By Meghan Hall
The City of San Carlos is just under 5.5 square miles in size, and yet it has quickly become one of the busiest centers for life sciences development in the Bay Area. Following on the heels of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Black Mountain Properties, Presidio Bay Ventures and others, and adding to its own list of projects in San Carlos, Premia has pitched new plans for 1021 Howard. Earlier this month, the commercial real estate firm filed documents to build a 190,869 square foot project dedicated specifically to life sciences uses at the site.
“The project site at the corner of Howard and Bayport serves as an important gateway into the industrial arts area,” explained brick. Founder and CEO Rob Zirkle. “The fine grain character and maker feel of the industrial arts area is a big source of consideration for the team.”
Premia and investment partner Prince Street Partners acquired the property for $33 million in July. R&M Properties, based in Palo Alto, was the seller.
In addition to its life sciences space, the project will also include 13,000 square feet of public open space, including a plaza and interior courtyard. A subterranean parking garage with 456 parking spaces is also planned. A street-facing cafe and community focused at-grade makers spaces will also be part of the project upon its completion.
The scope and feel of the project will be driven by San Carlos’ emerging status as a hub and the need to remain competitive within the market.
“San Carlos is an important player in the region’s response to life science companies and the need for suitable buildings that support their important work,” said Zirkle. “Key considerations in the development to help differentiate it in the marketplace are: The emerging character of the industrial arts area…the open space that organizes the building’s massing…the building’s dimension…[and others].”
The project team is striving to create a walkable, amenity rich neighborhood for future tenants. Inside the building, each floor’s overall layout will optimize natural light and flexibility, allowing for single- and multi-tenant suites at every level. Further flexibility will come in 11-foot lab planning modules around the entire perimeter of the building. The layout will allow future tenants to design or work in labs in any area of the building they choose.
Zirkle added, “This flexibility is key in capturing great tenants and also responding to market conditions over time.”
According to the City’s website, the project is currently under review and public meetings have yet to be scheduled. It is unclear how long entitlements and build-out for the project may take.
The emergence of a new project at 1021 Howard came as Premia and brick. moved forward with their plans at 1091 Industrial Road. The 173,000 square foot project broke ground this past spring and is expected to be built out over the next couple of years. In July, the Florida State Board of Administration paid $177 million to acquire the project, called Brittan West.
Both projects are adding to a number of sizable life sciences-oriented projects in San Carlos. Alexandria Real Estate has been moving forward on development of the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences, a 24.34-acre project along Industrial Road, Commercial Street and Old County Road. The campus is expected to include more than 1.625 million square feet of building space. In July, Explora BioLabs announced that its fourth Bay Area facility would be located in San Carlos, and the property will include off-site vivarium and research space, as well as preclinical research services. Black Mountain Properties is also in the market, working to develop 210,000 square feet of life sciences space at 888 Bransten, while MBC BioLabs is building a 108,143 square foot project at 1020 Brittan Ave.
As San Carlos continues to experience significant private investment and commercial construction, officials are working on long-term guidelines that will shape future development. In recent months, City staff and the greater community have been formulating a new East Side Innovation District Plan. Officials hope the plan will help San Carlos accomplish a number of goals, including sustainable land use and development catering to high-tech, life sciences and biotech tenants, along with supplemental retail and community facilities. The framework will also provide outlines for streetscape amenities, public open space, transportation management and mobility and green infrastructure.