Planning Board greenlights Rubius facility

Planning Board greenlights Rubius facility

Renderings for the proposed 175,000-square-foot building at 30 Hanton City Trail will house a laboratory and manufacturing facility for the Smithfield company, Rubius Therapeutics, which focuses on blood cell therapy.

SMITHFIELD – The planned expansion of Rubius Therapeutics continues to move forward after the Planning Board’s preliminary approval of a 174,500-square-foot manufacturing building on 15.5 acres of land off 30 Hanton City Road.

Civil engineer Joe Casali spoke at the Dec. 17 meeting on the expansion plans, saying this represents a great opportunity for Smithfield.

The biopharmaceutical company received major land development master plan approval from the Planning Board last Thursday for the new building where employees will work on blood therapy drugs and drug research and testing.

The 4-acre building will house a manufacturing facility with utilities, laboratories and offices for approximately 250 workers. Casali said parking will be minimal, in accordance with the board’s request, at 253 spaces. He added that spaces can be cut or increased depending on the board’s position.

Developers are also considering adding solar panels to the roof, saying that proposal will be decided at a later date.

Chris Patterson of Rubius said the exploration of options is important to the company, as it will show the company how a new building will play into its future as it scopes out manufacturing abilities in Smithfield.

“It’s critical for us to have an understanding for the future and where this capability will take us,” he said.

The most significant concerns surrounding the plans since first going to the Planning Board in October have been water availability and transporting wastewater off site. Patterson said the Island Woods substation has the capacity to handle the potential 82,000 gallons of water per day to the property.

Project Manager Bill Lavery said there are two pumps at the Island Woods substation, with only one working currently. He said a second pump is on reserve for service, and will need to be checked for functionality going forward.

Town Planner Michael Phillips said the town received grant funding to renovate and replace an existing flat sewer pipe, but said unfortunately the project was more costly than what the town received in a grant. He said plans to raise manholes along the section of pipe will need to be put on hold until more funding is found.

“It’s going to be some time to get to that project,” he said.

Next steps for the project include Rubius representatives speaking with neighbor Fidelity Investments to gain access to Decotis Farm Road. Casali said talks are open and moving forward.