Discussions ongoing on Pfizer’s $470 million expansion in Rockland | Panda Anku

TBusiness Journals have learned that informal meetings have taken place between municipal officials and representatives from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer about the company’s proposed $470 million expansion of its Pearl River campus in the Rockland County town of Orangetown. Pfizer has had a presence in Rockland since acquiring Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 2009, along with the buildings and land owned by Wyeth. In 2015, Pfizer sold 207 acres and 25 buildings at 401 N. Middletown Road in Pearl River that would remain in use to Industrial Realty Group LLC (IRG), which now operates the property as the Hudson Valley iCampus. Pfizer also owns 33 acres and occupies approximately 850,000 square feet of building space on its Pearl River campus.

Pfizer is located in Rockland County in Pearl River. Photo courtesy of Pfizer

Jerica Pitts, Pfizer’s senior director of global media relations, told Business Journals, “Pfizer has new plans for a $470 million transformational investment for its Pearl River vaccine research and development campus. Over the next three years, pending necessary government and other agency approvals, Pfizer plans to expand and modernize our campus with a new 25,000-square-foot laboratory building for 370 colleagues and amenities such as a modern coffee shop, fitness center, parking garage, and functional space outdoors. The rejuvenated campus will feature interconnected buildings and a distinctive main entrance.”

“It’s encouraging to see the renaissance this company has had during my tenure,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day told Business Journals. “I am pleased to see that these leaders in response to a global health crisis plan to invest and plant even deeper roots in our beautiful county with a $470 million expansion and 100 new hires. I commend Pfizer for its contribution to science, for saving lives, and for its commitment to calling Rockland home.”

On July 24, Day went to Pfizer for a ceremony where two company employees were awarded the keys to the county in view of Pfizer’s development of a Covid-19 vaccine. Kathrin U. Jansen, senior vice president and chief of vaccine research and development, and her colleague Steve Bjornson, vice president and COO of vaccine research and development, each received a Key to the County Award for their dedication to the science and salvation of Life .

The expansion is expected to result in Pfizer hiring additional employees. Around 1,000 people are already employed at the Pearl River site. Pfizer is believed to aim to break ground by 2024 and complete expansion in 2026.

“I think it’s a win-win overall,” Orangetown Town supervisor Teresa Kenny told Business Journals. “You agree to stay here. Over 1,000 employees are on site. They’ve always had a lot of staff there, but at some point they were down and there was a lot of concern that they were going to sell and leave, so it’s a commitment to be here long-term.”

Kenny said that while site plans had not been submitted as of Aug. 5 to begin the review process by the Orangetown Planning Board, Zoning Board and Building Department, the expansion concept had been outlined to her and “it will be an addition to the city.” “

Kenny expressed hope that Pfizer’s expansion and involvement in Orangetown would attract other life sciences companies to the area.

The Pfizer campus in Pearl River in 2016“We’ve got Amazon here, we’ve got FedEx, we’ve got UPS, it’s all happened in the last few years. Our community is getting better known,” Kenny said. “This will be another representation of what a great place we’re going to find.”

Kenny said that she and the city’s attorney and the head of construction met informally with Pfizer. Further informal meetings are to take place in the coming weeks.

“They seem very keen to move this forward quickly,” Kenny said. “Much of the speed at which they move is within their control. The process itself can take a while, but if you listen to Pfizer reps, they want it to be really fast. We will do our best to work with them.”

Kenny said she lives about a mile from Pfizer in Pearl River and the company is a good neighbor in the community.

“When I came into the office they contacted me straight away and I took a tour of their facility pre-Covid. They really wanted to be part of the community,” Kenny said. “They’re a good corporate neighbor and I’m glad they’ll be around for a long time.”

Pfizer says its Rockland facility is one of its nine major research and development sites.

IRG has attracted new tenants to its campus and was unsure whether Pfizer would lease space for expansion or restrict new buildings to the existing lot. iCampus tenants include Sanofi US Services Inc., Iris Biogen Corp., Party City and Urban Electric Power Inc.

Jamie Schwarz, president of Hudson Valley iCampus, told Business Journals that Momentive Performance Materials has signed a lease for approximately 67,000 square feet and is preparing to move into it in January.

“We have a number of deals in the pipeline, so from a leasing perspective we’re pretty happy,” Schwartz said. “The existing infrastructure in some buildings already has the elements that a life sciences or biomed company needs. There are all kinds of technical requirements, although they may need updating. Building this infrastructure from scratch would cost someone a lot of money, so we’re getting a lot of interest from companies in these areas.”

Jamie Schwartz.  Photo by Randi Childs Photography
Jamie Schwartz. Photo by Randi Childs Photography

Schwartz said that Pfizer’s commitment to stay in Pearl River and increase its presence is a great vote of confidence and sends a signal to others.

“They’ve had vaccination surgery here before, but I think they’re also happy with how things are going on campus,” Schwartz said. “From a leasing perspective, I don’t think they would make that commitment unless they were happy. They also rent rooms from us.”

He said the entire Hudson Valley region will benefit from Pfizer’s planned expansion in Rockland, as well as new facilities being built in Westchester County by Regeneron of Tarrytown, which broke ground on a US$1.8 billion expansion a few weeks ago -dollars made.

“This is nothing but good news,” Schwartz said.

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