Biotech company plans Camas facility

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

Published:

Updated: July 2, 2013, 5:55 PM

 
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CAMAS — A Camas development that will house a biotechnology company the city has been pursuing for half a decade is set to take shape this year.

Alpha-Tec Systems Inc., headquartered in unincorporated Clark County, plans to build a 42,000-square-foot facility on Northwest Camas Meadows Drive. The company submitted building permits with Camas on Friday and could start construction this summer.

The company will own the new building and plans to bring about 50 new jobs to Camas, said Paul Dennis, president and CEO of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association.

But whether Alpha-Tec plans a full-scale exodus from its leased Clark County property at 12019 N.E. 99th St. is unclear. A representative for the company, which specializes in medical diagnostic systems, couldn't be immediately reached.

The company went by the nickname "biotech 1" when Dennis alluded to the project in November. At the time, the company had submitted preliminary development plans to the city.

A separate project, dubbed "biotech 2," is still seeking venture capital before it can take shape in Camas or elsewhere. The city is facing competition for that project from development officials in Seattle, where its investors are located, and Hillsboro, Ore.

Dennis had been attempting to woo Alpha-Tec since he was mayor of Camas. While the recession put those plans on hold, both the city and CWEDA, launched in 2011, stayed in talks with the company.

Alpha-Tec agreed to build in Camas after the city assured it there would be no complications with stormwater regulations, Dennis said. There is no dollar amount associated with construction of the project, officials said.

Mayor Scott Higgins called the project "significant" and a sign that Camas was recovering from the recession.

"This is more continuing evidence Camas is undergoing economic recovery," Higgins said of Alpha-Tec's plans to build. "It's exciting."

Tyler Graf: 360-735-4517; http://twitter.com/col_smallcitiestyler.graf@columbian.com