Stories indexed with the term ‘Pfizer’

UM, Pfizer Cross the Ts in Property Sale

The momentous mixed with the mundane on Tuesday, as a phalanx of attorneys and real estate professionals converged on the Washtenaw County Clerk/Register of Deeds office to file paperwork for Pfizer’s sale of its Ann Arbor property to the University of Michigan.

At the counter of the county clerks office on Main Street,

From right: At the counter of the county clerk’s office on Main Street, senior clerk Susan Bracken Case reviews documents from UM’s purchase of the Pfizer property, while chief deputy clerk Jim Dries, Liberty Title co-president Tom Richardson and Liberty Title vice president Matt Keir look on.

Because documents for the sale of Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds were also filed that day in a separate transaction – a coincidence of timing – it marked the largest amount of transfer tax ever recorded in a single day for the county. Neither the purchase prices nor the taxes paid for those deals were disclosed. (See the end of this article for more information about how the real estate transfer tax works.) But for the Pfizer sale, the check received by the county was enough to make senior clerk Susan Bracken Case gasp, then grin. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Reaches Tax Settlement with Pfizer

Local governments are one step closer to knowing the impact of a tax appeal that Pfizer is pursuing – and while the news isn’t great, it could have been worse.

Last year, Pfizer contested the assessed value that the city of Ann Arbor set for the drugmaker’s former research campus here. Pfizer, which closed its massive local R&D operation last year, argued that its Ann Arbor properties should be given a dramatically lower assessment – less than half of the value assigned by the city for 2008 and 2009.

A settlement reached earlier this month between Pfizer and the city of Ann Arbor is a compromise that’s now being reviewed by the Michigan Tax Tribunal. It lowers Pfizer’s assessment for 2008 and 2009, but not by as much as Pfizer requested. If approved, it will represent a total loss of roughly $10 million in tax revenues over the tw0-year period for all local entities that received taxes from Pfizer, including the city, Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Washtenaw Community College and the Ann Arbor District Library. The tribunal is expected to make a ruling in the next few weeks, and is expected to approve the deal. [Full Story]

UM Makes Plans for Pfizer Research Campus

Jim Bell, center, chief administrative officer for the UM Medical School, chats with Marvin Parnes, right, associate vice president for research and executive director of research administration, and John Ballew, executive vice president for medical affairs.

Jim Bell, center, chief administrative officer for the UM Medical School, chats with Marvin Parnes, right, associate vice president for research and executive director of research administration, and John Ballew, director of UM Health System facilities planning. They were awaiting the start of Tuesday's forum on possible uses for the Pfizer research campus.

Jim Woolliscroft was Harlan Hatcher’s personal physician, and near the end of the former University of Michigan president’s life, Woolliscroft made house calls to check in on him. That gave them time to talk. And one of the things they talked about was UM’s purchase of the property that became North Campus.

Hatcher told Woolliscroft that when UM leaders decided to buy the 800 acres of farmland north of Ann Arbor, they didn’t know exactly how they’d use it – but they knew it would transform the university.

Woolliscroft, dean of the UM Medical School, told that anecdote Tuesday afternoon to the 100 or so people gathered at a forum on the future of the Pfizer research campus, which UM is in the process of acquiring. This purchase isn’t quite as bold as the one made in the early 1950s, Woolliscroft said, but its potential to transform in unimaginable ways is great: “That opportunity is phenomenal.”

The forum was one of three held this year for faculty to talk about how the university will use the former Pfizer facility. Tuesday’s hour-long session focused on process, with administrators outlining just how they’ll go about deciding what academic research or other activities are located at the site. [Full Story]

UM Plans Research Hub at Former Pfizer Site

Pfizer bought by UM: Snow Angel

Pfizer's Plymouth Road facility is largely vacated, except for the occasional snow angel.

Word about the University of Michigan’s plans to buy the former Pfizer research site had leaked out much earlier in the day, but UM regents waited until the end of their regular Thursday afternoon meeting before making it formal: The university will spend $108 million to buy the roughly 174-acre Plymouth Road complex, with plans to transform it into a major medical and scientific research hub. In the long term, university officials hope to add 2,000 jobs to the local economy over 10 years. But in the short term, the deal will take millions of dollars off the tax rolls for local governments at a time when they’re already anticipating budget shortfalls. [Full Story]

UM Purchases Pfizer Site

Details are scant, but UM has scheduled a major announcement to be made at this afternoon’s regents meeting: UM will purchase the former Pfizer site.

Reaction to the news from Ward 5 councilmember Carsten Hohnke was unambiguous: “The impact of removing $1.5 million from our tax rolls can not be overstated. I’m extremely disappointed that the University could not find a way to be a more creative and equitable partner with the city in this.”

A Place for Petanque in Ann Arbor?

“Oooh, shiny!” exclaimed Howard Ando and Jane Wilkinson when we unveiled our set of six petanque boules, scarcely used over a decade since they were purchased.


Petanque boules (shiny metal) bracket the cochonnet, or jack, on Howard Ando and Jane Wilkinson's court.

The couple’s own set of metal boules were dull with the wear of frequent play on the gravel surface typical for petanque. Over the last two years, much of that play has come on the rectangle of gravel in the side yard of the couple’s Ypsilanti home, just west of the Eastern Michigan University campus.

After seeing the game played during their visits to France, they developed a passion for it that led them to have their own court constructed. And now they’d like to invest in petanque for the public – they’ve offered to pony up the cash for a facility in Burns Park. A public meeting to discuss the potential facility will be held on Monday, Nov. 17 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Senior Center at Burns Park. [Full Story]