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September 25, 2013

Salem attracts more medical businesses

Imaging firm the latest company to move to town

SALEM — The town has been known as a retail mecca for years, attracting scores of stores and restaurants to Route 28.

Now, Salem is making its mark as a medical community, drawing numerous businesses in the health field to prime real estate space off Interstate 93.

Yesterday, the state Division of Economic Development announced it has helped bring a medical imaging firm to town.

Gamma Medica Inc. recently opened at 12 Manor Parkway, bringing 24 jobs, according to president and CEO Jim Calandra. The company, which is leasing 8,000 square feet, plans to hire about 30 people in the next year, he said.

The start-up firm, launched in July, is a spinoff of a former California company that filed for bankruptcy protection, said Calandra, a longtime Windham resident. It specializes in improving breast cancer detection.

Gamma narrowed it choices for a new location to the San Francisco Bay and Boston areas, he said.

New Hampshire has a more favorable tax climate than Massachusetts and is able to attract highly skilled employees from the Boston area, Calandra said.

The company opted to move to Salem with help from Michael Bergeron, business development manager for the state Division of Economic Development.

Bergeron said he's worked to bring about a half dozen businesses to Salem over the last several years, including Entersays, CCS Companies and AgaMatrix, another medical device company.

"We sell the attributes of New Hampshire as a low-tax area, but we sell the Salem area as a good area for medical companies," he said.

More medical-related businesses have lined up behind Gamma, seeking approval to locate in Salem. That includes a 42,000-square-foot surgery center and medical office building proposed at 14-22 Keewaydin Drive.

Last night, the Planning Board was to hold a public hearing on a request from 14-22 Keewaydin Drive LLC to convert a former industrial building into medical space, according to town planner Ross Moldoff.

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