WESTBORO – A Framingham-based real estate investment firm has purchased the former AstraZeneca property at 50 Otis St.
The England-based bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, once a key employer and the top taxpayer in town, closed at the end of 2016, costing more than 100 employees their jobs. AstraZeneca at one time employed more than 800 people at the Otis Street plant.
Atlantic Management Corp., located at 205 Newbury St. in Framingham, purchased the 66-acre property in December for $6.5 million.
Town Manager James Malloy said Joseph Zink, president of the 45-year-old real estate investment company, contacted him two or three weeks ago to let him know of the purchase and that he is beginning to do some marketing. Mr. Malloy said Atlantic Management has shown the property to a large biotech company.
“We’re hopeful,” Mr. Molloy said Tuesday. “It would be great to see that facility occupied again or redeveloped in some manner. I think the type of developer we have in there is the type we’ll probably see something sooner rather than later.”
Mr. Zink did not readily return a phone call seeking a comment.
In 2004, AstraZeneca’s facility ran 24 hours a day producing Pulmicort, an inhaled asthma medication for children. It employed 850 employees at the plant. The company was the town’s largest taxpayer, contributing $2 million annually in real estate and personal property taxes. The town has continued to receive property taxes for the company’s buildings and land, which are valued at about $19 million. However, the biggest chunk of the town’s revenue came from the personal property, including the equipment, which was valued at more than $83 million.
Mr. Molloy said the town will get the first big hit from the loss of the personal property tax in fiscal 2018, which begins July 1.
He said AstraZeneca was also a huge water and sewer consumer. The rates increased by 5 to 7 percent to make up for that loss, he said.
According to its website, Atlantic Management “has a successful track record of redeveloping outdated suburban office parks into market responsive, lively corporate campuses.” The company owns dozens of commercial real estate properties, including the former 109-acre Hewlett-Packard manufacturing plant in Marlboro. Atlantic Management purchased the vacant facility in 2012 for $9 million.
The company worked with the city, along with Marlboro Economic Development Corporation, to complete a mixed-use overlay zoning district along with a master development agreement. The company’s plan was to invest $200 million on the site, which has been renamed Marlborough Hills.
So far, a 163-room Hilton Garden Inn, a 350-unit Avalon Bay apartment complex, and a 10,000-square-foot day care center have been constructed. Additional plans call for up to 50,000 square feet of retail space and up to 1.05 million square feet of corporate office, R&D and biotech space.
The two former HP office and lab buildings at 200 Forest St. in Marlboro totaling 750,000 square feet have been redeveloped and are now home to GE Healthcare’s U.S. headquarters, Quest Diagnostics, and Whole Foods corporate offices.
Meredith Harris of the Marlboro Economic Development Corp. said her agency and the city have “thoroughly enjoyed working with Atlantic Management.”
“They were able to breathe new life into the old HP site and transform it into a vibrant and thriving area of the city,” she sai