LIVERMORE — A German-based biomedical manufacturer hopes to set up shop in Livermore, setting up the potential for new local jobs and attracting other biotech groups to the area, according to company and city officials.
To help entice Admedes Schuessler, which produces heart valve cages and vein stents, thrilled city leaders are offering a healthy financial incentive: If the 18-year-old private company develops its high-tech manufacturing plant in Livermore as planned, it would receive about $150,000, according to staff reports.
The plant would generate more than 30 high-salary jobs and would be the first major investment by a business of its kind in Livermore. Because biotech companies tend to cluster, the hope is that others would follow, officials said.
"Startups often want to locate near us so it's easier to get (their companies) going," said Eric Veit, vice president of Admedes. "Maybe we'll have a new biotech cluster in Livermore."
Company officials were set to meet Wednesday with the city's building department to start the permitting process.
Admedes, which operates a plant in Pforzheim, Germany, also has sales offices in Ireland, Pennsylvania and Pleasanton. About 85 percent of its business comes from the United States, spurring interest in an American-based manufacturing facility, Veit said.
The proximity to Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories — known hubs for laser technology — makes Livermore a logical location for the company, which uses lasers to cut nitinol and stainless steel for medical devices, Veit said.
Another reason Admedes has taken a liking to the Livermore Valley is that it reminds employees of the wine regions in Germany, he told City Council members at Monday's meeting.
To sweeten the deal, the city is reinstating its defunct High Wage Business Attraction Incentive Program. Adopted in June 2005, the program aimed to attract businesses by paying them $5,000 over five years for each "high-wage" job created. It was suspended in October 2008 due to a lack of business participation —- partly a function of the program's then hard-to-meet salary requirements, said Catherine Hagebusch, Livermore economic development program specialist. Only jobs paying $87,396 or more qualified under the program.
Under the newly reinstated program, Admedes would be paid $5,000 for each position created with an annual salary of $58,928 or more. The number is based on a calculation that takes into account current home prices in Livermore, Hagebusch said.
Of the 50 jobs the Admedes facility is expected to generate, about 30 would be eligible for the $5,000 incentive. Instead of being paid over five years, the $150,000 would be paid at once and used by the company to renovate the site of the future plant.
In exchange for getting its money at once, Admedes would sign a promissory note saying it would ramp up to full-scale operations within five years of receipt of the funds or would reimburse the city.
The 18,050-square-foot building at 2800 Collier Canyon Road sits in a business-commerical park whose zoning allows for research and development activities, Hagebusch said.
"This is a wonderful time to come to Livermore," Mayor Marshall Kamena told Veit at Monday's meeting.
"If there was ever a time for progressive incentives, it's now," said Livermore Chamber of Commerce President Dale Kaye, applauding the city's incentive program. "It's so nice to see manufacturing going this way instead of (offshore)."
Reach Jeanine Benca at 925-847-2125.