Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Completion of Pfizer property purchase near

Within weeks the university will take ownership of a 174-acre research campus that will provide a springboard for new discoveries, job creation and educational opportunity — and offer a wise investment for U-M’s future.

U-M’s purchase of the former Pfizer pharmaceutical research facility adjacent to North Campus will be completed June 16, Timothy Slottow, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Thursday at the Board of Regents meeting in Dearborn.

A due-diligence period ends today, paving the way for the university to purchase the campus and its contents from Pfizer for $108 million. The first U-M offices on the campus may open this fall, and the first laboratories in early 2010.

In all, the purchase will lead to 2,000-3,000 high-quality new jobs in the next decade — replacing many of those lost in the closure of the facility that had been a pharmaceutical research hub for more than 50 years.

Many of those jobs will come as new scientists and their teams are attracted to Ann Arbor, or as existing research teams add new members. Other jobs will arise from U-M’s increased engagement with the private sector, including the potential for existing and startup companies to use space on the new campus.

The purchase will foster immediate expansion of U-M’s already robust and rapidly growing research enterprise, which is one of the largest in the United States, approaching $1 billion in annual expenditures.

Buying the Pfizer site will save U-M both time and money over the long term, compared with the cost of building new research facilities — even after accounting for renovations and maintenance. The campus is ideal for the university's growing research activities in health, biomedical sciences and other disciplines, which have been hampered in recent years by lack of research space.

The purchase includes four parcels of land and 30 buildings encompassing nearly 2 million square feet of sophisticated laboratory facilities and administrative space, along with furnishings. In all, the campus will expand U-M research capacity by 10 percent.

The funds for the purchase will be drawn almost entirely from U-M Health System reserves— money that has been set aside over the years to meet emerging strategic needs. The university's investment proceeds will fund the rest of the purchase of the property. Renovation and operating costs will be borne by the Health System and by other university units whose researchers and staff will occupy the campus. No state taxpayer or tuition dollars will be used to fund this purchase.

A strategic planning process, begun earlier this year, will determine how the new campus will be put to use, and how existing space on the medical, main and north campuses will be repurposed as some functions move to the new campus. U-M leased space for related administrative functions also will be examined to allow for the most efficient use of resources.

The purchase of the Pfizer property is the university’s largest since 1950, when U-M bought 300 acres to develop what is today North Campus. U-M originally owned the majority of the land contained in the purchase, and sold some of it to the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company in 1957. Parke-Davis, a division of Warner-Lambert, became part of Pfizer in 2000. U-M sold the additional land to Pfizer in 2002, with a right to purchase that parcel if Pfizer ever decided to sell it.

More information on the campus, and on the process to plan for its use, is available at www.umresearchgrowth.org.