In REDC love fest, CSHL kicks off $75M makeover

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There was another major advance for biochemistry Thursday at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, but this one didn’t involve gas chromatographs or infrared spectrometers or a single test tube. Just a shovel.

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a host of regional and state representatives on hand, the world-class scientific research facility officially broke ground on the renovation of its Demerec Laboratory, one of four CSHL laboratories being remade with a big assist from Albany.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory announced in April 2016 the launch of its Center for Therapeutics Research, a $75 million initiative designed to leverage the lab’s biomedical expertise into new therapeutic treatments for genetic diseases.

At the time, laboratory officials noted New York State would provide $25 million for construction and equipment, with the lion’s share going to the renovation of the Demerec Laboratory. Named for Croatian-American geneticist Milislav Demerec, the lab originally opened in 1953 and has been home base for four of CSHL’s eight Nobel Prize-winning researchers.

On Thursday, Cuomo brought his checkbook, with the 25 large earmarked to both renovate the Demerec Laboratory and attract cutting-edge researchers to the 20,000-square-foot biotech mecca.

Flanked by a who’s-who of regional business-development and legislative leaders – including State Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Oyster Bay), Empire State Development Corp. Commissioner Howard Zemsky, Long Island Association President Kevin Law and County Executives Steve Bellone and Ed Mangano of Suffolk and Nassau, respectively – Cuomo called the groundbreaking “a day long coming,” noting such endeavors “take months and months of planning execution and overcoming lots of obstacles.”

Zemsky, who introduced both the governor and CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman, noted a “proud day on Long Island” – and another strong example of the “dramatic” changes Albany has made in its statewide economic-development model.

Thursday’s event was actually a bouquet to the state’s Regional Economic Development Council system, which Zemsky designed and Cuomo enacted. The REDC format pits 10 state economic zones in an annual competition for tens of millions of dollars in business-development funding, all focused on specific regional industries – a “more holistic vision for economic development,” according to Zemsky.

Howard Zemsky: Man with the plan.

The idea, the ESD chairman noted Thursday, is for the state to invest in “certain c

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