NEWPORT — The Jay Peak Biomedical Park, also known as AnC Bio, was issued municipal permits by Newport’s development review board. If not appealed within the next 30 day, the next step will be the Act 250 process.
The development review board stated that developer Bill Stenger, along with his team working on the project, had met the requirements needed for the permits. John Harlamert, chairman of the review board, went as far as to say that:
“This is pretty much a no-brainer.”
The facility is set to become a four-story, 84,943-square-foot medical manufacturing building, that will be located on Boegner Drive, where the former Boegner plant is located.
Stenger has said that he expects that work will begin as early as June, with an expected completion date of December 20, 2015. He also said that the project would create no less than 500 full-time jobs, with three work shifts, as well as jobs related to the construction of the facility.
Recently the AnC Bio project had some investors asking that their investments be refunded because of a delay in processing of EB-5 visas.
“We have refunded a handful of investor funds due to the delay, but those spots have been taken up quickly by others,” Stenger said in an email to journalist Hillary Niles, who published a report about Northeast Kingdom projects being slowed by stalled EB-5 approvals.
Niles also reported that some AnC Bio investors have also requested evidence that their investment money will actually lead to job growth, an issue that was confirmed by Stenger in the report.
The EB-5 investment program, which has driven the Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative, laid out by Jay Peak president and partial owner Bill Stenger, along with the majority owner Ariel Quiros, is an immigration program allowing immigrants and their immediate family members to receive conditional visas in exchange for their investment in a U.S. business.
In Vermont, which is part of the “rural program,” if $500,000 and 10 jobs’ worth of economic activity is attributed to that investment within two years, the visas become green cards.
During a public hearing held in Newport on Wednesday night, Stenger and his team discussed the project, and heard from residents concerned with issues such as noise, lighting, and traffic problems resulting from the AnC Bio project.
A letter from Robert Kern, the North Country Supervisory Union Superintendent, stated his concern over the ability of local schools to be able to absorb higher enrollment.
Another issue raised at the hearing was the disposal and treatment of water used in the biological processes related to the medical research done at the facility, which will become contaminated in the process. The developers are saying that the amount of biological waste produced at AnC Bio would be less than that produced at a hospital.
One resident at the meeting Wednesday night stated that the AnC Bio plant is being called the “Frankenstein Lab,” on her block.