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Germany's Max Planck Society eyes Jupiter site

Palm Beach Post - 9/5/2007 12:00:00 AM
by Stephen Pounds

WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County economic development officials said today they will propose a plan next week that would bring Germany's Max Planck Society to a 100,000-square-foot building near Scripps Florida in Jupiter.

Under the $190 million proposal, the eminent Munich-based biotech research institution would build a bio-imaging center on six acres leased from Florida Atlantic University's Jupiter campus. Business Development Board director Kelly Smallridge said in a news conference this morning that the board would come to the Sept. 11 meeting of the County Commission seeking approval for the concept. If approved, the board would then seek innovation incentive funds from the state.

Part of the proposal would include a 20-year bond issue to pay for the center, which Smallridge estimated would cost between $40 million and $50 million to build. Bio-imaging is any type of scanning or imaging done to evaluate the inner workings of the body. It includes X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and other non-invasive methods of studying tissue and human organs.

Max Planck employs 23,400 people on a budget of almost $1.8 billion, including 4,300 scientists. It has produced 16 Nobel Prize winners, including 10 since 1984, and has successfully spun off 76 companies.