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The Booming Life Sciences Cluster in San Diego Commercial Real Estate: Spotlight BioMed Realty

Hughes Marino Series: San Diego Life Science Pipeline

By Hughes Marino Life Science Team

Fantastic opportunities, advances and transformational discoveries are all occurring in the life sciences ecosystem of Greater San Diego where local companies are conducting leading edge research in genetic sequencing, diabetes, 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs, in-the-doctor’s office diagnostic platforms, pharmaceutical innovations and making impressive progress on the elusive cure for cancer. Ranked #4 in the country as a top performing Biopharma Cluster by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, the region boasts more than 1,225 life sciences companies according to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (SDREDC).

Inside this robust cluster, companies partnering with over 80 research institutions are advancing creative inventions in biotechnologies, pharmaceuticals, biomedical devices and genomics. A dynamic stimulus for San Diego’s economic energy, generating “$33.6 billion in total economic impact” according to SDREDC, the life sciences cluster supports strong job growth, and businesses entering the marketplace are ready to turn research into life changing scientific developments.

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Rendering of Towne Centre courtesy of BioMed Realty.

These 1,000 plus firms and research centers occupy an innovation corridor with a nearly 18 million square foot imprint across the Torrey Pines, University Town Center, and Sorrento Mesa and Sorrento Valley communities.

There is a profound energy in this hub of San Diego life sciences, built on a strong foundation of large-scale players such as: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Celgene, Novartis and Takeda, as well as firms ranging in size from start-up to small and mid-tier firms. “San Diego is very entrepreneurial in the life sciences sphere,” says Kevin Tremblay, Senior Director at BioMed Realty. “We are extremely bullish on the market with the continued support of venture capital and public market sources.”

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Rendering of Apex courtesy of BioMed Realty.

That bullish sentiment is fueling increased occupancy in existing projects and commercial real estate assets, and importantly it is also the engine driving a new wave of developments and site repositioning, poised to deliver millions more square feet to the life science footprint.

A drive through the I-5 and I-805 infrastructure reveals an abundance of exciting activity by the industry’s life science property developers including BioMed Realty.

Many projects are currently taking shape, poised for delivery to the marketplace or in design and entitlement. Approaching 2 million square feet of new Rentable Building Area, BioMed and a handful of other developers are adding capacity swiftly to satisfy user demand. “Our portfolio is evenly mixed with a variety of space sizes and types for tenants,” says Tremblay.

The development posture of BioMed favors an impressive mix of new construction and infill repurpose, with compelling designs.

In this vibrant organic growth environment, firms are taking advantage of strategic spaces to create synergies between research and commercialization teams. “Our properties are balanced between highly functional and efficient lab and office space, coupled with interior and exterior amenities necessary to attract and retain talent,” says Tremblay.

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Rendering of Aura interior courtesy of BioMed Realty.

A tenant looking for redevelopment or new development space has plenty of excellent options available. BioMed is repositioning 81,000 square feet in the Torreyana Science Park. “The project is named Aura with occupancy slated for the 4th Quarter of 2019,” says Tremblay. “This will be a multi-tenant office/lab renovation.”

In total, BioMed is reworking four life science properties with capacity topping 350,000 square feet. “Tenants were coming off long-term leases and we had a chance to get our hands on these properties and bring a modern design,” says Tremblay.

BioMed is currently under construction on the Center for Novel Therapeutics, a three-story building situated on the University of California San Diego’s (UCSD) East Campus at the Science Research Park. “Occupancy will be ready for Quarter 1,” says Tremblay. “The idea here was to support the creation of an ecosystem at UCSD, connecting researchers to entrepreneurial start-ups and offering them accelerator and incubator services.”

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Rendering of the atrium inside the Center for Novel Therapeutics courtesy of BioMed Realty.

These properties along with many others, including new projects from publicly traded real estate investment trust HCP in Sorrento Mesa and Kilroy Realty in UTC with construction starting this Summer, and delivering over the next two years.

Over the next several months, this Hughes Marino: In the Know Series will explore these projects in more depth, providing potential tenants a deep dive into the details. With the runway for life sciences property development looking even more robust several years out, the opportunities for businesses in this energized sector are plentiful and game changing.

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