Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The broken eggs speak

After a very-very-cheery article about the former Ann Arbor site in the Ann Arbor Observer, someone writes in: 
To the Observer: 
We were a Pfizer family, and it stung a little to read the joyous message of good fortune described in the article about the U of M takeover of the old Pfizer site ("From Crisis to Opportunity," April). It is good that something productive came from something painful. And I know the story was not about what happened to the employees, families and contractors who were fired, relocated, and in some cases devastated by the sudden closure and aftermath. 
Yet it was hard to embrace the happiness and enthusiasm of the U of M representatives quoted in the article, and not think of the pain many people went through. It just would've been nice to balance, temper, the joy with a little consideration for readers like our family who were brought to our knees by the whole event, and found a way to get back up again. It took a long time, and we did not profit. 
Suzanne Bayer 
Too true. 


  1. Sideline ChemistMay 6, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    I feel the letter writer's pain. The UofM profited enormously from Pfizer's site closure. I actually strongly question some of the U's numbers. I recall that Pfizer paid far more than $27 million for all of the land that they purchased from the U and believe that the U actually came out either on top or just slightly even when they re-purchased the land. I'm recalling that one transaction was in the $27 million range, but there were several additional transactions that are not being counted. Add in the buildings' value and you can understand the glee of the UofM officials. Rarely in the history of land transactions do you get paid to sell the land to someone and then get paid again to "buy" it back.

    I'm glad that those buildings are no longer standing empty and some good use is coming from them (beyond serving as movie film sets). I only wish that the U had acted more quickly and then used their savings to hire more of the scientists that were dumped on the street by Pfizer and forced to leave Ann Arbor is pursuit of careers elsewhere.

  2. @Sideline Chemist--I'm going on memory here (and my memory isn't great), but I remember reading that the administration at Michigan first made an offer more than a year before coming to terms with Pfizer--and that Pfizer laughed off at least the first offer.

  3. UGH - I feel their pain. I worked at a Bay Area company that reorganized and got rid of its research division (which I was in) and spun off its equipment division. In my current job (which I moved across the country for) I use equipment from the spinoff and happened to go to the users conference a few weeks ago. I was eating dinner with a post-spinoff hire, who made a comment about how no one was majorly impacted by the reorg. My former coworkers and I were like "Wait, whut?!?!" People forget that chemists can't always find another job and not have to move.