An international pharmaceutical company’s plans to build a large distribution center on the site of the Island Green golf course along Red Lion Road are on hold as the drug maker’s new top management reviews the project.
The administration of Mayor Michael Nutter, who viewed Israel-based Teva’s plans as the city biggest economic development project, is in wait-and-see mode.
Since fall 2010, Teva executives and local public officials had said they expected the company’s new eight-story facility to be opened by mid-2013. There was a groundbreaking in September 2011. But now, it’s fairly obvious that date is no longer relevant.
According to a company spokeswoman, there have been some changes at Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Specifically, the maker of one in six generic drugs has a new board and a new boss.
“Our board of directors and our new CEO need to approve the site development,” spokeswoman Denise Bradley stated in a late May e-mail to the Northeast Times. “As you know, our CEO, Jeremy Levin, just took over the office on May 10.”
Levin replaced Shlomo Yanai, who retired.
Bradley said the company’s new managers will discuss Teva’s plans for 1 Red Lion Road at an upcoming board meeting. When that will be is hard to say. The company, Bradley said, does not announce board meeting dates.
Does the city have any worries as the months progress and nothing is happening at the now closed 136-acre Somerton golf course?
“Our posture is that we have a deal and a groundbreaking,” Nutter’s spokesman, Mark McDonald, stated in an e-mail to the Northeast Times. “While it obviously has been delayed, we are hopeful that actual construction will start soon after the company completes the internal review that appears to be under way.”
In late October 2010, the city and state officials along with company executives announced a deal to build an eight-story facility on the land that was once the Budd Co. Lots of happy politicians smiled for cameras in City Hall as they talked about the millions of government dollars and tax breaks Teva was getting because it chose Philly.
The company, whose North American headquarters are in North Wales, Montgomery County, had been looking to consolidate its Kutztown, Pa., and New Britain, Pa., distribution points in Warrington, Bucks County, before choosing the Northeast Philly site.
During the September 2011 groundbreaking on the Red Lion Road property almost a year later, Nutter said the Teva facility would mean great things for the city.
City and state officials said the company would spend $300 million to build and equip the 1.1 million-square foot distribution center. The project is expected to bring up to 600 construction jobs to the city as well as 400 permanent positions when it opens. About 250 trucks per day are expected, too.
So far, though, the biggest amount of money actually spent has been in acquiring the land. Teva bought the property in mid-August 2011 for about $40 million.