Sale of ex-Bristol-Myers plant complete

May 3, 2012 Updated May 3, 2012 at 7:08 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

May 3, 2012 Updated May 3, 2012 at 7:08 AM EDT

A California-based real estate investment group has officially become the new owner of the vacant, former Contract Pharmaceuticals plant in Buffalo.

Industrial Realty Group LLC of Downey, Calif., through its Buffalo Niagara Business Park LLC affiliate, paid $4.753 million for the sprawling, nearly 22-acre parcel, according to documents filed in the Erie County Clerk's office. The property had been owned by Mississauga, Ont.-based Contract Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Niagara, who bought in 2005 from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

The sale price included a large inventory of machinery and equipment that is being sold, via on line auctions.

Contract Pharmaceuticals closed the former Westwood Pharmaceuticals Co. plant last year, putting 260 people out of work. It shifted the products made at that plant, including ointments, lotions and creams, to other facilities it owns in Ontario.

Industrial Realty Group is also already marketing the complex to potential tenants, sources said. The company will likely sell or lease sections of the building as individual parcels.

The property was comprised of 19 parcels spread among Forest Avenue, Bradley Street, Dart Street and Danforth Street and included a 486,000-square-foot main plant and a 400 car parking lot. The plant was actually one main building with five additions.

Contract Pharmaceuticals originally was asking $6 million for the property and another $3 million for the equipment when it went on the market last year.

The property has been the site of a pharmaceutical manufacturing operation for five decades, beginning with the Foster-Milburn Co. first opened the Forest Avenue plant in 1962. Westwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. bought the plant in 1973 and it was later sold to Bristol-Myers Squibb. who acquired Westwood in the mid-1980s.

Industrial Realty Group is no stranger to the Buffalo Niagara region. Among the 90 million square feet it owns nationwide, are the former Worthington Compressor plant on Roberts Avenue in Buffalo and the Wheatfield Industrial Park.

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