Pfizer plans to keep plant on Sherwood Avenue

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - They may be leaving Henrico County but it's confirmed today that Pfizer is not leaving Richmond. The announcement comes after Richmond's mayor and the Governor's office struck a deal with the company to save jobs and keep them in the River City.

It's the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company. Pfizer was considering, closing its research and development facility on Sherwood Avenue in favor of a company owned plant in Pennsylvania.

Faced with the prospect of losing more than 300 jobs, the city and state stepped in.  Mayor Dwight Jones said, "When we heard there was some talk of them leaving we got involved and had conversation with them a long with the state, in order to put together the kinds of incentives that would allow them to stay."

Richmond formed a rapid response team and offered what officials are calling, measured, performance based incentives. Peter Chapman, the city's Chief Administrative Officer for Economic and Community Development says, "I can't give you the specifics of it right now, it's not a cash outlay, per say, but it does translate into savings for the company."

A senior economic advisor to Governor Bob McDonnell also wouldn't reveal the amount of incentive offered by the state. He would only say it was a modest tax credit.

According to a Senior Vice President with Pfizer, the incentives were not the only reason for staying.

"Our decision was based on the quality of the site, the importance of the people and the work that they're doing there," said Mark Gelbert. "And for us this was the right decision for our future and the growth that we were looking for."

Mayor Jones indicated, he wants to bring new businesses into the river city, but it's just as important to keep the ones we already have.

"We want to provide the best environment for businesses to be profitable," Jones said. "Because at the end of the day if the businesses are profitable then our city is going to be successful."

The company says it has no plans to expand in the immediate future, but city officials say it's a possibility, when the economy fully turns around.

City Council still has to approve the financial incentive package.

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