Northeast Times

Teva center at Read Lion site awaits new review

The drug maker's new CEO and board of dir­ect­ors are re­view­ing the pro­posed dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter.

The once known Is­land Green golf course prop­erty re­mains va­cant, des­pite Teva’s (an in­ter­na­tion­al drug com­pany) plan to build a large dis­trib­ut­ing fa­cil­ity on the land, Tues­day, April 10, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

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.

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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