GE Healthcare, which last summer unveiled plans to establish a US life sciences base in Massachusetts, has hired nearly 100 more employees and is stepping up its expansion at a former Hewlett-Packard Co. site being renovated in Marlborough.
In all, the company expects to have about 500 employees working in the new $250 million Marlborough Hills development off Interstate 495 within the next three years.
The hiring spree is one of the largest of any life sciences company in the state. The move by GE Healthcare, a division of industrial conglomerate General Electric Co., follows those by drug-makers Shire plc, which is moving more than 500 jobs to its Lexington campus, and Baxter International Inc., which is staffing a new biopharmaceutical research center in Cambridge with at least 400 people.
GE Healthcare’s life sciences business, which sells bioreactors, diagnostic tools, and other gear used in biotech drug manufacturing, is planning to hire at least 115 more researchers and commercial managers this year. It will also move 120 employees to its new building from two existing area operations and 50 to 70 employees from a pair of sites being shut in New Jersey.
“We’re being very proactive,” said Eric Roman, the GE Healthcare Life Sciences site leader who recently transferred to Massachusetts from the company’s global life sciences headquarters in the United Kingdom. “We put a plan in place, and we execute on that plan. You hire the best you can find. And if they don’t meet your requirements, you don’t hire them.”
In addition to the hiring that GE Healthcare had promised in August, Roman said in an interview that it now plans to hire an additional 100 employees between the end of this year and the time the Marlborough site is operating at full capacity in 2017.
GE Healthcare plans to begin moving its first employees into the new site this summer.
Roman, an American who has worked for GE outside London for the past three and a half years, is returning to Massachusetts, where he attended Harvard Business School in the late 1990s.
When the company decided to set up its US life sciences hub in Massachusetts, a center for biopharmaceutical research and business, executives looked around Cambridge, the Interstate 495 beltway, and farther west before settling on Marlborough. The company chose to locate there partly because the leasing cost was more reasonable and partly because many of those from the employee “demographic” that GE sought live between Route 128 and Interstate 495, said Roman.
GE Healthcare Life Sciences plans to occupy about 210,000 square feet, including 40,000 square feet of lab space, in a building at Marlborough Hills that it will share with Quest Diagnostics, a company that provides clinical laboratory services.
The office and laboratory complex is one of two buildings being renovated on the 110-acre Marlborough Hills site, which is being developed by Atlantic Management of Framingham.
That mixed-use development will include 350 apartments and townhouse units, a Hilton Garden Inn hotel and restaurant, and retail outlets such as a coffee shop, a dry cleaner, and a grocery market.
Employees in GE’s building, which was designed by the architectural firm Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, will also have access to their own cafe and day care and fitness centers.
Developer Joe Zink, president of Atlantic Management, said he expects many of the housing units to be rented to young employees at GE, Quest, or nearby Boston Scientific Corp.
“The theme is live, work, play, and stay,” Zink said. “It’s one of the more quiet big projects going on. The days of being in an office building by itself, with no amenities and no services, are over. Mixed-use projects help companies attract and retain employees.”