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Pfizer Seeking Sale-Leaseback Deal For 340-Acre Collegeville Campus

A portion of Pfizer's campus in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, seen in 2018

With demand for life sciences space in the Philadelphia metropolitan area at unprecedented levels, a potentially massive opportunity to create more has arisen in the area's western suburbs.

Pfizer has put up for sale its 340-acre campus in the Montgomery County borough of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. The campus contains 1.89M SF of existing development with the potential for 1.4M SF in additional construction, according to Cushman & Wakefield, which Pfizer selected to market the property.

Complicating the site's potential future is that Pfizer seeks to remain in the 963K SF it occupies on the campus for at least two more years at a rent of $10 per SF, a full 50% below the area's market rate, PBJ reports. The remaining 928K SF is occupied by Dow Chemical on a lease that runs another six years, with six renewal options of a further six years apiece.

Between Pfizer and Dow Chemical, 1M SF of the Collegeville complex is dedicated to office space, divided among eight buildings, while nearly 730K SF is devoted to labs. A further 105K SF is made up of amenity spaces such as an events center and guesthouse.

Pfizer came into possession of the Collegeville campus when it acquired Wyeth in 2009, and it employed over 2,000 workers there before the pandemic hit, PBJ reports. The New York-based pharmaceutical giant has been in the public spotlight over the last year due to its development with BioNTech of a coronavirus vaccine.

As it considers how to integrate more flexibility between in-person and remote work on a permanent basis, Pfizer is "exploring several options" for the site, a spokesperson told PBJ in an emailed statement. In addition to a sale-leaseback deal, a consolidation and renovation of its Collegeville footprint is on the table.

Collegeville lies over 10 miles northwest of King of Prussia, which is home to the massive Discovery Labs life sciences campus that is partially operational while it continues to renovate and add to its space. While the Pfizer campus has many of the attributes that participants in Philly's blazing hot cell and gene therapy industry are seeking, its relatively remote location could be a hindrance.