A World-Class Marine Biotechnology Hub Finds its Home in Gloucester

Windover recently completed construction of a state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratory and office building at 417 Main St. in Gloucester. Owned and operated by Back Shore LLC, the 18,500 square-foot facility is situated within the Designated Port Area of Gloucester’s historic waterfront and will be dedicated to tenants focused on marine research uses.

The completion of this modern building marked the third Windover project with the owners of Back Shore LLC; the first being Beauport Hotel. Windover provided Project Development Services from the very beginning to create a turnkey investment opportunity for the owners, formulating and implementing the site development strategy, from feasibility analysis to design, permitting, construction, in addition to finding and placing tenants, of which there are two remaining commercial spaces open. The Windover team managed a design-build approach with Lincoln Architects for the project.

“When we came across this opportunity to revitalize the property at 417 Main Street, we knew that Windover was the partner we would turn to, to make our vision come to life,” said Sheree Zizik, co-owner of Back Shore LLC. “We knew that Windover would deliver a high-quality facility with ease. The result is a stunning building that will give Gloucester a foothold in the region as the place to research and study marine biology.”

Due to its location on the Gloucester wharf, the two-story building was constructed upon an innovative frost wall system that elevates the structure four feet above ground with water louvers to protect it from flooding, a system developed by Windover early in the design phase. Additionally, the building features an anti-corrosive coating on the exterior to protect the metal panel siding from environmental elements.

Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI) is the inaugural tenant at 417 Main Street and occupies 5,000 square feet on the first floor of the new building. With the fit-out completed by Windover, GMGI’s  facility represents the very first in the world developed for this unique research purpose. “Windover was honored to bring this project to fruition as it contributes to the inspiring mission of GMGI and to the economic growth of Gloucester,” said Peter Gourdeau, Director of Project Development Services at Windover Construction. “It was a truly collaborative process with all project constituents that drove the result of an influential, and beautiful, marine biology research hub. We listened carefully to GMGI’s needs to build a facility that will support their mission for many years to come.”

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At the new facility, GMGI will conduct genomic research on marine organisms with the goal of developing the next generation of maritime innovation and commerce. GMGI’s research strategy brings cutting-edge genomic technologies to the ocean for new discoveries that will impact both fisheries and human health. For GMGI to conduct this type of research, Windover built out complex MEP configurations to accommodate laboratory spaces and high-tech equipment such as a marine life research room featuring 18 aquaria with complicated thermal controls and plumbing that delivers seawater directly from Gloucester Harbor to the living species; a molecular genomics wet lab; a DNA lab with sequencers; an equipment passage area featuring minus-80-degree freezers; and a reagent lab with built-in fume hoods.

“Windover was a great partner and together we have created a unique, beautiful and highly functional research facility” said Andrea Bodnar, PhD, Science Director at GMGI. “They built a facility that supports GMGI’s mission for the long term and we look forward to pursuing groundbreaking research in this special location.”

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