Tax break process to begin for proposed nuclear medicine facility in Columbia

Tax break process to begin for proposed nuclear medicine facility in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. - In just a few months, the taxing entities in Boone County will once again gather together to discuss the possibility of approving Chapter 100 bonds for a local business.

In 2014, Northwest Medical Isotopes announced it would be building a facility in Columbia but years of red tape on the federal level has pushed back the project. The proposed location is just south of Columbia off Discovery Parkway in the University of Missouri System owned Discovery Ridge.

"It's a long process because working with nuclear medicine is a specialized business," said Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick. "A lot of what they have to do is go through federal regulatory commissions to get everything approved."

An isotope is a radioactive form of an element that can be researched and used to create medicines that fight diseases like cancer.

The University of Missouri Research Reactor is at the forefront of this work. In fact, it is one of the only places in the world that creates these radio isotopes. Northwest Medical Isotopes wants to build a production plant in Columbia where it can use the isotopes to create Molybdenum-99, which can be used to detect disease in the kidney, lungs, heart or bones.

"This is a partner that uses those isotopes to take something from that raw isotope, turn that into medicine and send it out worldwide," said McCormick. "It's the start of a cluster of those types of businesses on nuclear medicine and those types of businesses start looking here."

As of May, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the facility's construction permit and it has been cleared on the federal level.

Now that it's on the local level, it will have to be considered for tax abatement. According to Regional Economic Development Inc.'s Vice President Bernie Andrews, it was always in the cards that the company would be asking for Chapter 100 bonds. The abatement would be the standard 50 percent.

"We are looking at starting that process in July and August," he said Wednesday.

The Boone County Commission has been considering a change in the policy after an influx of companies over the past few years, but Andrews confirmed the Northwest Medical Isotopes facility would fall under the old policy.

Right now, they don't have an application in, but Andrews said they're working on it and they have reached out to the taxing districts to set up a preliminary meeting.

The taxing districts include the Columbia Public School District, the Daniel Boone Regional Library, Boone County Family Resources, the city of Columbia and the county of Boone.

ABC 17 News has reached out to representatives from Northwest Medical Isotopes and will update this story when we hear back.

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