The Long Goodbye: as Drug Giant Roche Exits Nutley, What Comes Next for Sprawling Site?

Published: Jan 14, 2013

There have been company-sponsored career fairs, resume writing classes and job placement counselors for Roche employees following the Swiss drugmaker’s June announcement that it will shutter its Nutley clinical research center and lay off 1,000 workers. In the six months since that bombshell, shock has given way to the nuts and bolts reality of winding down what had been until recently U.S. headquarters for the largest maker of cancer drugs. For Roche, which once employed 10,000 people on the Nutley campus that straddles Clifton, officials have set a time line to cease all operations by year’s end and sell the 119-acre property by 2015. But relinquishing the sprawling space it has occupied since 1929 will be a labor intensive process and the decision about what comes next, local officials say, will have lasting effects on their communities. Here’s what has happened since Roche announced its planned move: • The drugmaker has received numerous offers from interested developers but officials said they are committed to working closely with the towns before any deal is done. • *Nutley and Clifton have begun soliciting potential developers to provide recommendations for the site’s future, though the ultimate decision rests with Roche, the property owner. • Roche has committed to leaving nearly all 40 of its buildings intact “for the near term,” Wilson said, maintaining the current tax rate. • Roche continues its environmental remediation on the property, said spokeswoman Darien Wilson. While the company is still operating there, the focus now is on shutting down the site.

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