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HATCHspaces and NexCore Group Plan Milestone Life Sciences Project In West LA

A CannonDesign rendering of the life sciences project HATCHspaces and NexCore Group are planning on LA's Westside.

HATCHspaces and NexCore Group, a Denver-based healthcare developer, are teaming up in Los Angeles yet again to develop a life sciences office development that industry watchers are calling a milestone for the local sector. 

The 100K SF building is planned for LA's Westside at Pico and Sepulveda, on a former retail center site in an overlay zone where the city is encouraging more commercial and residential development. The site is just a two-minute walk from the Expo Line light rail, connecting it to Westside hubs where life sciences, tech and media industries are already flourishing

HATCHspaces and NexCore describe the project as “the first life science-focused new construction project of scale” in LA, and industry observers seem to agree. 

“This does feel like this is the next phase" for the sector's growth in the city, largely because of the size of the facility, Biocom California LA Executive Director Stephanie Hsieh said.

LA was fifth in total funding from the National Institutes of Health over the past five years, according to a June Cushman & Wakefield report. That same report found that lab vacancy in LA was 1.5% in Q4 2020.

If all goes according to plan, the building will be home to top life sciences tenants by 2023, pending city approvals.

Life sciences tenants have been growing in size and scale in the LA market, with LA-based startups maturing and seeking larger spaces, and larger companies looking to LA as their next location, HATCHspaces Managing Partner Allan S. Glass said. 

The company is also anticipating tenant interest from other industries because of the cluster of activity along the Expo Line from the entertainment, AI, digital health and tech-related sectors. 

“When you have along four stops of the same transit corridor, Google, Amazon, Apple, and HBO that have made significant investments in real estate, it really opens up some very unique opportunities that are difficult to find anywhere else in the country,” Glass said. 

The developers will develop the building on a speculative basis, leaving the interiors largely unfinished as life sciences tenants all have their own requirements. This would also leave the space open to being built out to the specifications of other types of tenants too.

The project site is just a few blocks away from One Westside, the under-development project at the former Westside Pavilion where Google has leased more than 580K SF and a few train stops away from Culver City, where Amazon, Apple and HBO have all planted flags.

Because of its connectivity to job clusters, Savills Southern California Region Research Director Michael Soto predicts that the planned life sciences project will be closely watched to see what kind of companies sign on as tenants. 

The project is the second in Southern California for the two developers, and the third in total, with another project in Colorado. The new development marks an entry into West LA that traditionally isn’t a big office hub. In the past, life sciences users looking for Westside space might try Santa Monica or Westwood first. 

“Maybe some developers and other companies are taking a second look at this area, thinking it's right for redevelopment for higher value-add industries,” Soto said.