CID Gets Update on IRG’s Plans For Pearl River Office Campus
John Jordan | June 2016
PEARL RIVER—The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors Commercial Investment Division was once again updated on the latest developments at the Industrial Realty Group’s campus here.
Major takeaways from the May 19th session held at the property included a new lease deal with a Harlem-based technology start-up and that IRG is currently “master planning” the possible future development of a portion of the 550-acre campus it owns.
The program, which was co-hosted by the Rockland Economic Development Corp., featured John Cunningham, executive vice president of Colliers International, who discussed the space availabilities brought about by the sale-leaseback of the complex by Pfizer to IRG last November. IRG purchased approximately 38 buildings of laboratory, manufacturing, office and support buildings. Pfizer retains and operates 500,000 square feet of owned space and leases back approximately 1.2 million square feet from IRG at the 550-acre campus, although the firm will be vacating a significant amount of its leased space later this year.
The session was a return engagement for some CID members since the CID traveled to the Pearl River campus back in November 2013 when Pfizer officials briefed the CID on space availabilities there as well as the pending sale of the property at the time.
Cunningham said that a new tenant at the property is Urban Electric Power, a start up that is commercializing zinc anode battery technology for stationary energy storage applications. The company has leased approximately 36,000 square feet of space at Building 155. The other major tenant at the property, besides Pfizer, is Protein Sciences, which leases approximately 83,000 square feet of space at the property.
At the time of the sale, IRG stated that it envisioned a “dynamic mixed use, multi-tenant campus, which will bring businesses and job opportunities to Rockland County.”
Cunningham said that there is interest in leasing available space at the property, but would not divulge any details on any of the pending transactions. He said a focus over the next several years is to bring amenities to the property, such as a hotel, a health club and restaurant. IRG is currently master planning the site, which is currently zoned industrial/light industrial. Besides the aforementioned amenity-driven development, Cunningham said that medical office, warehouse, residential and other retail could be part of the plan. Since it would require rezoning, the plan would have to go for municipal approval, he noted.
In reference to the retail use, he added, “This is not going to be the Shops at Nanuet, nor meant to compete with that. It doesn’t make sense. They don’t envision a Walmart (or other big-box user) going up.”
He said that the plan is still being formulated and therefore no development cost has been calculated.
Besides adding amenities, Cunningham said that once Pfizer discontinues the production of its Prevnar vaccine at the Peal River property, the now closed campus will eventually be open to the public. Pfizer currently employs approximately 700 workers in Pearl River and is expected to maintain a workforce of approximately 500 once the Prevnar manufacturing operations there have ended sometime later this year. In the deal with IRG, Pfizer has retained approximately 300 acres of undeveloped property.
“There were 4,000 to 5,000 employees here 20 to 25 years ago, the idea is to bring that back up,” Cunningham said. “Right now we have got about 700 (workers). In the coming couple of years (the plan is) to try and double that and double that again and to do that we really need to have the ability to have those amenities on site.”
He said the biotech campus is attractive to prospective tenants because the lab/office space at the IRG campus is about one-third of what biotech-lab space costs in New York City.
Rockland Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Richard Struck said that Pfizer is looking to support the creation of a bioscience incubator at the property. Cunningham added IRG is looking to secure designation under New York State’s fledgling Start-Up NY program to provide incentives for those locating at the property. Struck added that Rockland Community College has been granted a total of approximately 200,000 square feet by New York State to designate under Start-Up NY. He said that some of that square footage could be granted to the IRG campus for worthwhile projects.
The program concluded with remarks by Laurence Gottlieb, president and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., who noted that biotechnology was the first emerging business clusters for the region created by HVEDC coined “NY BioHud Valley” in 2011.
He noted the tremendous economic benefits biotechnology brings to the region. Gottlieb said that for every scientist job created, another five jobs are also created (two professional and three non-professional positions).
“The multiplier effect of bringing more life science, more research and development to a region can have a ripple effect which is beneficial to more than just the life science firm,” Gottlieb said.