Bioscience firm is first announced tenant for Innovation Park Lake County in Libertyville

The first announced tenant for the former Motorola Mobility campus along Route 45 in Libertyville is a village-based bioscience firm that plans to invest $27 million in a global headquarters for research and development.

Valent BioSciences Corporation announced plans to build its Biorational Research Center at Innovation Park Lake County as an expansion of its current operation nearby at 870 Technology Way. The proposed lab, office and greenhouse space is part of a larger initiative planned by Tokyo-based parent Sumitomo Chemical Company.

The project envisions using about 85,000 square feet as the first occupant of the sprawling 1.2 million-square-foot facility. Maryland-based developer BECO Management Inc. bought the property in 2014 and promised a multi-tenant workplace "unlike any other anywhere," according to promotional materials.

Valent is a leader in "sustainable solutions for agriculture public health and forestry," according to Rick Melnick, global brand management and communications manager for the company.

The company has operated lab and research facilities from several buildings in Long Grove since 2000 when it was purchased from Abbott labs. The move will bring chemistry, biology, microbiology, fermentation and formulation labs under one roof and put its research and development headquarters within walking distance of its global headquarters of business operations on Technology Way, Melnick added. All employees are expected to make the move.

The $22 million first phase is scheduled to be done in mid-2017. The $5 million second part involves a significant expansion of lab and green house space to be complete in 2019.

The last of 2,500 Motorola employees left the sprawling campus two years ago. Soon after, BECO bought the property with the aim of re-imagining the campus for multiple companies as it has successfully done at the former IBM campus in Charlotte, North Carolina.

BECO plans a heavy investment in the Libertyville site and is nearing completion of a new entry road and a two-story glass addition to serve as a central entry. Work expected to be completed this summer represents a $10 million investment, said Mercedes Merritt, vice president for leasing.

Merritt said BECO has been working with "a couple of bioscience groups" but no announcements are imminent.

"I think we will be able to show (to prospective companies) what we're going to do at the end of the summer. That's when Phase 3 and 4 will be complete," she said.


  Work continues on a new central entry for Innovation Park Lake County. The first tenant has been announced for the former Motorola Mobility facility on Route 45 in Libertyville. Mick Zawislak/
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