Korean pharmaceutical firm eyes location
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent May 28, 2014 11:18AM
Updated: June 30, 2014 12:32PM
MERRILVILLE — A Korea-based pharmaceutical developer is eyeing a building at AmeriPlex at the Crossroads for its first medical manufacturing facility in the United States, and town officials are willing to provide incentives to seal the deal.
BNCP Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Korea-based UKDO-I, is looking at moving into the 42,000-square-foot Basketball Fieldhouse building, located near Interstate 65 and 101st Avenue, with plans for a 58,000-square-foot addition in the future.
Peter Kim, director of global development for the company, said BNCP would need about 50 skilled employees, primarily chemical engineers, in the first three years, with the number increasing to about 130 employees after the third year.
He said BNCP would make a $25 million investment in the Merrillville facility in the first three years, with the number increasing to about $100 million in the next 10 years “if all goes well.”
“There aren’t many renovations needed outside, but we need to do a lot of work inside. We need to have very clean rooms,” Kim said after a Redevelopment Commission workshop Tuesday night.
He said the company makes an injectable drug delivery system used in hospitals and medical clinics, which he likened to an IV bag.
He said BNCP is headquartered in New York. UKDO-I currently has one facility in China and one in Japan and has been looking in all 50 states for its first U.S. location.
“We started in Indiana and seven years later, we’re back in Indiana,” Kim said.
He said the only other site being considered now is in Starke County.
He said Gibum Oh, the company’s owner and inventor of the medical device, wants some financial help from the town to locate here.
“The owner’s goal is to have the town committed to bringing us in,” Kim said after the workshop.
RDC president and Town Councilman Shawn Pettit, D-6th, said he would be willing to help the company, provided the town gets a commitment from BNCP that it will locate in Merrillville.
Pettit said the town would be willing to purchase the building and donate it to the Purdue Research Foundation, which will lease it to BNCP. He said this way, they could get a better interest rate when selling bonds to finance the project.
Kim said BNCP would purchase the building at a later date.
Pettit said the town wouldn’t offer tax abatement for real estate because it would be buying the property, but it could offer personal property tax abatement on the company’s equipment. He said BNCP could also get a tax abatement on the proposed addition, when it’s built.
“The council could make a commitment to buy the building, but we need an iron-clad commitment that Mr. Oh is coming to Merrillville. We need a purchase agreement or memorandum of understanding before we go for the bond,” Pettit told Kim.
He asked Kim if the town could get a commitment from Oh by mid-June. Kim said he could.
BNCP Corp. would be joining Pinnacle Hospital, the Purdue Technology Institute, Dawn Foods and other tenants at the business park