ROCKLAND: IRG’s Purchase of Pfizer Campus Closes

John Jordan | November 2015

Pfizer Pearl River NY Aerial
Pfizer Pearl River NY Aerial

PEARL RIVER—The sale of the Pfizer campus here to Industrial Realty Group, LLC closed on Nov. 19, IRG announced in a press statement.

The Los Angeles, CA-based company stated that the early stages of its plan for the 200 acres it acquired envision a “dynamic mixed-use, multi-tenant campus.”

No financial details on the transaction were released in the transaction that was to be structured as a sale and partial leaseback deal.

“We are thrilled to redevelop this impressive campus into an environment where businesses can prosper in Rockland County,” said Stuart Lichter, president of IRG. “Our goal is to replicate the same type of success we have created at properties across the country in the community of Pearl River. We also look forward to working with the County to develop a renewed vision for the property.”

IRG has purchased approximately 38 buildings of laboratory, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, office and support buildings. Pfizer will retain and operate 500,000 square feet of space and leaseback approximately 1.2 million square feet of space from IRG.

“The site has extensive potential,” said John Mase, CEO of IRG. “IRG will pursue redevelopment with opportunities for retail, office, industrial and other commercial users. We have already had a wide range of tenants show interest in the project, building momentum and setting the stage for an exciting future unfolding at the property.”

Pfizer, Inc. signed a purchase-sale agreement for approximately 200 acres of its life science campus here with Industrial Realty Group, LLC of Los Angeles in June of this year. Officials at the time said they hoped the deal would close by August.

The two companies had refused to divulge financial terms of the transaction during the due diligence phase. The transaction had been subject to a confidentiality agreement. A representative of IRG confirmed the deal back in June. IRG, a privately held company, operates a portfolio of more than 120 properties in 28 states totaling more than 100 million square feet of rentable space.

The PSA between Pfizer and IRG centers on developed land at the more than 500-acre campus in Rockland County. Real Estate In-Depth previously reported that Pfizer was seeking to subdivide and retain ownership of approximately 25 acres of the 222 acres for its research and development functions. The subdivision has been approved by the Town of Orangetown. Pfizer would retain those operations housed in three buildings at the 25-acre parcel at the southern end of the campus for the long term.

Another facet of the PSA with IRG has Pfizer leasing back some of the buildings it currently occupies at the campus until at least 2017 while its Prevnar vaccine is being manufactured at the property. At press time it was not known how many of the buildings would be leased back by Pfizer.

Pfizer has not made any decisions as yet on what it will do with the undeveloped portion of its Pearl River campus. The pharmaceutical company acquired the property—the former headquarters of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals—in October 2009. There are currently approximately 1,300 employees working at the Pearl River site. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were approximately 5,000 employees working at the Pearl River campus for predecessor companies. The 1,300-employee count should remain fairly stable until Prevnar production concludes by 2017. At that time, the workforce will be reduced to approximately 550 employees, Pfizer officials have previously told Real Estate In-Depth.

Once the sale-leaseback is finalized, Pfizer had stated previously it would then focus on what to do with the undeveloped portion (more than 200 acres) of the 500-acre complex. Pfizer officials could not be reached for comment at press time.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth