Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., an urban office REIT uniquely focused on collaborative life science campuses in AAA innovation cluster locations, recently revealed it has initiated development of the North Tower at the Alexandria Center for Life Science—New York City, with the signing of an amendment to its long-term ground lease with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
The amendment enables Alexandria to begin due diligence, design and permitting on the North Tower, the campus’s third tower, which has been increased from the originally planned 420,000 rentable square feet to up to 550,000 RSF. The Alexandria Center currently comprises 728,000 RSF in the existing East and West Towers, and upon completion of the North Tower, the campus will consist of nearly 1.3 million RSF. This highly amenitized commercial life science cluster campus along the East Side Medical Corridor uniquely enables life science companies at all stages of development to attract and retain the best and brightest scientific talent.
Harvard Professor Michael Porter’s cluster theory defines clusters as geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions that increase productivity, drive innovation and stimulate company formation.
“We have successfully utilized this theory as the foundation for our leading, innovative and proven cluster model, which identifies four critical components for life science clusters to thrive: location, innovation, talent and capital,” said Joel S. Marcus, executive chairman and founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.
“New York City has had a long and deep history of academic and clinical expertise, and Alexandria was the visionary first mover in the development of a commercial life science cluster campus here. Now, eight years into a life science cluster-creation process that traditionally takes 25 years, New York City has emerged as a predominantly early‑stage market where academic and medical institutions are generating medical technologies that can be transferred and commercialized. With about 10,000 diseases known to mankind and only about 500 that have been addressed medically, we are still in the early innings of the biology revolution, and solving disease remains mission critical for managing healthcare costs.”
Alexandria has committed significant expertise and resources to developing and operating the Alexandria Center in New York City, which differs from leading clusters like Cambridge and San Francisco in that it has been and continues to be necessary to nurture startups and seed-stage academic spinouts and to recruit life science tenants to the city. Among its successful efforts, the company has increased seed- and early-stage investment in promising life science startups with the expansion of Accelerator Life Science Partners, a leading life science investment and management firm co-founded by Alexandria, into New York City, as well as with the creation of an innovative funding model catalyzing seed-stage life science investment. Alexandria has also attracted serial life science entrepreneurs, who are vital to new company formation to New York City. Today, the Alexandria Center is home to a broad and growing ecosystem of high-quality entities heavily recruited to New York City, including unique units of multinational pharmaceutical companies, such as Bristol‑Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, Pfizer Inc. and Roche; early- and growth-stage companies, such as Intra-Cellular Therapies, Inc., Kallyope Inc. and MeiraGTx Holdings plc; and Lodo Therapeutics Corporation and Petra Pharma Corporation, both launched by Accelerator Life Science Partners.
“Our focus for the North Tower, which fits very well with the goals set forth by the NYCEDC and Mayor de Blasio’s administration, will be to further expand Alexandria’s innovative proprietary product offerings in this cluster,” said John H. Cunningham, executive vice president and New York City regional market director at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. “We plan to equip the new North Tower with a combination of office and laboratory step-up space in a highly curated and sustainable environment designed to meet the needs of early-stage companies spinning out of world-class academic and medical institutions, which comprise the majority of demand in New York City.”
The North Tower will feature iconic and inspiring design; collaborative space for scientists at Alexandria LaunchLabs, the premier life science startup platform; significant step-up space; and two venture capital platforms. In addition, Alexandria envisions new campus amenities in the North Tower, including a lively food hall to complement the campus’s existing outstanding amenities, such as Apella® by Alexandria, a state-of-the-art digital conference center and event space; two farm-to-table culinary establishments, Riverpark®, A Tom Colicchio Restaurant, and Little River, an artisanal café; Riverpark Farm®, one of the largest urban farms in the city; FitLab, a fully equipped fitness center; an on-site parking garage and convenient shuttle to and from Penn Station; and an expansive riverfront plaza.
Along with the North Tower development, the company also announced that it has closed on the acquisition of a 177,000 RSF property in Long Island City. Doug Harmon, Adam Spies and Joshua King of Cushman & Wakefield advised Alexandria on the transaction. This strategic acquisition provides Alexandria with the opportunity to redevelop the property into highly flexible and amenity-rich life science step-up space. With the development of the North Tower at the Alexandria Center, the redevelopment of the Long Island City acquisition and the future redevelopment or development of at least 593,000 RSF at the recently acquired 219 East 42nd Street, which is currently occupied by Pfizer Inc., Alexandria has created an approximately 1.3 million RSF pipeline in New York City. Combined with its current operating properties, Alexandria’s New York City asset base aggregates over 2 million RSF, uniquely positioning the company to meet the future needs of the emerging New York City life science cluster.