Groton city and town officials are setting up a joint meeting with representatives of Pfizer, Inc. to find out what they can do to help market hundreds of thousands of square feet of vacant research lab and office space.
Meanwhile, the company said Friday that demolition of Building 126 will be done by May.
Groton City Mayor Marian Galbraith said she is arranging a meeting with the office of Toni Hoover, senior vice president and director of Pfizer’s Groton location.
Town Manager Mark Oefinger said Friday there have been “numerous” discussions about how the region could benefit from leasing lab and office space, but the company has not provided details of a potential lease, such as the security, rent and parking arrangements required.
“If we knew what terms and conditions properties could be made available, we’d be in a good position to pass that information on,” Oefinger said. “At some point, it would be nice to clue in the local community. We want to be helpful.”
Pfizer applied on Jan. 24 for a demolition permit to take down building 126, a former research facility of about 46,000 square feet, according to records filed with the city building department. The building is five stories including the basement.
“After considerable effort to actively market building 126 on the Groton campus, the building failed to attract interest from potential buyers,” the company said through a statement by e-mail Friday.
"The building is in active demolition with completion expected in May."
Pfizer also applied on Dec. 2, 2011, for a demolition permit for building 156, but City Building Official Carlton Smith said the demolition referred to inside work.
Pfizer said Building 156 would continue to be used, and the permit was needed to remove two offices on a slab next to the building.
'Significant presence' in Groton
The company added that it is evaluating its changing needs and how to best use excess space.
“We are actively seeking potential buyers for the buildings that are currently on the market,” the company said. “Pfizer continues to maintain a significant presence in Groton, and our Connecticut-based scientists will continue to play a critical role in advancing Pfizer’s portfolio.”
Building 126 was among three buildings Pfizer began marketing for lease or sale last winter.
The Groton Economic Development Commission is scheduled to meet at 12:15 p.m. on April 27 in the Town Hall Annex with Jonathan Putnam, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield in Hartford, for an update on the properties.
William Smith, a member of Groton's economic development commission, said he’d like to see whether the buildings could be used as incubator space for small business.
“I think it’s a great shame to see buildings which have useful life to them to be demolished shortly,” Smith said. “And I think that as a town, as a region, (and) as a state we should work diligently to turn those buildings into a productive asset for this area.”
Highest Groton Taxpayer
Pfizer is the largest taxpayer in Groton, and owned $587.6 million of taxable assessed value in 2011, or 14.9 percent of the “grand list,” or tax base in town, according to the most recent assessment data.
The next highest is Electric Boat Corp., with 5.48 percent of the grand list, according to the data.
Building 126 is appraised at $7.9 million, according to the data. Based on town and city mill rates, Pfizer would pay $127,473 in taxes on the building.
Building 118, a seven-building campus with more than 750,000 square feet of lab and office space, is appraised at $123.7 million, according to the assessor’s office.
The company would pay $1.99 million in taxes on the property based on the current mill rate.