There were some naysayers, but James Woolliscroft wasn't one of them.
In fact, the dean of the University of Michigan medical school was quite the opposite, leading a contingent of college officials that thought purchasing the 2.2-million-square-foot Pfizer complex was a smart, albeit aggressive, move.
The 28-building, 174-acre complex was a gamble to be sure: Normally you have enough staff to fill a building, and a stated need for a facility, before the facility comes along. And while the medical school was pinched for space, there were hardly — and still aren't — enough existing bodies or uses to fill the complex.
But at $108 million, the facility was a bargain. Woolliscroft and others predicted that having so much blank space at the school's ready would spur innovation and quicken the pace of research and development growth at the school.
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