Coqui RadioPharmaceutical company officials announced Wednesday they will relocate to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, rather than the Progress Park site where they had planned to build.
Coqui RadioPharmaceutical’s plan to build a $250 million manufacturing facility in Alachua with 164 jobs paying an average of $75,000 was the biggest local economic development announcement of the last three years.
But the company announced Wednesday that it will instead build its facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, lured by the Department of Energy’s gift of 170 acres and the opportunity to work with its Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The relationship with the Department of Energy makes Coqui more attractive to investors, said Kevin Tilbury, planner with Gresham, Smith and Partners, who has helped Coqui with site selection and design. Finance funding has been one of Coqui’s biggest hurdles, he said.
The University of Florida Foundation had signed over 25 acres to Coqui on land it owned south of Progress Park in Alachua, which will presumably go back to the Foundation. The Foundation had already started building a road to the site through its 280-acre property zoned as a corporate park that was to serve Coqui and open up the rest of the land for economic development.
UF Vice President of Research David Norton could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a letter announcing the relocation, Coqui president and CEO Carmen Bigles wrote that the land grant was just part of the incentive package from the Department of Energy, the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, state of Tennessee, Tennessee Valley Authority, the Roane Alliance economic development agency and city of Oak Ridge.