New Haven's Downtown Crossing project broke ground Monday morning as construction began on Alexion Pharmaceuticals.
With a scoop of dirt and a flick of the shovel, Alexion Pharmaceuticals broke ground on its new home in New Haven. It will be the anchor company for Downtown Crossing, which will transform an empty space off of Route 34 into offices, businesses and restaurants.
“Alexion is at a stage and a growth rate where our contributions to the city can energize the city, and the city can energize Alexion,” said Dr. Leonard Bell, Alexion founder and CEO.
Since Alexion was originally founded in New Haven, moving the global headquarters from Cheshire to the Elm City made sense. It also puts Alexion right next to Yale’s Medical School.
“In many ways I’m a product of Yale," said Bell. "I went to the medical school; I was on the faculty for several years before I started Alexion. It’s a great opportunity to have exciting, innovative scientists be able to speak to each other, collaborate, all for the benefit of patients around the world.”
That future partnership is also a benefit to the city of New Haven.
“That talent is translating science and research there into commercially viable products that both makes people’s lives better and creates jobs and taxes,” said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.
The Downtown Crossing Project also bridges the Hill neighborhood to the rest of New Haven, making the city more accessible and closing the Route 34 divide. The city hopes that will mean even more business for the downtown area.
Just as the state hopes that Alexion’s new headquarters will mean more business for the state.
“This is an investment, along with others that we’re making so that we can recover our leadership in this industry that’s growing at over 11 percent per year. That’s why this investment with Alexion is important; that’s why this building is important,” said Governor Dannel Malloy.
Alexion will move its employees from Cheshire to New Haven when the project is complete in 2015.