Seeing shovels go in the ground on Jan. 11 was special for Kirk Boylston, the president of Lakewood Ranch Commercial.
"This is a special event," Boylston said of Mercedes Medical breaking ground on a 60,000 square foot facility on Rangeland Parkway in Lakewood Ranch. "This is the first targeted user for our CORE project."
CORE is the Collaboration Opportunities for Research and Exploration, which has a mission of being a "world-class research environment for collaboration and innovation." Mercedes Medical, which is a supplier of laboratory supplies, is the first business related to the medical field to break ground at CORE.
"Mercedes is a great, local company," Boylston said. "Their business is servicing the life sciences medical industry."
Mercedes Medical CEO Alex Miller said Boylston made it possible for her company to combine its three Manatee County facilities into one at CORE. Her company will be shipping 13,000 packages a month from the Lakewood Ranch site, a $10 million facility which will include a warehouse and an office building.
"Kirk made it feasible," she said. "He went the extra mile. And we also wanted to stay in Manatee County so the CORE project was attractive to us."
Miller, a Siesta Key resident, said the business should be open at the site by November. Halfacre Construction of Lakewood Ranch is the builder.
Miller's mother, Noelle Haft, founded the company in 1991. Noelle Haft, who is the majority stockholder in Mercedes Medical with her husband, Robert Haft, addressed a small crowd at the groundbreaking, "I don't believe this is happening," she said.
Boylston said developing CORE is going faster than he expected. He said another business will announce it's building a 50,000 square foot building in CORE within the next six months.
Mercedes Medical currently has 65 employees but it plans to expand to as many as 120 employees after its move to Lakewood Ranch.