Pfizer planning to begin demolition of Groton building

Groton - Pfizer Inc. plans to start structural demolition in August of the first portion of its former research headquarters on Eastern Point Road, according to plans filed with the Groton City Zoning & Building Department.

Documents include a proposed timeline for razing the 750,000-square-foot building and indicate that the company would demolish the structure in parts. No explosives would be used, the documents show.

The project would cost $2.193 million and the company would use Manafort Brothers, Inc., of Plainville as the demolition contractor.

Pfizer submitted a demolition permit on April 17, then additional paperwork on June 5 regarding its plans after Groton City had passed an emergency ordinance.

Project Manager Glen M. Fitzmorris wrote: "In doing so, Pfizer does not in any way recognize or consent to the validity" of the ordinance and added that "Pfizer hereby reserves the right and expresses its intent to challenge directly the foregoing and any other issue" arising from the ordinance.

City Mayor Marian Galbraith said in an email Friday that since the passage of the emergency ordinance, the city asked for and received input from Pfizer and Electric Boat while crafting the permanent ordinance.

The City Council approved the permanent ordinance on Monday.

"We thank both Pfizer and Electric Boat for their input and recommendations," Galbraith wrote. "No objection has been made to the permanent ordinance."

The permanent ordinance creates a 90-day, multistep process governing the proposed demolition of large commercial buildings. It applies to structures larger than 5,000 square feet while expanding and adding implementing language to the emergency ordinance adopted earlier in response to plans by Pfizer to demolish Building 118.

The mayor offered no comment on Pfizer's planned timetable for demolition.

Groton City Building Official Carlton Smith said Friday his office and the fire marshal's office are reviewing plans as they come in. He said he could not comment further.

The proposed timeline shows Pfizer plans "structural demolition" of the first section of Building 118 from Aug. 19 until Sept. 27; the second section from Aug. 26 until Oct. 4; the third section from Sept. 16 until Nov. 8; the main building from Dec. 16 until March 21, 2014; the fifth section from Nov. 11 until Jan. 17, 2014; and the final section from Dec. 16 to April 4, 2014.

Workers would handle site restoration from Feb. 10 to May 2, 2014.

Paperwork also outlines safety precautions the company plans to use. It said the contractor might construct temporary partitions using fire-resistant plastic sheeting, that the automatic sprinkler system would be kept in service "to the fullest extent possible" and that there would be no pedestrian access to the complex except by those involved and local fire officials.

The contractor would also install temporary lighting, the documents said.

"These buildings are all structurally independent and will not be compromised by structural demolition of adjacent buildings," Fitzmorris wrote to Smith.

Pfizer plans to use "high reach" excavators and cranes along with smaller equipment to raze the building, documents showed. Fitzmorris wrote that the general public "will not be exposed to any unfamiliar or greater than normal hazards during the demolition activity," and the site would be separated by two fences.

A letter from Fitzmorris said the company needs to raze the building because it is "functionally obsolete," "grossly oversized" for the market, and would require a significant investment to upgrade. It said the company marketed the project, but could not find a viable developer.


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