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Meeting to Brainstorm Future Uses of Pfizer Labs

Meeting to Brainstorm Future Uses of Pfizer Labs [the Day, New London, Conn.]

From Day, The (New London, CT) (June 21, 2012)

June 21--The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, trying to ensure the long-term viability of Pfizer Inc. in Groton, has called a meeting next week to determine how much interest businesses have in moving into laboratory space on the pharmaceutical giant’s campus off Eastern Point Road.

Pfizer currently has several buildings with lab space on the market for either sale or lease, totaling 840,000 square feet of space -- larger than the Crystal Mall.

"The purpose of the meeting is to ascertain the nature and extent of interest among entrepreneurs, especially members of the scientific community, in the soon to be vacant buildings," according to an email sent this week by Tony Sheridan, president and chief executive of the local chamber.

The meeting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Mystic Marriott will feature an appearance by Catherine Smith, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Pfizer representatives are expected to provide an overview of the buildings that it plans to vacate.

"Pfizer is eager to work with the community," Sheridan said in an interview. "We would like to pull together as many interested parties as possible."

Space has become available at Pfizer’s Groton campus during a worldwide downsizing that led to nearly 1,000 layoffs or relocations locally over the past year and a half. Pfizer previously vacated its former research-and-development headquarters in New London, selling the space two years ago to Electric Boat for $55 million.

Exactly how a group of entrepreneurs would come together to use the space is still up for grabs. Some have suggested forming a nonprofit entity that would oversee a business incubator, perhaps with the help of a donation from Pfizer, while others have floated the possibility of the University of Connecticut taking over the project.

Pfizer has said it would entertain separate sale or lease offers for each of the four buildings it currently has on the market. "Pfizer does not want to sell or lease individual portions of any particular building," Pfizer spokesman Steven Danehy said.

Economic-development groups in the region fear that Pfizer will decide to knock the buildings down if can’t find anyone to take over the space. Pfizer already tore down one of the buildings on campus it had previously been trying to market.


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Posted: June 2012