Longfellow Proposes 965,000 SQFT Development with Residential, Life Science Spaces

Longfellow, Atrium Building, Emeryville, Expressions College, PSAI Realty Partners, Griffin Capital Investors
Courtesy of City of Emeryville

By Meghan Hall

With a ground lease in hand, Boston-based Longfellow Real Estate Partners has big plans for an aging Emeryville property. According to plans newly filed with the City, Longfellow intends to construct three towers totaling 965,320 square feet at 1650 65th Street. The development will bring both residential and commercial office and lab uses to a rapidly growing part of Emeryville.

Currently, the property is owned by PSAI Realty Partners and Griffin Capital Investors, who purchased the asset in 2019 for $51 million. It is currently developed with a 127,818 square foot office building. Known as the “Atrium Building,” the property currently sits vacant.

The property will be part of a larger–nearly 7.3-acre assemblage–that Longfellow is pursuing to acquire the site. The other parcels include a 1.333 acre site and a 0.931 acre parcel, both home to Expressions College. All buildings would be demolished in order to make way for the new project.

According to preliminary plans, the first building will contain 144 residential units and will rise 16 stories in height. The remaining two buildings–some 750,000 square feet of space–will be eight and nine stories, and will contain laboratory and office uses. 

“Our team had a great meeting with the Emeryville Planning Commission last week, but we are still in the beginning stages. As the plans continue to take shape, we are confident of the benefits this gateway mixed-use development will have on our economy along with the integrated public open space and sense of community it will bring,” explained Longfellow’s Managing Director Nick Frasco. “We look forward to working with the city and with the public to add a distinctive feature to the Emeryville skyline while creating world class space for innovation research along with needed housing.”

Project plans also propose 1.66 acres of public open space. 1.18 acres will be allocated toward a park at the southwest corner of the project site, while a 26,540 square foot greenway will be provided for residents. A rooftop terrace on the residential tower, totaling 2,880, is also outlined in the project plans. All three towers will be constructed over podium parking.

The project recently underwent a public study session on July 22nd, after which City staff requested that the Planning Commission review the project and provide necessary comments. Looking ahead, the project will require a  Planned Unit Development Permit and a Preliminary Development Plan ok’ed by the City Council, following a recommendation from the Planning Commission. Timing for entitlements and build-out has not yet been solidified. 

The location of the development is located just off of Interstate 580 and extremely close to the San Francisco Bay. McLoughlin Eastshore State Seashore, as well as Cesar E. Chavez Park, are nearby, as are major institutions such as the University of California Berkeley, Oakland Children’s Hospital, Bayer Corporation and Pixar Animation Studios. Bay Street Emeryville, a shopping center with tenants such as IKEA, Trader Joe’s and Target, are also nearby.

Longfellow Real Estate Partners has been incredibly active throughout the Bay Area, but the project marks the company’s first foray into Emeryville. Previously, the firm has closed in significant deals in the region, most recently securing $178 million in funding to reposition the San Mateo Bay Center, a 235,911 square foot campus, into a life science and laboratory facility. In recent months, Longfellow and PGIM have initiated plans to transform the Redwood City Life Complex into a three million square foot life sciences hub. The campus currently totals one million square feet across 20 buildings, all of which are situated on 84 acres.

“The City of Emeryville, and the entire region, continues to be a leader in the growing life science industry,” noted Fraco. “Throughout the country we have seen a deeper dedication to life sciences and its impact on our health, well-being, and overall economic future. Longfellow is particularly excited to be a part of the thriving life sciences hub in Emeryville with its strong fundamentals, supported by innovation drivers, exceptional talent and thriving companies.”

Currently, Longfellow targets markets such as Boston, San Diego, North Carolina and San Francisco. Its clients have included Duke University, AstraZeneca, Illumina, Pfizer and others. As of December 2020, the firm had developed or acquired more than 8 million square feet of high-profile spaces on both the East and West coasts.

As of this writing, Longfellow Real Estate Partners had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.

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