Alexandria Real Estate Continues San Carlos Expansion with New Plans for 1.6MM SQFT Biotech Campus

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, TMG, San Carlos, Alexandria District for Science and Technology, Meridian 25, nbbj, Surface Design, IwamotoScott
Plans Courtesy of the City of San Carlos

By Meghan Hall

By the time it is done with its plans for development, Pasadena, Calif.-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities will have completely transformed the city of San Carlos, driving its change from a small, peninsular town to one of the Bay Area’s largest biotech centers. The developer, continuing its expansion down Industrial Road, submitted in October of this year a pre-application to construct six office buildings totaling 1.6 million square feet. Upon completion, the property will be called the Alexandria District for Science and Technology.

The development, located at 900-980 Industrial Road, 900-1098 Commercial Street and 1000-1065 Old County Road, would include six buildings ranging from five to seven floors in height. An amenities structure and two parking garages, which will include more than 3,800 parking spaces, are also included in the preliminary plans. 

According to project documents, the development team includes IwamotoScott Architecture, nbbj and Surface Design Inc.

A brief overview of the buildings was given in the planning documents:

  • Building 1, which will rise five stories, includes 242,286 square feet of space. Its floor plates will be about 50,000 square feet of space.
  • Building 2, also five stories, will have 248,008 square feet and 44,000 square foot floor plates.
  • Building 3 will be larger at six stories and 274,230 square feet. Its floor plates will be 45,000 square feet each.
  • Building 4 will be the smallest, although not by much. Totaling 214,571 square feet, Building 4 will still total five stories in height.
  • Building 5 is slated to be the largest office structure. It will total 337,160 square feet and feature 48,000 square foot floor plates. 
  • Like most of the other buildings, Building 6 will be five stories tall and is also generously sized, at 258,768 square feet. Its floor plates will be the largest, at 50,000 square feet apiece.
  • The single-story building amenity will total 9,442 square feet.

The project will be built in three phases. The first phase will construct Buildings 5 and 6, the first parking garage, and a half park. The second phase will include Buildings 4 and 1, the amenity pavilion and second parking garage, while the final phase will round out the development with Buildings 2 and 3 and another half park.

The center is just up the road from another ARE development: Located at 887 Industrial Road, the project will total 530,000 square feet. Titled “Meridian 25,” the future development will consist of two, six-story buildings containing Class A office space. In June of 2018, Alexandria received the green light from San Carlos’ City Council to include laboratory space and research and development offices in the plans. Alexandria purchased the site fully-entitled from Windy Hill Property Ventures in June of 2017, for $85 million; at the time of the acquisition, the property includes six buildings totaling 134,000 square feet.

In July, Alexandria and TMG also received full project approval from the San Francisco Planning Commission to construct 1.07 million square feet of high-tech office and laboratory space. The development is the first within the Central SoMa Plan to be fully approved and receive its full Prop M allocation. The project will also feature a child care center, public recreation center and an air rights parcel deeded to the City for the development of 100 units of affordable housing.

In February of this year, Alexandria also purchased the Shoreway Science Center in San Carlos for $73.2 million, or about $887 per square foot, according to the REIT’s 2018 fourth quarter supplemental report. Alexandria acquired the asset from Redwood City, Calif.-based Premia Capital, who had owned the property since 2015 when it was purchased for $38.5 million. In August, Alexandria bought a 97,000 square foot office building in Stanford Research Park for $97 million, or $1,000 per square foot. The building is leased to Stanford Health.

As of March 2019, Alexandria had an asset base in North America of 33.7 million square feet, according to a statement from the company. Alexandria also had 4.4 million square feet of Class A properties undergoing construction or preconstruction, and its North American asset base includes 6.1 million square feet of intermediate-term and future development projects.

Despite Alexandria’s prolific development throughout the region, demand for life sciences space continues to sit at historic highs. This week, it was also announced that Amgen leased 240,000 square feet at BioMed Realty’s Gateway of Pacific complex in South San Francisco, following on the heels of Abbvie, who has taken nearly 500,000 square feet at the development. Zymergen, another major biotech company, also signed a 12-year lease for 300,000 square feet at the Emeryville Center for Innovation. Global pharmaceutical firm Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, executed a full-building lease in 2016 for a nine-story, 294,000 square foot laboratory campus in South San Francisco owned by Alexandria. Year after year, despite new products coming to market, life sciences companies continue to snap up large swaths of office, lab and research and development space at a pace that continues to rival development.

The City of San Carlos did not respond to The Registry’s request for comment.

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