L.A. firm buys old Forest Ave. plant site

A Los Angeles-based real estate developer specializing in industrial properties has acquired the former Bristol- Myers Squibb plant in Buffalo in a multimillion-dollar deal.

Industrial Realty Group LLC of Torrance, Calif., bought the 21.86-acre property at 100 Forest Ave. plus all the equipment Friday, according to a news release. The exact price was not disclosed.

The property — including a 486,000-square-foot facility comprising six connected buildings, plus 400 surface parking spaces in a fenced lot —was owned by Contract Pharmaceuticals Limited Niagara, which shut down the plant late last year and moved the work to its main plant in Ontario, cutting 260 jobs.

Mississauga, Ont.-based Contract Pharmaceuticals is a third-party manufacturer of consumer products for Bristol-Myers Squibb and other name-brand and generic drugmakers. The company makes lotions, creams, ointments, liquids and other products. It bought the plant from Bristol-Myers in 2005.

Plans now call for Industrial Realty, which will continue to own the property as an investor, to divide the space and offer individual areas for lease, said Peter Yanson, senior vice president of IRG’s operating division, Quadrelle Realty Services LLC.

“We are looking forward to the unique opportunities this property offers the Western New York market,” Yanson said. “The space is in move-in condition.”

Officials had been showing the property to prospective tenants even before the sale closed. The company hasn’t “signed any leases yet, but we’ve shown it quite a few times,” said Ed Mills, a broker at J.R. Militello Realty, who represented Contract Pharmaceuticals in the deal.

One potential tenant, which would occupy over 100,000 square feet, will know in early April whether it will move forward with a lease, said Mills, who expects a “quick lease-up of the property.”

The total deal includes all the equipment inside the complete liquid and semisolid drug processing and packaging plant, which has “multiple” stainless steel liquid processing rooms, 13 “turnkey” liquid packaging lines, and five metal and hot-air automatic tube-filling lines. There’s also high-speed packaging and labeling, ingredient- weighing, quality-control, lab, facility support and warehouse equipment.

Among the specific items are more than 90 stainless steel-jacketed process tanks, storage tanks, kettles and silos; 13 triple- and double-motion mixing tanks and kettles ranging from 100 gallons to 1,000 gallons in capacity; more than 80 agitated tanks and kettles of as much as 1,500 gallons; and various other silos, tanks, kettles, processors, totes, filtration systems, other equipment, tools and tool cabinets, backup generators, forklifts, pallets and furniture.

The asking price for the plant was $6 million, while the price for the equipment was $3 million, Mills said. He would not disclose the purchase price but said it was less than that.

“We had people from across the country calling on this because of the equipment,” Mills said, noting that some bidders were just interested in the equipment, including more than 20 enormous vats. “There’s so much stainless steel.”

Industrial Realty hired New Mill Capital LLC, a Calabasas, Calif.-based private equity firm that buys and sells extra industrial assets, to conduct a two-day webcast auction of the equipment, totaling more than 2,000 lots. The sale will be held April 18-19, with bidding both on-site and online.

Industrial Realty, which specializes in the reuse of industrial facilities, has more than 90 million square feet of space in its portfolio and has already been active in Western New York. The company currently owns Wheatfield Industrial Park, formerly the Bell Textron plant, and redeveloped the former Worthington Compressor compfalleox on Roberts Avenue in Buffalo.

*Original article can be found at Buffalo Business First