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Bayer picks Whippany, will consolidate operations at former Alcatel-Lucent site

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About 2,500 Bayer HealthCare employees could begin to move as soon as 2013 to the former Alcatel-Lucent campus in Hanover, which the pharmaceutical maker has picked as the site of its new East Coast headquarters, a company spokeswoman said.

Under a deal completed this week, the Germany-based company will buy 95 acres of the 194-acre site to renovate and reconstruct several buildings, Hanover Mayor John Sheridan said Thursday. Employees from Bayer's facilities in Morristown, Wayne and Montville, along with Tarrytown, N.Y., will be consolidated to the campus, at 67 Whippany Road, in the township's Whippany section.

The 1.35 million-square-foot property was left vacant in 2009 after a merger between telecommunications companies Lucent and Alcatel, which later sent 2,100 employees to a new North American headquarters in New Providence. The 15-building site was bought last December by Rubenstein Partners, a Philadelphia-based private equity firm, and Mountain Lakes-based real estate developer Vision Equities.

Thursday's announcement marks the end to months of negotiations about where Bayer would land, following an announcement in April that it would consolidate its East Coast operations in New Jersey. Sheridan said negotiations between the company and the property owner concluded with the signing of a contract Wednesday night.

Bayer spokeswoman Rose Talarico said the company’s purchase agreement with the current owner is contingent on the “successful completion of the due diligence process,” which includes environmental inspections, permit applications and other steps. Employees would begin to move no earlier than mid-2013, she said.

The relocation means Bayer will become Hanover's top ratable, Sheridan said, ahead of Morristown Municipal Airport, which is located in the township.

Bayer's move to the site will leave about 100 acres still available for redevelopment. Vision Equities and Rubenstein Partners said earlier this year that the site is a "prime candidate" for retail, multifamily and senior-living uses.

Vision Equities declined to comment Friday.

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