Pfizer is looking for a single tenant rather than multiple companies to lease or buy Building 118, a sprawling campus of 750,000 square feet on Eastern Point Road, the realtor marketing the property told the Groton Economic Development Commission Friday.
Jonathan Putnam, executive director of the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, described interest in the property so far this way:
“It’s slow. It’s not vibrant,” he said. “There’s some activity and we always will keep our eye on the prize. We are continuing to work on it. There’s nothing imminent.”
Putnam and three Pfizer representatives met with members of the Groton Economic Development Commission, City Mayor Marian Galbraith and Town Manager Mark Oefinger to talk about how Groton might help the company market vacant lab and office space.
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Pfizer is , the company confirmed last week.
Lian Obrey, vice chairwoman of the Groton Economic Development Commission, said word about Pfizer travels as rumor rather than company statements, and businesses pull back in response. The impact is immense, she told company representatives.
“And your reputation for what you’ve done for other areas is horrible. And the people of this town are afraid of the same thing,” she said.
Commission member George Mathanool said Pfizer is a brand name in Connecticut, and the commission wants to help promote it so everyone wins.
“Pfizer slowly moving away from this region creates a black hole and in the case of black holes, it’s going to vacuum out all of the business from this region,” he said.
Groton City Mayor Marian Galbraith said potential tenants should be told about benefits in the community, such as water and an independent utility. Oefinger pointed out that the buildings are in an Enterprise Zone.
“When a company looks at moving here, they look at the community,” Galbraith said. “This community wants to work with you to make sure that happens.”
Putnam said he would speak to her and Barbara Strothers, economic development specialist for Groton, so that potential benefits are included in marketing material.
Pfizer As Landlord
Groton Town Manager Mark Oefinger said people have suggested using vacant Pfizer property as incubator space for small businesses, but the company indicates that won’t work.
A large entity could potentially lease the space and manage smaller incubator companies, Oefinger said, but Pfizer won’t be the landlord.
“Someone’s got step up,” he said.
Michael Lallier, director of utilities and energy management, global operations in the east, said the Groton campus remains the center of development for drug discoveries. He said Pfizer is still investing millions, employs 3,500 people and at times adds another 2,000 contractors.
“In my mind, we’re mourning the amputation of the foot and we’re forgetting about the rest of the body,” he said.
Status of Buildings
The status of buildings recently or currently for sale or lease by Pfizer are listed below:
- Building 118 is the largest one for rent, and is a complex of seven buildings connected together. The complex can handle 900 to 1,000 employees, and Pfizer is looking for a single renter or buyer. The company does not have a listed asking price and the annual lease cost is negotiable, it said. It declined to publicly disclose the operating cost of the complex.
- Building 126, a lab building on Eastern Point Road, is scheduled for demolition after attempts to market it failed to find a buyer. Utilities have been severed and Pfizer is clearing the inside. The building is scheduled to come down by the end of May, but workers will probably clear the site through June. Building 126 dates back to the early 1950s.
- Building 156 is being adapted for new use. The company pulled a demolition permit to renovate a portion and expects to have new occupants - who are now in Building 118 - by the end of the year.
- Building 114, sometimes called “the ice cube building”, is a 26,000-square-foot, two-story office building outside the Pfizer gates. It’s off Eastern Point Road, has a small parking lot, and is considered highly marketable, the company said. It’s been on the market for three months.
- Building 286 is single-story building inside the security perimeter of Pfizer, with a parking lot adjacent to it. It’s about 24,000 square feet and is 60 percent is lab space. It’s been on the market for six months.
- Building 288 is a single-story lab, just under 16,000 square feet in the middle of the campus. It’s been on the market two to three months.