By Meghan Hall
The city of San Carlos, wedged in between Redwood City and San Mateo, is in the midst of its own transformation as developers propose large-scale projects in-line with local firms’ expectations. Recently, Black Mountain Properties LLC has proposed to redevelop 888 Bransten, currently an industrial site, into a 210,000 square foot life sciences development. The application was submitted with San Francisco Bay Area-based DGA as the commercial architecture firm and is currently under review by the City of San Carlos.
According to Black Mountain Properties’ website, 888 Bransten is a legacy project for the firm, who can trace its founding to San Carlos as a spring water company in 1937. In its time in business, Black Mountain Properties has expanded from spring water to industrial property ownership, and now commercial development.
The 888 Bransten project is intended to be a Class A life science and research and development building, which will total six floors and also include a 2,500 square foot amenity building. Part of the amenity building will be leased to a coffee vendor or food service operator as a casual dining option for a future tenant’s employees. Two levels of underground parking are also allocated in the project plans.
“This area of San Carlos, along Industrial Road, is transforming from non-descript single story industrial buildings to elegant new multi-story buildings which will attract Office, Technology and/or Research and Development tenants,” explained Steve Mitchell, chief operations officer at Black Mountain Properties. “…San Carlos has become a very desirable destination for companies looking for space along the Peninsula with easy access to Highway 101. 888 Bransten will help the City of San Carlos continue to achieve and realize the goals of its General Plan.”
The Class A building will include floor plates with a depth core of less than 60 feet, ideal for daylight penetration, while balconies on the front and rear of the building will add fenestration to the building’s exterior and increase tenant access to ambient outdoor air.
The project’s design, added Mitchell, is inspired by what the future of life sciences will look like in the Bay Area. “In early 2019, when we started designing the 888 Bransten project, our intent and focus was to serve the needs of the Life Science Market,” he said. “We know the current pandemic is forcing many industries to evaluate changes to their business model and real estate needs and requirements. As we work with our architectural and real estate team we want to be designing and developing a project that will meet these future needs and requirements. We believe 888 Bransten will be well positioned to meet the needs of the Life Science Market now and into well into the future.”
Brokerage firm Kidder Mathews has been hired to market the property and advise Black Mountain Properties on the ever-changing life sciences market in San Carlos.
The development, if approved, will rise next a 530,000 square foot life sciences campus—formerly known as Meridian 25—owned by Alexandria Real Estate Equities. In all, the Pasadena, Calif.-based developer has assembled some 25 acres across San Carlos alone. In December of 2019, Nuveen Real Estate, in partnership with Graymark Capital, acquired 150 Industrial Road, a 230,000 square foot life science building, for $99 million. The building is 100 percent leased to Mylan Pharmaceuticals. Other companies in the area include Gilead, Illumina, and the new Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation Hospital.
San Carlos’ position as a future life sciences hub is something that Black Mountain Properties has been tracking closely, and the firm has been working to shift the focus of its portfolio to accommodate, especially with the emergence of COVID-19.
“Prior to COVID-19, Black Mountain Properties, LLC had begun to transition its portfolio to be more heavily weighted towards the Life Science sector,” stated Mitchell. “The current COVID-19 situation has only increased our resolve to position our properties to better serve the needs of the growing Life Science market in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.”
According to the firm’s website, Black Mountain Properties owns 12 properties consisting of 25 buildings across seven Bay Area cities. Its assets include 2-42 Adrian Court in Burlingame, an 85,378 square foot property mainly used for warehousing, showrooms and office, as well as 111 Elko Drive and 1270 Laurence Station, two multi-tenant industrial buildings constructed in 1979. Black Mountain Properties also owns the Diablo Tech Center and the Las Positas Office Plaza, both in Pleasanton.