Two key Route 1 commercial properties -- the massive Wyeth parcel in West Windsor, and a tract owned by FMC in Plainsboro -- are being eyed by the University Medical Center at Princeton.
Published reports recently stated that hospital officials have held talks with the owners of both sites as a possible location for a new hospital. There is also speculation that a shrinking work force at the FMC facility might lead the company to sell to a commercial developer if the hospital does not buy the property.
Princeton HealthCare, the parent company of the medical center, has said that if it were to build a new facility, it would need to be on a 35 to 50-acre parcel within 15 to 20 minutes of Princeton Borough. The hospital is currently conducting a strategic planning process and will address the issue of a possible move at a public forum that could be held as early as January. In recent years, the medical center has faced growing competition from area hospitals and has been unable to expand due to the limited size (seven acres) of its current location.
Officials in Plainsboro say they have heard there is interest on the part of the hospital in relocating to several locations in the area, but they have not dealt with any specific property.
The 125-acre FMC tract, located on Route 1 at Plainsboro Road, has some 50 acres that are open and developable, in addition to the company's existing facilities on the site. Uses currently allowed are corporate administrative and professional offices; computer centers; training centers; product development and research labs; limited manufacturing; child care centers; and agricultural activities.
Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu says he has no knowledge of any talks regarding the sale of this site. "A substantial piece of the property still remains developable, but we have no applications before us, and I have not had any recent conversations with FMC about the property. I think all of this speculation is being fueled by trying to determine what the hospital is going to do."
FMC officials reportedly deny that the company is looking to unload the property, on which 20 research and development buildings are located. The facility once had an employee population as high as 1,000, but cutbacks and changes in FMC's operations have scaled back the number to about 300.
Despite the dwindling employee population, FMC spokesperson Judy Smeltzer has reportedly said that the company has no plans to sell the property.
Cantu has also said that in order to consider rezoning any property for a new hospital, the township would need a compelling reason. "To date we haven't heard one. On the surface, it would be a stretch to understand what the benefits to Plainsboro would be."
In West Windsor, meanwhile, officials seem more open to the concept of the hospital relocating there. Of the sites mentioned to be of interest, three are within West Windsor's borders -- the Wyeth property, University Square, and Carnegie Center.
West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh says he has held some preliminary talks with medical center CEO Barry Rabner, and Warren Wilson, a vice president at Rouse, about relocating to a portion of the 653-acre Wyeth property.
The township is currently negotiating with Wyeth and Rouse, which has signed a deal to develop the property, about the tract's future, with an eye toward creating a mixed-use commercial/residential center. Located at the corner of Route 1 and Quakerbridge Road, it is the former home of American Cyanamid.
In a public hearing last December, Wyeth and Rouse held a town meeting at which they featured a concept that included such upscale stores as Nordstrom's and Banana Republic, office buildings, a hotel, and residential housing.
"After going through the public outreach program, we found out that traffic circulation is going to be the big issue with the site," says Hsueh. "We have asked them to come up with a traffic plan, and their professionals are currently working on it."
"We have expressed (to hospital officials) that West Windsor would be happy to help them and facilitate the process if they decide to come to West Windsor," says Hsueh.
"My understanding is that the discussions have been exploratory in nature," says Marvin Gardner, chairman of the West Windsor Planning Board, regarding the Wyeth site.
"It appears that there is considerable interest on all sides. But there would first need to be an agreement of intent, followed by an evaluation of the hospital as a component of the entire development to see how it fits into the whole," says Gardner.
Another major issue is that the hospital -- a non-taxable non-profit organization -- would be building on land that would otherwise be occupied by a tax-paying ratable.
Hsueh suggests a payment could be made in lieu of taxes. "When you talk about a community," he says, "it's always good to have faculties like this. For a long time I have talked about wanting high-tech and biotech businesses locating on Route 1. We want to see good facilities in the region to encourage these types of uses in the corridor."
There has also been talk of a land-swap deal between Princeton University and the hospital under which the university would acquire the current hospital building on Witherspoon Street for student housing in exchange for a parcel of land on which the hospital would build a new facility.
One of the primary sites under consideration, sources say, is a tract of university-owned land in West Windsor on Alexander Road between Route 1 and the Delaware & Raritan Canal.
Food Tech News
Sensus America, 1 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate Plaza, Suite J, Monmouth Junction 08852. Sally Brain, vice president marketing. 732-438-1082; fax, 646-452-6150. Home page: www.sensus.us
Sensus America LLC, a science technology company, signed a new lease this fall at 1 Deer Park Drive. Based in Rosendaal, the Netherlands, the firm moved its U.S. headquarters from Texas last year. Douglas Twyman and James Scanlon of Newmark represented the tenant in this year's lease.
Among the firm's ingredients for healthy food products are Frutafitr inulin products that can substitute for trans-fats and hydrogenated oils. One long-chain inulin product can be used in fat-free spread technology for margarines and baked goods. "Frutafit inulin forms a creamy, fat-like structure when it is combined with water, which helps it function as a plasticizing agent," says a spokesperson.
The Food and Drug Administration has given inulin "Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)" status and also cleared it for use as a water binder, emulsifier, stabilizer and texturizer in non-standardized meat food products. Combined with gelatin and starch, it improves what is called "mouth feel" and stabilizes emulsions. On labels the inulin is sometimes referred to as "Fos" or "dietary fiber."
Sally Brain, vice president of sales and marketing for North America, is working with North American-based food manufacturers on applications of Frutafit inulin and Frutalose fructooligosaccharide (FOS), partially hydrolysed inulins. "There are already many successful products in the market and we expect many more with the final FDA-approval for the Frutafit-inulin," says Brain.
About 15 people work in marketing and distribution jobs at this office now, and the parent company plans to add research and development activities to this site.
Astatech, 1 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate Plaza, Suite C, Monmouth Junction 08852. Paul Guo, owner. 732-355-1000; fax, 732-355-1122. Home page: www.astaath.com
AstaTech Inc. does custom synthesis and process development, and makes intermediate compounds for pharmaceutical and agrichemical clients. Founded in 1997 by Paul Guo, who had been a process chemist at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the company moved from Philadelphia to Deer Park Drive last year.
AstaTech has more than 1,000 different drug-related products that are synthesized in its laboratories, kilo-lab and pilot plants. It also has a 50-worker pilot plant in Chengu, China.
Sabinsa Corp., 1 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate Plaza, Suite D, Monmouth Junction 08852. Kalyeanam Nagabhushanam, president R&D. 732-438-1101; fax, 732-438-1105. Home page: www.sabinsa.com
Sabinsa, a maker of nutraceuticals and fine chemicals, has patented ForsLeanr, an ingredient that it believes can manage weight and promote lean body mass. It will list Forslean on the labels of dietary supplements. Some clinical trials have proved the product is safe, and additional trials are being conducted in the United States and Japan.
The company has eight employees at Princeton Corporate Plaza, and the administrative headquarters is in Piscataway. With 35 employees worldwide, it also has offices in Utah and India,
Linguagen, 2005 Eastpark Boulevard, Eastpark at Exit 8, Cranbury 08512. Shawn Marcell, acting CEO and COO. 609-860-1500; fax, 609-860-5900. Home page: www.linguagen.com
Linguagen, a firm that does research in molecular biology of taste signaling for the flavor industries, has landed its first round of equity financing -- $10.2 million from venture capital funds that include NJTC Venture Fund SBIC, Aperture Venture Partners, and RK Ventures Group. Three additional funders -- Cargill Ventures, Danisco Venture, and DuPont Ventures -- are also associated with food ingredients companies and can be expected to contribute in other ways besides money.
Linguagen will use the funding to work on taste receptor research for solving problems associated with bitterness, excessive saltiness or sweetness and to commercialize products and systems that are developed. Though bitterness is usually covered up by adding sugar or salt flavorings, Linguagen hopes to identify compounds that will "fool" the taste buds and result in products that require fewer additives (U.S. 1, September 10).
One product, AMP, has gained FDA approval as being GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) and can be used in coffee and tea, artificial sweeteners, chewing gum, salty snack foods, salt substitutes and soup products.
Software Product VS Identity Theft
WindsorTech Inc.(WSRT), 70 Lake Drive, Hightstown 08520. Marc Sherman, CEO. 609-426-4666; fax, 609-426-4543. Home page: www.windsortechinc.com
The new publicly held company that wants to do safe, environmentally friendly recycling for your computers now offers a product that consumers can use to start the recycling process themselves. On Monday, November 17, WindsorTech launched EraseYourHardDrive.com, a patent-pending, hard disk drive erasure tool for the individual and SOHO (small office/home office) personal computer markets.
Consumers who want to give their old computers to charity can pay $24 for one-time use of this hard disk drive sanitation application. Why? To eliminate almost any risk of identity theft.
"With more than 150 million disk drives having been retired from primary service in 2002, we see a potential market in excess of $3 billion," says Marc Sherman, CEO of WindsorTech. "The reuse of millions of computers each year creates millions of potential instances where personal and/or corporate information still residing on the hard disk drive is released into the secondary market. In the wrong hands, that personal information can create havoc."
Checkspert Inc., 125 Village Boulevard, Suite 280, Princeton 08540. Koushik Roy, vice president. 609-520-0564; fax, 609-520-8849. Home page: www.checkspert.com
Checkspert, a year-old technology company at Forrestal Village, has launched four products with the help of a low-interest $250,000 Seed Capital Loan from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. One of the products, Vprofile www.AVprofile.com), allows job hunters to E-mail video-taped resumes for just $1 per message. Other services use in-home or in-office webcams are for distance learning, secure testing at client sites, and recruiting (U.S. 1, February 26).
"The EDA's Seed Capital Program and other State initiatives that support small businesses with explosive growth potential have enabled us to create jobs and spur economic development throughout New Jersey, reversing the negative trends that have plagued our nation as a whole," says State Treasurer McCormac, who came to a demonstration of the company's services on November 17.
Checkspert started with four employees and, plans to grow to 30 workers within two years.
ICG Inc., 100 Canal Pointe Boulevard, Suite 216, Box 3599, Princeton 08543. Kevin E. Leininger, president. 609-806-5000; fax, 609-806-5001. Home page: www.icginc.com
ICG, a sister company to International Business Research has moved from Nassau Street to its own 6,500-foot quarters at Canal Pointe. With two-dozen full-time employees, the firm bills itself as "the premier provider of information security threat management solutions for senior leadership to Global 2500 companies" (U.S. 1, July 16).
Mazur Public Relations Inc., 2067 Whitehorse-Hamilton Square Road, Box 2425, Trenton 08607-2425. Michael Mazur, publicist. 609-890-4550; fax, 609-890-4556. E-mail: email@example.com Home page: www.mazurpr.com
Michael Mazur moved his public relations firm from South Broad Street, in the building with the Conduit nightclub, to Whitehorse Hamilton Square Road. The company does national and international media exposure for music, entertainment, business, events, festivals, and culinary/food clients.
McGrath & Associates, Lenox Drive, Lawrenceville. Steven L. McGrath, president.
Steve McGrath has moved his management consulting business from Office Concierge and has not announced a new address. He could not be reached for comment.
Gray C. Lott, 68, on November 10. An artist and teacher, he had been chairman of the history department at Princeton Day School.
Karl D. Uitti, 69, on November 11. He had been a professor of Romance languages at Princeton University.
Byron L. Pinsky, 68, on November 12. He served 25 years as executive director of the Jewish Family and Children's Service of Greater Mercer County.
David A. Funk, 68, on November 13. He had been a detective in the Princeton Township Police.
Stephen B. Guild, 49, on November 15. An artist, craftsman, draftsman, and musician, he owned Arcturus Painting.