The former Pfizer building on Ridge Road in South Brunswick — originally owned by Wyeth Research — has been sold, according to Colliers International New Jersey, which arranged the sale.
The 378,000-square-foot research facility at 865 Ridge Road was purchased by Ridge Road Properties LLC.
The company plans to lease or sell the building, and build a housing development of 508 units on an vacant portion of the property.
The sale price for the property has not been disclosed, according to Christi Mueller, a spokeswoman for Colliers.
The CEO of Ridge Road Properties is Bob King, who teamed with a silent partner to purchase the property, said Mueller.
The Colliers team of Joseph Nitti, executive managing director, and John Kainer, senior managing director, executed the sale on behalf of the buyer, and will also act as the building’s agent.
The Class A building includes 128,000 square feet of laboratory space, a 60,000-square-foot vivarium, and 70,000 square feet of office space. A vivarium is a place where animals or plants are kept under natural conditions for study, and research.
Constructed in the 1950s and then expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, the building was owned by Wyeth Research, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2009. Shortly after the sale, Pfizer announced it was closing the facility, a move that eliminated 450 jobs.
Meanwhile, Ridge Road Properties has talked about plans to construct 238 age-restricted multi-family homes and 270 age-restricted single-family homes on the parcel. Since the tract is zoned commercially, the developer would require a use variance or a rezoning of the property. The application was originally scheduled to be heard on April 10, but the developer has not filed plans with the township.
The project has met with community opposition, including an online petition at www.ipetitions.com/petition/ridge-road-properties-llc addressed to Mayor Frank Gambatese.
“A project of this size and scale will surely change the very fabric of South Brunswick as we know it,” states the petition. “It changes our town from a suburban setting to an urban setting. We all have either moved here or have been living here, away from busy and crowded towns, as South Brunswick offers a tranquil environment to raise families. A project of this magnitude will rob the residents of this very comfort.”
Officials and residents also fear that the residential plan would call for the commercial building to be torn down to make room for the homes. According to the South Brunswick Tax office, the building generated about $1.5 million in tax revenue for the township during its final year of operation.
“Pfizer pays well over $1 million a year in taxes for that building and property so we don’t want to see that torn down,” Gambatese told South Brunswick Patch. “Whoever owns the property has the right to do that, but we would hate to see the loss of that kind of ratable. That would be heartbreaking.”
Gambatese also said he was concerned about the impact of a residential development on the roads. “Near that property on Ridge Road is another 250 homes on Schalks Crossing Road, and then there’s 300 homes near Route 130 and Georges Road, so that’s hundreds of adult community homes we’re talking about. It’s really a question of how many adult community homes do we need.”
“I’m not going to comment on whether this is a good or bad thing, but what they intend to put there, to me, is going to be tough to show as having a positive impact,” he said.