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Pfizer sells Kent R&D centre to property consortium

Discovery Park Ltd takes over site 18 months after US pharma firm announced plans to exit it

Pfizer discovery park sandwich kent

Pfizer has sold its former R&D centre in Sandwich, Kent to Discovery Park Limited for an undisclosed sum after talks with another property consortium fell through in May.

The new deal comes a year and half after Pfizer announced it was to shut down operations at the facility, which employed 2,400 people and developed erectile dysfunction drug Viagra in the 1990s.

It was later announced that not all employees would lose their jobs, with 650 workers to be retained at the site, and 250 transferred to other Pfizer R&D sites.

Pfizer said in January it was in advanced talks with a property consortium led by London & Metropolitan for the sales of the research facility, but these concluded in May without a deal being reached. 

The new agreement with Discovery Park will see the consortium take over 297 acres of offices, laboratories, warehouses and parkland, while Pfizer will retain some operations having taken out a lease for some sections of the Park.

Discovery Park was set up purposely to buy the site by property developers Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave, along with Palmer Capital.

Cartner and Musgrave have previous experience in developing business parks, having transformed Samsung's old site in Wynard Park, and have appointed Paul Barber to manage the park.

Barber said: “This is an exciting project for me and our whole team. We look forward to working with Kent County Council, Locate in Kent and central and local government to secure the long term future of this site.

"We have received several enquiries from companies looking to locate to this site and we will progress these with extreme vigour."

Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, told Kent News she was “thrilled” at the job opportunities the sale would bring.

“After hearing that the new owners have already had a number of enquiries from companies looking to move to Sandwich, I am very confident that many new jobs will be created. This is very exciting for the local community and should see the start of further investment into the area. Sandwich is a great place to do business and I am sure this will be a huge success.”

Kent Country Council leader Paul Carter, who was asked by Science Minister David Willetts MP to head the Task Force, said: "There are now around 1,000 people employed on the site. 

“We look forward to working with the new owners of Discovery Park to develop intelligent proposals to further improve the area's attractiveness and draw in new life-sciences firms.”

3rd August 2012

From: Research

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