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ANN ARBOR, MI-The University of Michigan plans to sell 55 acres to drug manufacturer Pfizer Inc. The $27-million transaction will require approval of the U of M board of regents before closing.

A special meeting of the board has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday.

The land sale will allow Pfizer to maintain its Ann Arbor laboratories as a drug discovery facility. The move also represents another step in the development of the Life Sciences Corridor in the state of Michigan, U of M and Pfizer officials say.

The parcel of mostly-vacant land is part of the university’s North Campus, adjacent to Pfizer’s current complex and bounded by Plymouth, Green and Baxter roads.

“We truly appreciate the efforts to ensure that the Pfizer Ann Arbor Laboratories have the land we need to function as a single campus,” says David Canter, Pfizer senior vice president and director, Ann Arbor Laboratories.

University facilities adjacent to the land include the Transportation Research Institute, several administrative services buildings and a commuter parking lot just off of Green Road.

The Environmental Research Institute of Michigan also occupies adjacent property at the corner of Plymouth and Green. The organization, which also has research deals with U of M, is building 84,000 sf of office space on Green Road, about a half a block south of Plymouth Road.

None of those facilities will be affected by the land sale, although one U of M unit responsible for information technology functions will be relocated elsewhere on campus. An Ann Arbor water tower located on the property would remain.

The contract specifies a sale price of approximately $27 million, contingent upon a final survey to determine the exact size of the parcel.

U of M President Lee Bollinger says he has decided to use the money from the sale to support key elements of the University’s Life Sciences Initiative, including expansion of the planned Undergraduate Science Center, the Biomedical Engineering Department in the College of Engineering, and the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Robert Kasdin, U of M executive vice president and chief financial officer, says it is highly unusual for the university to sell a large parcel of land in this fashion.

“We are taking this step because Pfizer’s plans for increasing their research and development in Ann Arbor are precisely in line with our own aspirations for being a leader in biomedical research,” he adds.

Pfizer Inc. discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines for humans and animals, and also makes consumer products.

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