By Meghan Hall
BentallGreenOak continues to be an active player in the Bay Area’s commercial real estate market, targeting assets across a variety of property types. In a deal that recently closed, the New York City-based firm acquired the Ardenwood Research Center in Fremont for $53.1 million. The transaction once again brings life science assets into the limelight, highlighting them as one of a few asset classes that have turned into core investments as a result of the pandemic.
The asset was sold by LBA Realty, and brokerage firm JLL represented LBA Realty in the deal. The transaction closed on April 9, according to The Mercury News. BentallGreenOak also secured at $30.25 million loan from Wells Fargo Bank to fund the purchase of the property.
Located at 34781 and 34801 Campus Drive, the campus is made up of two, single-story buildings. Combined, they total 92,250 square feet and sit on 7.1 acres. The buildings have 48,200 and 44,000 square feet and are leased to Neuralink, co-founded by Elon Musk, and AnaSpec, a life sciences manufacturing company, respectively.
In recent years, Fremont’s Ardenwood District has become increasingly popular with major technology and life sciences firms. Tesla, Facebook, Philips and SLD Laser are just several of the companies within the immediate vicinity. The neighborhood’s proximity to other major business hubs in Mountain View and San Francisco have made Ardenwood a target area for many firms as the Bay Area’s commercial real estate market continues to boom.
As BentallGreenOak was working to close on its acquisition of the Ardenwood Research Center, the company has also begun planning to offload a nearby Hayward asset. According to previous reporting by The Registry, BentallGreenOak is hoping to sell the Mt. Eden Research Park for nearly $130 million. Sources familiar with the property have stated that BentallGreenOak placed the asset up for sale anticipating an increase in interest in lab and life sciences assets in the East Bay.
Across the Bay Area, life sciences development and leasing continued to play a significant role in the health of the commercial real estate market. During the fourth quarter of 2020, gross absorption for life sciences space totaled 961,306 square feet, bringing 2020 total gross absorption to 2.94 million square feet. According to data released by Kidder Mathews, there were more than 3.46 million square feet of tenant requirements being tracked by the end of the year, and venture capital funding continued to flow into the region.
Alameda County, where Fremont and the Ardenwood Research Center are located, led all Bay Area counties in life sciences leasing during the fourth quarter, recording 384,176 square feet of gross absorption. The largest deal of the quarter was inked in Fremont by Resilience, a biopharmaceutical company, who leased more than 150,000 square feet at 800 Corporate Way. Vacancy rates continued to fall to 3.32 percent, and asking rates are between $1.75 and $6.00 triple net, as companies continue to turn their sights to the East Bay for growth.