Just 25 miles north of Manhattan in Rockland County, New York, a former pharmaceutical campus is poised to provide just over 2 million square feet of cutting-edge innovation and collaboration space. Attendees of NAIOP’s I.CON: The Industrial Conference were given a tour this week of the site, a former Pfizer research and production facility. Industrial Realty Group (IRG) purchased the property in 2015 with the aim of transforming the 550-acre campus into a dynamic, mixed-use, multi-tenant property that is now known as the New York Center for Innovation.
Tour attendees learned about the significant advances in medicine and public health that have taken place at the site since the early 20th century. Researchers there developed broad-spectrum antibiotics, an advanced polio vaccine and the anti-cancer drug Novantrone. Lederle Labs established the first buildings in 1906 but the property changed owners over the years: American Cyanamid, American Home Products, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer, who purchased the campus in 2009 and still retains 25 acres of office and laboratory space. The campus was once one of Rockland County’s largest employers and generations of local families worked there creating almost a small town within the larger community of Pearl River, New York. Like a small town, the site contains a firehouse and a central utility plant that includes cogeneration, chiller, boiler, water and wastewater treatment facilities.
Currently, some of the buildings are occupied by biotech companies while others, such as a World War II-era solid concrete structure that housed a Centrum Vitamin manufacturing facility and a 63,000-square-foot laboratory/warehouse are vacant. The buildings’ large, open floor plans and the park-like outdoor setting combined with tax incentives have sparked the interest of film and television companies. The site is now certified as a Qualified Film Production Facility and has been featured on a variety of television shows such as “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix), “Gotham” (Fox), and “The Tick” (Amazon).
IRG envisions – through adaptive reuse of existing buildings and new development – bringing back the sense of community that was part of the once-thriving research and manufacturing center. Future uses may include collaborative workspaces as well as dining, shopping and entertainment options. The New York Center for Innovation’s convenient location near New York City, airports, highways, rail and nearby educational institutions and recreational areas could be appealing to companies of all sizes looking to start up, relocate or expand. Additionally, the site’s extensive existing infrastructure, especially the power plant, offers an additional value proposition.
Photo courtesy Industrial Realty Group, LLC and the New York Center for Innovation.
NAIOP’s Vice President for Knowledge and Research Jennifer LeFurgy, Ph.D., directs knowledge and research activities and serves as the Editor in Chief of Development magazine.