UPPER GWYNEDD – Another new building is under construction at the Merck complex in Upper Gwynedd.
Township officials voted on plans for a new production facility at the West Point global pharmaceutical complex last week.
“The proposed building will add approximately 74,000 square feet – it’s a two-story facility,” said Merck spokesperson Greg Landis.
“The exterior is insulated metal cladding, which will match the existing building we just finished,” he said.
Over the past two years, Merck has secured approvals for several new buildings and expansions, including expanding their ‘Building 45’ for laboratories and offices in October 2020, followed by clearance in February 2021 for a new one. “Building 50” of approximately 101,000 square feet. manufacturing space, a new “Building 32” for the freezing space approved in May 2021, then an extension of Building 50 proposed in August 2021.
On November 16, Landis and a team from Merck showed township commissioners the company’s latest project: a new “Building 63A” which will be located approximately 1,300 feet from Broad Street and 1,500 feet from Garfield Avenue. .
“We are far from the residents and protected on both sides by tall buildings,” Landis said.
The building height is 65 feet, a mix of modular construction and stick construction, and the first floor will be used for manufacturing, loading docks and some utility spaces, while the second floor will be dedicated to manufacturing, to offices and support space. As he spoke, Landis showed a series of slides showing renderings of the building itself, a completed 63 building approved in 2019 and slated to open next year, and the empty space now largely occupied by trailers where the new building 63A will be built.
“The project space around the building is very limited. We are in the process of plugging an existing hole that we left on purpose, after overturning a building in 2017, ”said Landis.
“We have added parking and added some minor landscaping around the area, to make it as nice as possible in the allowed space,” he said.
An aerial rendering included in Merck’s presentation shows the new building sitting next to the existing one, and various other Merck buildings in the background, and Landis told the board that the coloring of the building’s sand in the rendering is not quite accurate.
“It’s not brown. We couldn’t get a silver finish because it will complement the existing building, ”he said. “You can see some of the 2,800 trees that are currently on the property and you can see that we are very well landscaped around the property.”
The land use plans for the building were submitted to the township on September 10, an internal staff meeting was held with the bid team the following week, and a site review took place at the end of the month. The township planning commission discussed and approved the project in October, and the necessary plans for stormwater and sewerage are currently seeking state approval, Landis said.
“The building will initially accommodate around 90 people, some of whom will be new recruits, others will come from other areas of the site,” he said.
Review letters from township consultants have been received and requested revisions have been made, he added, and review letters from the Montgomery County Planning Commission and the Sewage Engineer of the Township, the Fire Marshal and the Environmental Advisory Committee all received no comments. The Merck team is requesting a total of eight waivers, all in line with previous Merck approvals, and all having to do with the necessary approvals and guarantees to file with the municipality, which Landis says are all covered by the framework development agreement that Merck has entered into. with the municipality covering all projects on this site.
The only comments on the request came from Commissioner Denise Hull, who said the presentation did not address the new walkways that would be added with the project, and she and the board were “still delighted to have more connectivity and more walkability “.
“We really appreciate you being so thorough and working with us,” Hull said.
The council then voted unanimously to grant preliminary and final approval for the land use planning, including the requested exemptions. In a separate vote, the board also approved several other requests from Merck to do exterior and crane work on other buildings in the West Point complex; details are available in the board meeting material package for November 16.
The Upper Gwynedd Commissioners will then meet at 7 p.m. on December 13 at the Township Administration Building, 1 Parkside Place. For more information, visit www.UpperGwynedd.org.