VOL. 10 | NO. 42 | Saturday, October 14, 2017
Pfizer Seeks Incentives to Retain Financial Services Operations in Memphis
Daily News staff
Admitting that its workforce in Memphis has been declining due to technology and business changes, pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. is seeking a 14-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive from the city and county to retain its finance and accounting operations in Memphis with a “stabilized” workforce of about 250 workers.
Pfizer said it is looking to move its Global Financial Services operations from Lenox Park to 58,000 square feet in Boyle Investment Co.’s Ridgeway Center and wants to retain its distribution operation in Shelby Oaks where it has operated since 1994, according to its PILOT application with the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County.
The EDGE board meets Wednesday, Oct. 18, to consider Pfizer’s expansion PILOT request and other applications, include a PILOT request from Amazon.com for a distribution facility in Southeast Memphis that would exceed 600,000 square feet.
Boyle is representing Pfizer in its latest request for incentives and Pfizer said it is considering moving the financial operations to Germantown or another location outside Memphis if the PILOT is not granted.
Pfizer touts its longstanding presence in Memphis and the fact that it has created 415 jobs in this market across its financial and distribution facilities.
EDGE's predecessor, the Industrial Development Board, awarded Pfizer a 10-year PILOT in 2001 to expand finance operations, with the company committing to add 226 jobs to the 116 employed there at the time. By 2009, Pfizer's workforce stood at 305, and the company was awarded another 13-year PILOT by committing to create 130 more jobs.
The GFS operations employed 426 workers at its peak in 2013, but that dropped to 296 by the end of 2016, according to a compliance report the company filed with EDGE in June. The company expects the headcount to stablize at 250 GFS jobs in fiscal 2018, Pfizer’s application says, paying an average salary of $88,776 without benefits and $125,707 with benefits factored in.
Since Pfizer did not meet the stated job obligations for its 2009 PILOT agreement, it caused the company to exercise the purchase option under the real property PILOT lease agreement for that 2009 PILOT as of Dec. 31. As a result, the real property used for the 2009 PILOT will be subject to full taxation by the city and the county and Pfizer will pay back $257,774 in real property tax savings it received for the 2015 ($128,902) and 2016 ($128,872) tax years, the application says.
Boyle's new Ridgeway Center building is a $20 million, 155,000-square-foot project at 949 S. Shady Grove Road. Pinnacle Financial Partners signed on as an anchor tenant in July 2016 and said it will make the 35,000-square-foot space its Memphis headquarters.