Just eight days shy of Halloween, the Boca Raton Planning & Zoning Board will hear one of its most chilling requests.
Suspended Animation Inc., the Boca-based firm that wants to conduct research into “cryopreservation” – extreme low-temperature freezing of bodies for eventual revival – will ask P&Z; on Thursday for permission to do the work at its current location, 1082 Rogers Circle in the South Congress Industrial Center.
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The Planning & Zoning Board will make a recommendation to the City Council, which has the final say in the matter. The council will hold a public hearing at a later date.
P&Z; meets Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.
If the request is approved, Suspended Animation Inc. will become Florida’s only cryonics facility for humans – and one of only a few in the United States.
In its application, the firm says most of its work will be in research on the cryogenics process. Documents say no more than five cadavers will be frozen during the year for storage at a facility owned by Alcor Life Extension Foundation.
The idea of freezing bodies for eventual revival gained new recognition – not to mention infamy – when retired Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams was frozen after his death. The case made headlines not only for the cryogenics process, but for the argument among his children about whether dad should be cremated or quick-frozen.
There is a connection. In its filing, Suspended Animation says it is a subcontractor for Alcor. And any bodies frozen in Boca will go to one of Alcor’s storage facilities. Williams is on ice in Arizona.
Most of the company’s research will be on animals, specifically rats, and on human cadavers in order to discover a way to preserve a whole body without damaging tissue. Although about 90 percent of the company’s business will consist of research, according to its filings with the city, it will be staffed with medical professionals able to place a person into a deep freeze.
“We don’t store any bodies. We do front end work in cryonics,” company President David Shumaker said in an interview earlier this year. About 1,000 people have signed up to be frozen in the name of science, according to the company’s filing.
The application said the firm’s 35,500-square foot building will remain virtually unchanged. Plans call for the creation of a couple of labs and a preparation room inside, but nothing that would change the exterior.
The Life Extension Foundation of Fort Lauderdale funds Suspended Animation Inc., its application says, and 5300 Palisades Avenue Association LLC of New Jersey owns it.