09 Jul Neogenomics to build $50 million world headquarters west of I-75 near Alico Road
Neogenomics, described by one employee as “doctors for cancer doctors,” will build a 150,000-square-foot, $50 million-to-$60 million international headquarters in south Lee County.
The only international company that focuses exclusively on comprehensive cancer diagnostics, Neogenomics started in about 1,200 square feet of space in 2006 in Gateway after relocating from Naples.
It has seen significant growth, encompassing about 90,000 square feet of space in five buildings clustered north of Daniels Parkway at 12701 Commonwealth Drive, off Westlinks Drive, just east of JetBlue Park.
The new site covers about 14 acres just west of Interstate 75 and about half a mile north of Alico Road.
“We want to do something special for our employees,” said Neogenomics CEO Doug VanOort, who has presided over the company’s growth from 100 to 1,500 employees across the nation and even around the world since he arrived a decade ago.
The company also has laboratories in Tampa; Houston, Texas; Aliso Viejo and Fresno, California; Nashville, Tennessee; Geneva, Switzerland and Singapore, with another in the planning stages for China.
The new headquarters will be the home base for administration and an expanded laboratory, and the other locations will remain in use.
“They have been working very hard in the facilities we have,” VanOort said. “This is going to give us more efficient use of space. It is a place we will all feel proud of.”
Projected to break ground by the end of the year and to open by the end of 2021, the new headquarters will have room for the company’s 300 existing Lee County-based employees and additional space for the 295 people expected to be hired between this past January and the ensuing five years.
Those hires will help the company receive $374,000 in tax credit incentives from the Lee County government and about $1.4 million from the state of Florida.
VanOort also estimated Florida would help fund $25 million to $30 million of the construction costs.
The land is under contract and slated to close before the end of the month.
Although no secret the company would be expanding, details of the location were kept “close to the vest” until Tuesday, when employees plan to celebrate with a catered lunch under a tent outside the Gateway buildings.
Helen Edenfield, national director of operations excellence and the company’s third employee, has been working behind the scenes to scout potential locations and hire the architect and construction contractors. She said the company chose the land north of Alico Road over two other site candidates.
“For our visibility and our branding, we will be there right off I-75,” Edenfield said. “Whether it be in two years when we move in or 15 years from now, that’s not going to change.
“I think it’s a great location. It’s close to the airport. For the lab, we need it to be centric to the airport. It’s close to FGCU. We can continue our relationships with the university and grow that.”
The facility, slightly smaller than the 171,000-square-foot Hertz Arena, was originally planned for 90,000 square feet, but the company decided to build bigger than needed to avoid outgrowing space in the future.
“That’s one of the great things about this company,” Edenfield said. “We can pause and think about things. What did we need?”
Lab technicians do the grim work of diagnosing cancer at quiet cubicles before passing along their findings to on-site doctors for more in-depth analysis.
Dr. Mojdeh Naghashpour works remotely from the east coast of Florida but said she has considered returning to Fort Myers because of the new facility.
“We are the doctor’s doctor,” she said. “I’m so delighted to be a part of this company. This company has a responsibility to its shareholders, but at the same time, they give us the autonomy to make critical, medical decisions.”
Felix De La Cruz, the Neogenomics site director, is among the many employees looking forward to having more work space. Although he was born in the Dominican Republic, he considers himself a homegrown employee, having graduated from North Fort Myers High School in 2002 and from FGCU with a degree in biotechnology.
“It’s going to be great for us,” he said. “Right now, we are almost bursting at the seams. We seem to set up a laboratory, expand, and then we’re ready for more space. We’re excited to get something new and fresh and something we can grow into.”
New Neogenomics: A look at some of the contractors involved in the construction of a new world headquarters for the cancer diagnostics company. The project is slated to cost $50-to$60 million and open by the end of 2021.
Seagate Development Group: Developer/Construction Manager/Site Contractor
Studio Plus: Architect
Hole Montes: Civil Engineer
Smith, Seckman, Reid: MEP Engineer
DeAngelis Diamond: Contractor
Select Structural: Engineering