As Princeton HealthCare System is set to rise on Route 1 on land it purchased from FMC Corp., that company is preparing to move to PrincetonSouth Corporate Center in Ewing, close to the Scudders Falls Bridge over I-95, the main route to Philadelphia, where FMC has its headquarters.

FMC, a manufacturer of chemicals for research, agriculture, and industry, and of food and pharmaceutical ingredients, is planning to house 230 scientists, lab technicians, and support personnel in Ewing.

Jim Fitzwater, the company’s spokesman, says that the move is expected to take place next fall. He says that the company’s main consideration in choosing a new location was a desire to remain close to its former home.

FMC looked at a number of buildings, says Fitzwater. It found lots of vacancies, but many did not fit its space needs or the configuration required for its laboratories. “Most of the space will be used for labs,” he says.

Opus East, the Minnesota-based developers behind PrincetonSouth, received planning approvals last month to build the 117,000 square feet of office, laboratory, and greenhouse space for FMC. The buildings will be located on a 26-acre parcel on the southern end of the 100 acre-plus corporate park.

Fitzwater says that Opus will build a shell for his company and that FMC will arrange for and oversee the finish work itself.

While Princeton HealthCare System is bringing down buildings on the FMC’s Route 1 campus to make way for a $442 million hospital that will be built on the site, FMC’s operation will continue on a portion of the Route 1 campus until the company’s new building is ready.

Aubrey Haines, principal in Mercer Oak, which is handling leasing for PrincetonSouth, says that he has worked with FMC on a new location for several years. The company began focusing on PrincetonSouth about one year ago, he says. Among the reasons that it chose PrincetonSouth, he says, are its location and the reputation of its builder.

Getting settled into the new building on time was important to FMC, as it is to most corporations. Opus, says Haines, has a reputation for bringing projects in on time, as it did for CA (formerly Computer Associates), which moved from Orchard Road to PrincetonSouth earlier in the year.

The building in which CA is located, the first completed in the office complex, is 80 percent leased. A second building recently constructed on the site is not yet occupied. Opus has approvals to build six office buildings on the property. A hotel, a bank, and a number of restaurants are also planned for the site. The hotel, a 134-room Marriott with an indoor pool, is expected to be heard by the planning board within the next few months. Haines says that the hotel could be ready to open in 2009. There is space for a restaurant right next door to the proposed hotel.

Haines, predicting that Ewing will become an increasingly important business hub, says that the township is the easiest for developers to work with in central New Jersey, and possibly the most cooperative in the state. In any case, it is now busy with building applications. According to published reports, a Hyatt hotel is seeking to put up facility on Scotch Road near the I-95 interchange, and Lowe’s, the home improvement chain, has expressed interest in putting up a big box mall on Parkway Avenue, where a 29-acre vacant lot is all that remains of the former Naval Warfare installation.

FMC Corp. (FMC), Route 1 and Plainsboro Road, , Box 8, Princeton 08543-0008; 609-951-3000; fax, 609-951-3809. Bob Kasubinski, manager plant engineering.

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