The Jackson Laboratory to purchase Lowe’s property for potential Ellsworth expansion

Date: March 19, 2012
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Bar Harbor, Maine—The Jackson Laboratory may expand into Ellsworth. The Laboratory has reached an agreement to purchase the former Lowe’s home-improvement store, contingent on finalizing necessary zoning and other arrangements with the City of Ellsworth.

“The closing of the Lowe’s store presented a unique opportunity for the Laboratory to grow at a site that’s closer to much of our workforce in a building and on a piece of land that are already developed,” said Charles Hewett, Ph.D., Jackson’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. Hewett noted that easy access, ample parking and adequate utilities are already in place at the 17-acre site, which includes a 143,000-square-foot building.

Hewett said the planning process will take about two years and it may be two more years before operations will begin there.

“By setting up production, warehousing and administrative functions in the Ellsworth facility, the Laboratory will bring year-round jobs with good pay and excellent benefits to Ellsworth,” Hewett said. “Some of these jobs will move from Bar Harbor, and some will be new. We won’t know the number of jobs until we can do some thorough, long-term planning. We continue to expect long-term employment growth at our Bar Harbor campus.”

Almost 60 percent of the Laboratory’s workforce commutes onto Mount Desert Island to work at the Bar Harbor campus. Because nearly all of those commuting employees now pass the former Lowe’s location on their way to work, the move should not increase traffic through Ellsworth, Hewett noted. Off-Island employees who will work at the Lowe’s site instead of the Bar Harbor campus will see their round-trip commute reduced by as much as an hour per day.

“We look forward to expanding the economic benefits of our growing workforce to Ellsworth,” Hewett said.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., an institute for genomic medicine in the architectural planning stage in Farmington, Conn., and a total staff of about 1,400. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community.


Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058, The Jackson Laboratory

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