The University Record, October 1, 2001

University and Pfizer reach agreement on sale of parcel

By Julie Peterson
Office of the Vice President for Communications

The University and Pfizer have reached an agreement for the sale of approximately 55 acres of land in Ann Arbor by the University to the pharmaceutical company. The transaction was approved by the Board of Regents during a special meeting on Sept. 28.

The land sale will allow Pfizer to maintain its Ann Arbor laboratories as a premier drug discovery facility, and represents another significant step in the development of the Life Sciences Corridor in the state of Michigan, U-M and Pfizer officials said.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the University, for Pfizer, for the local community and for residents of the state,” said President Lee C. Bollinger. “It will greatly enhance what is already a primary center in the world for life sciences research and development. The relationship between our Life Sciences Initiative and the research taking place at organizations such as Pfizer also promises great economic benefits for Ann Arbor and for Michigan.”

“We truly appreciate the University of Michigan’s and the state’s efforts to ensure that the Pfizer Ann Arbor Laboratories have the land we need to function as a single campus, and we look forward to a fruitful partnership with the city of Ann Arbor,” said David Canter, Pfizer senior vice president and director, Ann Arbor Laboratories.

“Ownership of this land makes it possible for Pfizer’s Ann Arbor site to grow with the company and to continue in our role as one of Pfizer’s premier research and development sites. Lee Bollinger’s keen life sciences focus and the state’s Life Sciences Corridor initiative have been strong factors influencing Pfizer’s decision to stay in Ann Arbor.”

The parcel of mostly-vacant land is part of North Campus, adjacent to Pfizer’s current complex and bounded by Plymouth, Green and Baxter roads. U-M facilities adjacent to the land include the U-M Transportation Research Institute, several administrative services buildings and a commuter parking lot just off of Green Road. The Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM) also occupies adjacent property at the corner of Plymouth and Green. None of those facilities will be affected by the land sale, although ITCom buildings will be relocated elsewhere on campus. A City of Ann Arbor water tower that is located on the property will remain.

The contract specifies a sale price of approximately $27 million, contingent upon a final survey to determine the exact size of the parcel.

Bollinger said he has decided to use the money from the sale to support key elements of the Life Sciences Initiative, including expansion of the planned Undergraduate Science Center, the Biomedical Engineering Department in the College of Engineering, and the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in LS&A.

Robert Kasdin, executive vice president and chief financial officer, noted that it is highly unusual for the University to sell a large parcel of land in this fashion. “We are taking this extraordinary step because Pfizer’s plans for increasing their research and development in Ann Arbor are precisely in line with our own aspirations for being a leader in biomedical research, and for contributing to the development of a vibrant corridor of such research across the state,” he said.

The U-M agreement with Pfizer is part of the University’s commitment to 21st century leadership in the life sciences. The University is building on its tradition of excellence in life sciences research with campus-wide investments in new research facilities, interdisciplinary programs and enhanced curriculum. For more information, see www.lifesciences.umich.edu.