Forest Laboratories Selling Commack Building

Forest Laboratories Selling Commack Building

Drugmaker Forest Laboratories Inc. is selling its cavernous building in Commack, a company official confirmed.

The Manhattan-based manufacturer of branded-prescription medicines used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, depression and other ailments has put 500 Commack Rd. on the market for $45 million, according to a flier advertising the building. The move comes after Forest has spent millions of dollars to convert the building from a packaging plant to offices and laboratories, as part of a plan to consolidate nine properties in Suffolk County. Work on the conversion was recently stopped.

In addition, Forest agreed in February to be purchased by another industry leader, Actavis Plc of Dublin, Ireland for $25 billion.

“Following a full evaluation of our space requirements on Long Island, and taking into consideration recent head count changes and cost reduction objectives, Forest has made the decision to exit our 500 Commack Rd. facility by about spring of 2015,” company spokeswoman Amanda Kaufman said Thursday night.

She also said 100 people work in the building and that its sale “does not have any impact on head count nor is it indicative of any future plans related to employment.”

Forest has more than 600 workers locally out of 5,800 across the globe. In December 2013, the company embarked on a “rejuvenation” plan that officials said would reduce its Suffolk payroll between 10 and 20 percent.

The Commack Road building, which sits right off the Northern State Parkway, has more than 400,000 square feet of office, warehousing, manufacturing and laboratory space and sits on 33.8 acres of land, according to a sale listing.

Besides the Commack Road building, the drugmaker owns two other offices in Commack, totaling 123,000 square feet, and two offices in Hauppauge, totaling 135,000 square feet, according to a securities filing.

The spokeswoman said Friday that Forest sold a another 180,000-square-foot building, also in Commack, in the past year. That space had been rented to other businesses.
Forest, saying it no longer needed 945,000 square feet in Suffolk, sought help from governments in 2010-11 to consolidate and modernize its operation.
The $40-million plan was backed by $3.3 million in state tax credits from Empire State Development, New York’s primary business aid agency, and $2.2 million in tax breaks from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency. In return for the aid, Forest promised to add 10 jobs to its local payroll. The company had threatened to leave for Missouri, New Jersey or Ohio.
Forest is the most high profile of two-dozen or so drugmakers in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Founded in 1956, the company spent its early years in Inwood, pioneering the technology that slowly releases a drug into the body, and developed branded prescription drugs. It is known for Bystolic, which treats high blood pressure, and Teflaro, a remedy for skin infections. The business began moving operations from Inwood to Suffolk in the 1990s.

Forest had a profit of $165 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. Sales totaled $3.6 billion.