Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced it will move its headquarters to New Haven with up to $51 million in state aid. Governor Malloy announced the move on Tuesday as part of his "First Five" economic development initiative.
For years, New Haven’s Route 34 highway connector separated the Hill neighborhood and Medical district from the downtown area. Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ move is part of a project to knit New Haven back together.
Mayor John DeStefano says four things were key to Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ decision to move to New Haven: the city’s collaborative relationship with Yale University; a thriving city center; a commitment to public education – and "..a decision we made 12 years ago and stuck with. To close this highway. This highway, in fact, divided the city and subtracted from it."
He’s talking about the Route 34 connector, also known as “the highway to nowhere”. The city plans to take back the land and create an area called Downtown Crossing. Alexion Pharmaceuticals will be the anchor tenant.
Standing beside the highway, DeStefano says this will allow New Haven to expand its footprint to this area of the city. "..not just close the highway. It puts a 426,000 square foot building in the middle with all the attendant street action, people demanding services."
Developer Carter Winstanley says he’s talked for years about bridging the gap between New Haven’s business, government, arts and entertainment, and education centers with the medical district and Hill neighborhood.
"There are easier sites in and around the city to develop, but there’s a reason why its occurring here. This industry is fundamentally about collaboration and so I think this will kick off more development down through connector."
Work on the project is set to start in early 2013.