 22,500. But with the boom in homes and apartments, the area has also seen tremendous growth supported by a Transportation Improvement District (TID) in 2015 west of Highway 71 and concentrated around US Route 301. Since then, large swathes of retail businesses and restaurants have opened in this area.
Delaware’s second Amazon distribution center and Breakthru drinks the headquarters hoped to serve as catalysts for further developments in warehouses and distribution. But Middletown has yet to see a pharmaceutical maker with the promise of over a thousand jobs like Project Dragonfly.
If the project gets state and Middletown approval, final engineering will be done this year and construction will begin in 2022. The first phase of the campus is expected to be completed by the end of 2023 and operations to begin in early 2024.
The first phase has not yet been defined by the Dragonfly project, although Fleisher said there are plans to include the manufacturing of the active ingredients and the final pharmaceutical product, the administration building, the utility plant to ensure that further expansions can be accommodated.
“The plan is to at least start there, build from there and get into the ultimate campus as businesses meet demand,” he told officials in Middletown. “It will take several years [for complete build-out.] You need 1.74 million square feet of business demand, even if you can build it fast. “