Friday, July 30, 2010

IMS rents empty Wyeth site; suburban landlord may build in 2011

"IMS Health Inc., a Connecticut-based drug data management company, is consolidating 1,000 workers, from buildings it owns at 660 Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, and other space in Blue Bell, to smaller quarters in the Highview I and II buildings at the Providence Corporate Center, Collegeville.

The Highview buildings were left vacant when drugmaker Pfizer Inc. bought Wyeth last year and cancelled plans to expand Wyeth's neighboring research and development site. IMS's lease allows Pfizer to "buy out of" Wyeth Pharmaceutical Co. leases that expired Dec. 31 and in 2013, Stephen Spaeder, senior vice president at landlord and builder BPG Properties Ltd., which built and owns Highview, told me.

Spaeder said IMS is paying modest initial rents in the mid-$20s per square foot per year. IMS's old buildings totalled 212,000 square feet; the Highview complex totals 150,000. IMS will likely sell the old buildings, spokesman Gary Gatyas told me. The move allows IMS to put more of its workers in one "campus-like" location at "highly competitive" terms, Bill Nelligan, president of IMS Health's Americas division, said in a statement.

"The market has been thin," Spaeder said, "but this came together quickly because there's so few large blocks of existing space." Spaeder said a few other suburban tenants - the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Broadview Networks, Quest Diagnostics, and drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline - are all close to settling new leases of 100,000 square feet or more in the King of Prussia area "in the $20s and low $30s (per square foot) range."

If tenants that size keep signing new leases, Spaeder added, "in early 2011 a couple of us are going to be able to start new buildings."

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