The Challenge: Secure town approval for a new biotechnology campus in Lexington
Biotechnology companies consider suburban Boston ideal for locating offices, laboratories and manufacturing facilities. The renowned colleges and universities in and around the city provide these companies with a scientifically educated workforce and keep the area on the forefront of new developments in biotechnology. Biotech companies often require rather large spaces for their unique operations, designed with their specific requirements in mind, and finding locations within Greater Boston that can meet these demands can be a difficult task. In September 2002, a Massachusetts based real estate developer, Patriot Partners, LLC, purchased the former world headquarters of Raytheon Corporation in Lexington, Massachusetts with the intention of creating a biotechnology campus on the 96.5-acre site. The developers soon renamed the site Lexington Technology Park and selected SA to develop a public affairs campaign with the goal of gaining approval for development plans from the Town of Lexington.
Our Approach: A community relations and public affairs campaign designed to inform and educate Lexington residents and Town Officials
The size and design of the former Raytheon headquarters made it an attractive candidate for redevelopment as a biotech center; however, Lexington residents and town planners had to approve plans that would create 630,000 square feet of office/manufacturing/lab space. SA embarked on a community relations and public affairs campaign designed to inform and educate Lexington residents and Town Officials of the features of the proposed redevelopment of Lexington Technology Park. Hosting an informational ‘Open House’ and a bus tour of the site encouraged two-way communication between the developer and key decision makers while educating interested parties about the project specifics. SA also launched a media relations campaign to promote the various benefits Lexington would gain from this project. In the end, a working relationship was created whereby concerns over safety, traffic impact, designated open spaces and effects on town services were mitigated.
The Results: Lexington Town Meeting members overwhelmingly approved the proposed development plans
As the principals of Patriot Partners became embedded and accessible to the Lexington community due to SA’s public affairs campaign, project support began build. Patriot Partners enjoyed an atmosphere of cooperation in creating development plans for the site achieving its goals and satisfying the concerns of Town residents and planning board members. Key media placements in the Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, Lexington Minuteman and the Banker & Tradesman generated positive visibility for the development and on April 7th, 2004, Lexington Town Meeting members overwhelmingly approved, by a vote of 170-1, the proposed development plans. Throughout Town Meeting proceedings, Patriot Partners was applauded by Town Officials and residents for their commitment and willingness to work closely with the community to develop Lexington Technology Park.