Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Sportsometry, a nonprofit that teaches Elm City students math through sports, found reason to celebrate Wednesday afternoon as they signed leases for additional space.
Alexion — a biotech company that specializes in medication for rare diseases and last year generated $2.6 billion in revenue — rented 3500 square feet of the Olympia Building at 142 Temple St. from Chris Nicotra, owner of Olympia Properties and landlord of the space. The biopharmaceutical, which relocated to a new 14-story, 500,000-square-foot headquarters at 100 College St. in January, will utilize its recently-acquired holdings as temporary office space to accommodate employees while construction at 100 College St. continues, Alexion spokeswoman Emily Vlasak said. Five blocks away on 103 Whitney Ave., Sportsometry signed a lease to trade in its 800-square-foot space for a larger 1,000-square-foot space at the Flagg Building on 101 Whitney Ave., Nicotra said.
“New Haven is a city for not-for-profits and meds and eds,” Nicotra said. “It is really kind of interesting just talking about it out loud. One is a pharmaceutical ,and the other a nonprofit are expanding, doing well and having a positive effect on this city.”
Alexion was founded in New Haven Science Park in 1992 and moved to Cheshire, Conn., in 2002. But in 2014, Alexion leaders decided to move back to New Haven to bring the pharmaceutical closer to the Elm City’s critical mass of scientists, biotech and collaborative research opportunities.
Sportsometry, founded roughly 10 years ago by CEO Annick Winokur, provides educational after-school services to schools, churches and other organizations. Sportsometry’s programs teach math, physics and other quantitative skills to students by pointing out connections between those disciplines and sports.
The nonprofit decided to expand this year to accommodate the full number of children enrolled in their programs throughout the year, Winokur said. Roughly 30 children participate during the school year, she said. But 150 are enrolled during the summer months, putting pressure on their current space, she said.
“As things are changing you have to kind of move with the flow,” Winokur said. “Expanding the program to fit different populations caused us to think that expanding the space would be easier for us.”
Winokur added that the hefty price of real estate in the commercial Chapel Street corridor prevents nonprofits from leasing space. The space that Sportsometry had been using, the basement of 103 Whitney Ave., did not provide internet access and proved a challenge for publicity because it neighbored no well-known commercial spaces.
Though the new space on 101 Whitney Ave. is near the former one, it is larger than many locations that nonprofits can afford to lease, Winokur said.
Nicotra — whose other tenants include Yale radio station WYBC and the Pho Ketkeo restaurant that will open on Friday — added that the success of both Alexion and Sportsometry show that New Haven is a viable home for a variety of businesses.