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Pfizer earned $80 billion last year – but officials believe the company is being stingy with property given to the NYC charter.

Pfizer, the drug company, is injecting rejection into charter school students in Brooklyn, according to school authorities. Pfizer is expected to post an industry-record $80 billion in revenue for last year, partly largely to sales of its coronavirus vaccine.

Beginning with Children, one of the city’s original charter schools, seeks to build a high school on an empty lot close to its existing middle-school charter school at 11 Bartlett St. in Williamsburg.

“They’ve had a lot of success,” said Joseph Belluck, chairman of the SUNY Charter School Committee, which approved the extension of Beginning With Children’s high school grades.

The elementary school is located at 215 Heyward St., while the middle school is located on Pfizer-owned property.

However, the charter school owners argue that Pfizer is being greedy by refusing to offer or sell the vacant land to the school for growth, despite the fact that Pfizer’s historic history as one of the world’s leading drug makers began at its Brooklyn location.

“Pfizer made commitments to our school, our families, and our community that they haven’t maintained, and they haven’t explained why,” said Lewson Kurz, CEO of the Beginning With Children Foundation.

Pfizer offered to negotiate a purchase of the vacant lot at fair market value, according to a representative for Beggings for Children, but negotiations were terminated in January.

“Their work on the vaccine is commendable, but their failure to involve the community on this piece of abandoned land is perplexing.” Pfizer’s obstinacy is denying Brooklyn youngsters the chance to succeed. “We hope Pfizer reconsiders its position and does the right thing,” Kurz added.

According to representatives for Beginning with Children, Pfizer offered to negotiate a purchase of the vacant lot at fair market value but ended negotiations in January 2020. The vacant land has been the subject of debate since at least 2008.

The property is an abandoned brownfield site where old structures were demolished in order to clean up the environment.

Local political figures in Brooklyn also expressed their displeasure with Pfizer’s inaction on the property’s use and urged them to be good neighbours.

“The Pfizer property [next to] 11 Bartlett St. is currently an unmaintained, fenced-in eyesore that is out of step with the burgeoning area.” Across the city, unused or abandoned properties are being transformed for the benefit of the community. In an Oct. 22, 2021 letter to Pfizer Executive VP Sally Susman that he co-wrote as a councilman, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso claimed, “There are no shortages of individuals who are interested in developing this site beyond what it is currently being used for.”

“It is our understanding that the Pfizer-owned property also limits the development rights of the Charter School next door, so impeding their expansion and growth as well,” Reynoso said, mentioning affordable housing as a possibility.

In a letter co-signed by former Councilman Stephen Levin, Reynoso said, “For years the community fought to support Pfizer while it functioned there; now we are asking Pfizer to work to support the neighbourhood by allowing the land to be developed.”

Pfizer claimed in a statement to The Washington Post that it has been a good neighbour to the community, particularly students. The corporation stated that in 1992, it leased the current facility and property to BWC charter school for $1 per year and later gave them the title for $10.

Operators of Beginning with Children, one of the first charter schools
The Pfizer facility next to 11 Bartlett St., according to Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, is a “unmaintained, fenced-off eyesore that is out of pace with the thriving community surrounding it.”

“As we prepare for Pfizer’s 175th anniversary, we have been assiduously working on options for the 0.42-acre Bartlett St. site,” the statement read, “recognising that the surviving lot is the last link to the Company’s founding heritage.”

“We intend to keep the last remaining piece of land, and we anticipate presenting our idea for the site with elected officials and the Brooklyn community very soon.”

Joseph and Carol Reich, who also helped build the New York City Charter School Center, founded Beginning with Children.

On the state’s 2019 standardised Math and English exams, BWC pupils outscored students from nearby neighbourhood schools.

Pfizer building

In 1992, Pfizer announced it leased the existing facility and grounds to BWC charter school for $1 a year and later handed them title for $10.

Math proficiency was over two-thirds of the kids, which was 23 percent higher than surrounding district schools and 15 points higher than the citywide average.

In English Language Arts, 52% of students achieved proficiency, which is eight points more than the district average and five points higher than the citywide average.

Pfizer, on the other hand, is predicted to end the year with $80 billion in revenue, up from $40 billion in 2020. COVID-19 vaccination and booster sales accounted for over half of the total revenue.

Pfizer might earn more than $100 billion in 2022 thanks to continued sales of the COVID vaccine created with BioNTech and non-hospitalized patients receiving its antiviral medication, Paxlovid.

Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart, German immigrants and cousins, founded Charles Pfizer & Company in a brick structure in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg area. They founded what would become one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies near the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Bartlett Street. The Flushing Avenue plant’s closure in 2007 was a bitter pill for the neighbourhood.

Pfizer’s Brooklyn factories were essential in producing penicillin antibiotics a century ago, branded the “wonder medication” for treating bacterial infections and sexually transmitted diseases. By the mid-1940s, the business had become the world’s largest producer of the life-saving medicine.

About the author

Akanksha Jain

Akanksha Jain love to learn new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for Startup, Business sections of Editorials99.

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