Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vistakon Gets Research Site under Way

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vistakon Gets Research Site under Way

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

Saying that its long-term research and development needs warranted construction at its Southside campus, Vistakon reported yesterday that it has launched work on an R&D center that records show could top $30 million in capital investment.

Vistakon, the Jacksonville-based maker of disposable contact lenses, is building the facility at its 60-acre Deerwood Park campus at Butler and Southside boulevards.

"We have gotten approval from our executive committee to build the R&D building," said Shelley Carpenter, vice president of human resources. Site clearing was approved late last year, and a construction permit application has been in review at City Hall.

Vistakon is a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., and the J&J Web site states that Vistakon pioneered the concept of disposable contact lenses in 1987 with the introduction of the Acuvue brand. It says Vistakon makes and markets the top three best-selling contact lenses worldwide: Acuvue, 1-day Acuvue and Surevue.

Scientists and researchers at the new building will be involved with developing new Vistakon products.

Carpenter said the three-story, 155,000-square-foot center should be completed in September 2003. Most of the workers will be relocated from a facility on Richard Street, also in Southside. That facility is scheduled to close in December 2003 as its lease expires.

The new center, at the 7500 Centurion Parkway campus, will house the laboratories and offices for 340 Vistakon researchers, engineers and staff. A corporate statement reports that about 290 scientists and engineers now operate at Richard Street, which is the company's only research center.

While the center will accommodate up to 340 people, Carpenter said there were no immediate plans to add research associates. …

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