4-16-2021 – Drug maker to reuse Broyhill warehouse

Posted on: April 16th, 2021 by admin

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April 16, 2021

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By Guy Lucas guylucas@newstopicnews.com

Apr 15, 2021

 

A rapidly growing pharmaceutical company in Lenoir announced another expansion Thursday that will bring new life to a long-vacant building downtown.

 

The announcement by Exela Pharma Sciences came after Gov. Roy Cooper’s office announced a $500,000 grant from the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority to help Exela pay to renovate the building for its expansion.

 

In addition to the state grant, the project has been approved by the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners for job-creation incentives of $2,000 for each new job created up to 100 jobs. When the commissioners approved the incentives in early March, Exela was not publicly identified as the company involved. Instead, it was referred to only as Project Xplode.

 

Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, told the commissioners at that time that the project would involve a $10.2 million investment in starting a new product line.

 

Neither the governor’s office nor Exela, which produces generic and private label injectable products, provided details about what the new product line will involve.

 

The renovation will take place in a two-story, 76,646-square-foot former trucking warehouse at 1170 West Ave., just west of downtown, that Broyhill Furniture Industries built, Murray said.

 

Exela bought that warehouse, which was built in 1964, about three weeks ago for $620,000, according to Caldwell County property records.

 

Murray said the building was one of the last that Broyhill engineered.

 

“That building will require extensive renovation” to bring it up to Food and Drug Administration standards, she said.

 

Phanesh Koneru, the CEO of Exela, said the expansion would involve creating what is called a cGMP warehouse. That refers to Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations, which are how the FDA assures that manufacturing processes for human pharmaceuticals meet its standards.

 

“We are thrilled to have been awarded the North Carolina Building Reuse Grant. These funds will help us build a cGMP warehouse to support our expansion plans into the next two to three years,” Koneru said. “We very much appreciate the continuous support we receive from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Caldwell County and the City of Lenoir.”

 

Koneru began Exela in Lenoir in 2008, with a handful of employees in 20,000 square feet of space. The company now has hundreds of employees in more than 400,000 square feet of space. Exela’s headquarters and main operations are in the former headquarters of Broyhill Furniture on U.S. 321.

 

Murray noted that the Rural Infrastructure Authority’s building reuse grant program has been an essential tool for many of Caldwell County’s economic development projects, helping with significant renovations to vacant or underutilized buildings.

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