Harvest Properties Pitches Plans to Revamp Emeryville’s Bay Center Office Complex

Newmark, Harvest Properties, Bay Center, Emeryville
Courtesy of City of Emeryville

By Meghan Hall

Developers are pursuing life sciences-based development at a feverish pace as the asset class continues to hold its own in the face of changing economic fundamentals. Adding to the Bay Area’s pipeline of projects is Harvest Properties, who has recently pitched plans to reposition Emeryville’s Bay Center into an innovative life science project.

Harvest Properties hopes to construct a new, six-story tall building totaling 210,000 square feet of research and development space at 6475 Christie Ave. A 505-slot parking garage is also laid out in the plans. Per code, the new commercial building must also include about 10,500 square feet of open space, although no information on open space or landscaping has been provided to the City.

Currently, the 7.63-acre site is also developed with three buildings. Building A includes 121,762 square feet, Building B totals 83,520 square feet, while Building C is the largest and has 123,286 square feet. Harvest Properties is currently working with the City to divide the property into four separate parcels; therefore, each of the existing buildings plus the new addition will be sited on individual plots.

Building A would remain 100 percent designated office space, while Buildings B and C would host a 50/50 mix of office and lab space. Building D would follow the same proportions. The new building would be clad in a mix of materials, including an aluminum curtain wall with a dark gray finish, and terra cotta fiber cement panels. The new garage will be a mix of painted concrete, a green screen and vegetation.

At the end of 2021, the Bay Area had recorded its sixth consecutive quarter of positive net absorption, according to recent analysis by Newmark. In all, net absorption totaled more than 1.8 million square feet for the year, and demand was recorded at 4.5 million square feet, “significantly” outweighing supply according to Newmark. Currently, supply sits at around 1.6 million square feet. 

The availability rate in the Bay Area for life science sits at just 5.9 percent. During the fourth quarter, there were 22 leases executed that were greater than 20,000 square feet, with companies such as Genentech and Allogene Therapeutics charting paths for growth.

There is some relief on the horizon, however, as there is currently 3.4 million square feet of space under construction. 30.6 percent of that inventory has been pre-leased or are in negotiations to be leased, states Newmark in its report. In addition, there are over 25.7 million square feet of potential projects planned for future development, making the Bay Area the second largest life sciences market in the country. Record-setting venture capital funding in 2021 is expected to spur on the growth of the market in the coming years, as fundamentals continue to improve.

As of this writing, Harvest Properties had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News