For Brooklyn’s unemployed factory workers — this pill is easy to swallow.
Global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer sold its defunct Flushing Avenue manufacturing plant this week to Acumen Capital Partners, a Queens-based development company that says it will turn the site into a hub of working industry.
Pfizer spokesman Christopher Loder called the sale a “very positive step forward” toward bringing jobs to Williamsburg — but the deal does not include several Pfizer-owned vacant lots that have long been discussed for housing development.
For that reason, Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Williamsburg) said he was “very disappointed” — and told the New York Post that he would renew his bid to seize several Pfizer-owned lots through eminent domain.
But on Monday, Brooklyn’s business leaders hailed the sale of at least part of the site.
“In order to stay competitive, America must return to the days when its industrial base was the envy of the world,” said Borough President Markowitz. “On this Valentine’s Day, Cupid’s arrow — and Acumen’s acumen — are bringing a wellspring of opportunity to the beating heart of Brooklyn.”
The deal ends a frustrating three-year campaign by executives at the Viagra manufacturer to redevelop the site where its corporate headquarters was founded in 1849.
The company manufactured prescription drugs at the site since 1946, but shut down its factory for good in 2007, eliminating 600 jobs.
Pfizer put the plant and its surrounding property on the market — but could not close a deal as the commercial real-estate market floundered and New York’s manufacturing base continued to erode.
Details surrounding the sale remain unclear, but Acumen is known for buying vacant commercial buildings in Queens and transforming them into light manufacturing centers.
In 2008, Acumen bought Long Island City’s Standard Motor Products Building, a building half the size of the 660,000-square-foot Pfizer facility, for $40.6 million. That factory is now home to the Jim Henson Company and a rooftop garden, ironically called “Brooklyn Grange.”
Calls made to Acumen were not returned by press time.