Get ready, Pfizer HQ staffers: Youre moving on up to a slick new Spiral skyscraper

16 April 2018

Tracy Staton / FiercePharma

It’s official: Pfizer’s New York headquarters will move to Hudson Yards and its slick new skyscraper, The Spiral. Left behind will be the 42nd Street building Pfizer has called home since 1961, but few employees are likely to be heartbroken when they set up their desks in the new building.

The current HQ is dated and, compared with newly minted pharma digs elsewhere, less than tech savvy. Not so at The Spiral, which is glitzy on the outside and features glass curtain walls and hanging gardens, and is ready for custom-imprinting on the inside. 

News of the potential Hudson Yards move first emerged in the New York Post months ago, and Pfizer said Tuesday it had inked a 20-year lease on 15 floors. No word on which floors, exactly; the new building will boast 65 stories. 

The Post reported last year that Pfizer would take 800,000 square feet in the new building, though Pfizer’s announcement didn’t specify. When its potential headquarters move went public last year, spokeswoman Joan Campion said some of the Manhattan employees may relocate to other facilities in the area, of which Pfizer has several. 

And if the new headquarters follows the pattern of other recent Big Pharma moves and reboots, it’ll try to do more with less space, with ad hoc workstations where employees who aren’t in the office daily can work when they do enter the building. That approach hasn’t been universally popular at other next-gen facilities, however, or so we hear from some roving workers themselves. 

The newer home bases also feature scads of open spaces, designed to mix up staffers who might not normally interact. That’s for innovation purposes. Ideas come from everywhere, or so the thinking goes, but if they don’t get to the right person, they can’t come to fruition.

It sounds as if Pfizer will be going in a similar direction. “In relocating our headquarters, we sought to provide our colleagues a modern, state-of-the-art headquarters that would foster greater collaboration and innovation in a vibrant neighborhood in Manhattan,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s COO, said in Tuesday’s statement. 

Pfizer staffers will have to wait for awhile to look out those windows, however. The first moves are slated for 2022. On the bright side, however, that’ll give employees plenty of time to start training to be ready for lunchtime run; the building links up to the High Line elevated park.

In the meantime, Pfizer is trying to unload that 42nd Street building, with its 34 floors and 1 million square feet of space.

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