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Sheffield Pharmaceuticals expanding to Norwich

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Norwich — Sheffield Pharmaceuticals of New London has purchased the former Decorative Screen Printing building at 9 Wisconsin Ave. in the Stanley Israelite Norwich Business Park for $3.7 million to expand its warehouse, distribution and office operations, company officials said Monday.

Sheffield purchased the recently renovated building under the name Norwich Warehouse LLC of 170 Broad St., New London, from previous owner Tentech LLC, according to documents in the Norwich city clerk’s office. Tentech had purchased the building in 2012 and embarked on an extensive renovation to put it back on the market.

Tentech is financing the deal with a $3.3 million mortgage, with the new owner listed as “Norwich Warehouse LLC, by Sheffield Pharmaceuticals LLC, its sole member.” The transaction generated $18,500 for the city clerk’s office in property conveyance taxes.

Sheffield Chief Operating Officer Jeff Davis could not be reached to comment Monday. In a press release issued by the Norwich Community Development Corp., Davis said the company will not be moving out of New London, but expanding to Norwich.

“Sheffield Pharmaceuticals is proud to be creating more U.S. manufacturing jobs,” Davis said in the press release. “Our transition to the Norwich warehouse solves a long-standing logistical problem for us and is absolutely required to support the complexities of supplying our customers and their 60,000 U.S. retail outlets. This move will add jobs in both Norwich and New London.”

Davis noted that Sheffield will continue to manufacture all products at its headquarters in New London. NCDC Executive Director Robert Mills said warehouse and distribution and some office operations for the company will be done at the 136,000-square-foot Norwich building to support the New London manufacturing operation.

Mills could not say how many jobs would be generated at the Norwich building.

“We’re thrilled for Norwich,” Mills said. “The property is moving and getting out of the speculator mode and into the user mode. We’re very proud that Sheffield, a long-standing manufacturing company in the region, is expanding to Norwich.”

Norwich Mayor Deberey Hinchey echoed Mills’ comments and welcomed the addition of jobs to the business park. Hinchey also noted that with the sale and plans for the building, the business park is now nearly at full capacity. The owner of Maple Lane Farms in Preston recently purchased another large long-vacant building in the business park and plans to move its juice bottling operation to the building.

Tentech member Ed Block, also of the firm Block and Kahn, said Block and Kahn had invested more than $1 million into the renovation of 9 Wisconsin Ave. after acquiring the building following a complex bankruptcy proceeding. Renovations included environmental cleanup, painting, installing new energy efficient lighting and heating systems.

“We are pleased to see that our investments have paid off and that the renovations were an important consideration for Sheffield to expand to Norwich,” Block said.

Sheffield Pharmaceuticals’ factory at 170 Broad St., New London, manufactures a wide range of over-the-counter pharmaceutical creams, ointments and toothpaste. The company employs about 200 people, according to its website.

The company was founded in 1850 as Sheffield Tube and has been a mainstay of New London manufacturing for more than 160 years. The company received a certificate of appreciation from the City Council last January for its contributions to economic development in New London.

The Faria family bought the company in 1986 and “redefined the core business” to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals as a contract manufacturer. The factory is home to the Dr. Sheffield and Lee brand products.

Last spring, however, former president and CEO Thomas H. Faria resigned and pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Water Act for knowingly discharging untreated industrial wastewater in the city sewage treatment plant from 1986 to 2011.

Davis, a longtime company employee, was named chief operating officer in February. He apologized for the company’s violations and pledged a new direction.

“We are 1000% committed to obeying all environmental and legal regulations,” Davis said in a statement in July. “As we continue to grow Sheffield, and its Connecticut workforce, our goal is to provide high-quality and ethical healthcare products that reduce suffering. To attain our goals, we must embody the highest standards of good corporate citizenship.”

c.bessette@theday.com

Twitter: @Bessettetheday

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