Roche Plans $3.2 Billion of Property Investment in Basel

Roche Holding AG plans to invest 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.2 billion) at its Basel headquarters over the next decade as the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs updates its research and office facilities.

Roche will build a new research and development center for about 1,900 employees and a new office building for 1,700 workers, upgrade infrastructure at the site, and renovate a historic office building, the company said in a statement today.

“Roche is committed long-term to Switzerland and to Basel in its dual role as corporate headquarters and one of our most important sites worldwide,” said Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan. “The new buildings will continue Roche’s tradition of elegant, distinctive and functional architecture.”

The pharmaceutical industry has already transformed Basel, a city of about 193,000 people on the Rhine River where Novartis AG, Europe’s largest drugmaker by sales, is also based. Former Novartis Chairman Daniel Vasella redeveloped what was once an industrial site into a tree-filled campus with buildings by architects including Frank Gehry. Across the river, Roche is already building a 41-story tower that should become the tallest building in Switzerland.

Many Roche buildings need to be renovated, the company said. Even after the new tower opens late next year, about 3,000 of the company’s 9,000 employees in Basel will be in rented properties around the city, Roche said. The development plan calls for most of the workforce to be clustered on the company’s main site around Grenzacherstrasse, Roche said.

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