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State Bond Commission approves funds to repurpose two Pfizer buildings, start bioscience center

By Johanna Somers

Publication: theday.com

Published February 28. 2014 1:00PM   Updated March 01. 2014 12:13AM

Hartford — The State Bond Commission allocated funds Friday to repurpose two buildings on Pfizer Inc.'s Groton campus, create a bioscience center in one of those buildings, and improve Norwich's wastewater treatment plant and public housing.

The Bond Commission also allocated $200 million for the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund and funds for technical schools.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the administration would be providing more detail on its plans for the Pfizer property and the greater Groton and New London area in the future.

"Suffice it to say that we have reached some agreements with Pfizer about acquisition of properties that will allow us to move facilities there and in part pick up some of the slack that has been caused by Pfizer's previously downsizing of their operations in the region," Malloy said.

The administration and local legislators have been trying to salvage some of Pfizer's empty buildings since it got rid of hundreds of jobs in 2011. The reuse of the buildings and creation of a bioscience center will help retain and attract information technology and biotechnology jobs, said state Rep. Elissa Wright, D-Groton.

Connecticut United for Research Excellence is scheduled to receive a $4.2 million grant to establish a Bioscience Innovation Center on the Pfizer campus at Building 286. The funds are for improvements, planning, programming and operational costs. The group received $365,000 previously from the state for this project.

The state is planning to relocate its data center to Groton from East Hartford to reduce the cost of leasing space. The Bond Commission allocated $18.3 million for the development of the state's Bureau of Enterprise Systems and Technology data center at Pfizer's Building 230. Funds are for interior cabling and mechanical modifications, high-speed connections between locations, data center equipment and relocation costs.

Norwich's wastewater treatment plant along with wastewater treatment plants in Hartford, Rocky Hill, Middletown, New Haven and Bristol are scheduled to receive $277 million in grants and loans.

"We want to build on our historic commitment to clean water with a strong new round of funding for these projects, which will improve our environment and enhance our communities while putting our citizens to work designing and constructing facilities," Malloy said.

Norwich will be getting funds to improve denitrification at its plant.

The Bond Commission allocated $375,000 for the Norwich Housing Authority for Sunset Park, rental units off Elizabeth Street Extension.

Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School in Groton and Windham Technical High School in Willimantic were approved to receive $267,710 to finance the design of fat, oil and grease separators at the technical high school systems.

The $200 million in bonds for the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund will be distributed over 10 years and is for small businesses, individual researchers and universities to bid on for bioscience projects and commercialization.

In total, the Bond Commission allocated $798 million in general obligation bonds and revenue bonds.

j.somers@theday.com

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