WALLINGFORD — Razing the former Bristol-Myers Squibb building looks more like a certainty after a Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing this week.
Bristol-Myers first announced in 2015 that it planned to leave Wallingford, and its 915,000-square foot research and development facility at 5 Research Parkway.
Calare Properties, a Massachusetts-based real estate firm, purchased the approximately 180-acre property in February for $5 million. The property is valued at nearly 10 times that amount, according to the town’s assessment.
Bristol-Myers agreed to lease the building for the rest of the year, after which demolition would begin if Calare hasn’t secured a tenant.
A Calare representative said Thursday that while the company is pursuing the demolition option, it’s still open to selling and will be until the building comes down.
The parcel contains the BMS headquarters and power plant, which would be demolished and replaced with two warehouses that total more than 1 million square feet. The total developed space would cover about 80 acres, with the other 100 left undeveloped.
At Wednesday night’s public hearing, BL Companies provided renderings to the PZC.
Warehouse No. 1 would be 641,725 square feet, have 488 parking spaces, 142 trailer stalls and 136 loading docks. Warehouse No. 2 would be 459,800 square feet, have 482 spaces, 101 trailer spaces and 108 loading docks.
An entrance on Research Parkway would be maintained for cars and trucks, and an additional entrance would be built on Carpenter Lane.
The existing ponds would be drained down and a new main pond built out as a permanent catch basin.
Landscaping would include buffering trees along the perimeters and shade trees throughout the site.
Because the developers would need to level the hillside through a cut-and-fill process to build the warehouses on flat land, they may need to blast if they encounter rock.
Commission member James Fitzsimmons brought up several concerns, including signage on the building, hours of operation, truck traffic distribution and noise from trucks and loudspeakers.
Commission member Jeffrey Kohan asked if the demolition of the BMS building could be done in an environmentally friendly way, and suggested it might be a condition of approval.
The commission took no action Wednesday, because the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission hasn’t voted on the erosion and sediment control plan yet.