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Incyte to buy Bank of America buildings for growth

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Incyte is reportedly closing on buying 1100 N. King Street and 1100 N. French Street in downtown Wilmington as its latest stage of expansion efforts. The move will bring eventually 800 people to downtown Wilmington. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

WILMINGTON — Incyte Corp. has received $14.8 million in taxpayer-backed grants to open new offices out of the massive complex that Bank of America used to own, placing the company right in the heart of downtown Wilmington.

The global biopharmaceutical company is slated to buy 1100 N. King Street and 1100 N. French Street to move into 541,000 square feet of office space in the city. Incyte’s fourth major expansion since 2014 and will add more than one million square feet across Delaware.

The pair of buildings are in Bank of America’s former Bracebridge complex, which once housed thousands of employees out of its four buildings but now only has offices for 500 employees at Bracebridge II. The final employees will be moved out of the city and to Bank of America’s Deerfield Campus in Pike Creek or to its Christiana Campus in Stanton by November 2025.

Bracebridge I on N. King Street and Bracebridge III on N. French Street was sold to Capital Commercial Investments in 2018. With the support of the state’s Strategic Fund program, those buildings that were first built for MBNA in the 1990s would bring 800 employees again.

“We’re really excited to help continue the revitalization of Wilmington. It’s already come a long way and there’s a lot there. . . This expansion really is something we’ve been needing for a while,” Incyte Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources & Facilities Paula Swain told the Delaware Business Times. “We’re completely out of space. We have an in-person culture. We work four days in the office and one day at home. So we really need our space.”

More than 400 employees from Incyte’s U. S. Oncology and Dermatology teams and global corporate employees that currently work out of offices in Chadds Ford, Pa. will relocate in the North King Street building. The downtown Wilmington office is expected to open in 2026.

The North French Street building will be used for Incyte’s future growth and expansion efforts. Current research, development and technical operations teams will remain at the Augustine Cut-Off headquarters campus in Wilmington’s Alapocas suburbs.

Incyte reports that of its 2,500 employees, roughly 1,200 are locally based.

On Monday morning, the state’s investment board, the Council on Development Finance (CDF), unanimously approved a $9 million job performance grant to create 524 new jobs and retain 342 positions that would eventually move to Delaware.

The average salary for these highly skilled and trained jobs is around $200,000, while other skilled positions would start as low as $90,000, according to Swain.

CDF also approved a graduated lab space grant of up to $5.6 million for site improvements. Both grants will be distributed once Incyte has successfully made improvements to the site and hiring the promised jobs.

The grant approval comes after Incyte ended its plans to build a new facility on the 20-care Lower School Campus from the Wilmington Friends School after outcry from neighbors. Incyte ended up writing off $5.6 million of expenses because of the situation.

Delaware Prosperity Partnership President and CEO Kurt Foreman called Incyte “one of Delaware’s greatest success stories” during the Monday CDF meeting. In the last five months, the company has made major headlines by acquiring the rights to cancer drug Monjuvi and more recently Escient Pharmaceuticals for $750 million.

“It’s great when companies are growing. They [Incyte] are growing dramatically. It’s important that we can find an option in Delaware for their growth,” Foreman told council members during the meeting. “It’s a great story for Delaware. It’s a fabulous opportunity to see a globally focused company continue to do a great job in Delaware.”

Swain told DBT that the transition of moving its staff to the city would be on an ongoing basis, done by departments over time.

“It will be a two-fold step. One is to move the sales and marketing teams from Chadds Ford to here. That’s about 200 people. Then we’d like to move folks that don’t have anything to do with research or technical operations from the Augustine Cutoff location to the new buildings. That will initially be about 400 people,” Swain said. She added that Incyte is looking to add another 400 to 500 people at the new locations over time.

The Augustine Cutoff location will continue to be utilized for lab space as the company grows and adds to its portfolio. Currently, the company makes eight products, however it has another 24 compounds in the development process.

“The pipeline and portfolio continues to grow and expand. As we move things from discovery to development, we will have to grow to support it organically,” Swain added.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. John Carney celebrated the news of Incyte’s move into Delaware’s largest city as a great win for the state’s long storied bioscience sector.

“Incyte’s decision to move their headquarters to downtown Wilmington is not only a big deal for the city – it’s a big deal for our state,” Carney said in a prepared statement. “Incyte is a Delaware success story. Incyte grew out of its space at the DuPont Experimental Station and moved hundreds of employees into a renovated headquarters at Augustine Cut Off. Not only does this announcement mean more great jobs in our state – but it means that there is more opportunity for Incyte to keep doing good in our community and across the world. Incyte’s research makes a huge difference in peoples’ lives. We couldn’t be prouder to call them a Delaware-grown company and we’re excited about their next chapter. I want to thank Incyte’s leadership for their commitment to Delaware.”

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, who is in the final months of his final year in office, welcomed Incyte into Delaware’s home for business and corporations.

“Incyte is a company with motivated leadership that is addressing complex health needs throughout the world. And now, that important work will be conducted from an expanded company location in our city, and we couldn’t be more excited,” Purzycki said in a prepared statement.  

“In addition to enhancing the Wilmington business community, Incyte will provide a wonderful boost to our local economy,” the mayor added. “I offer thanks and appreciation from our entire city to Chief Executive Officer Hervé Hoppenot and the Incyte team and Governor John Carney and the state team for working with the city to make this happen.”

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