Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brooklyn Group Bids To Buy Vacant Pfizer Property For Affordable Housing

Community groups are making a $10 million bid to buy up drug giant Pfizer’s last property in Williamsburg - and build hundreds of affordable apartments on the vacant industrial land. The property in Williamsburg’s Broadway Triangle has been empty since Pfizer closed its plant in 2008 - laying off hundreds of workers and pulling out of Brooklyn after a 159-year history.

The land languished for several years until Pfizer put it up for sale in December, and now six local groups say they could build 840 apartments there.

Pfizer sold the rest of its property including the plant itself last year to Acumen Capital Partners, which has been renting space to many local food companies - making everything from pickles to ice cream.

However, the drug giant angered some local politicians by backing off what they said was a promise to donate the property to be redeveloped as affordable housing, which Pfizer denied. Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez introduced a bill to seize their land by eminent domain, but the effort failed.

The community groups decided to try to work with Pfizer to buy the land on the open

The property is part of a swath of land around Williamsburg’s Broadway Triangle, on the border of Bedford Stuyvesant that has been mostly barren for years. The city launched a plan to build housing on an adjacent site, but it was blocked by a court after local groups sued charging the housing would favor Hasidic families over blacks and Latinos.

The groups bidding for the Pfizer property say their plan “will ensure a balanced economic, racial and religious community.”