Dude, Have You Seen Alexandria Center?
Yesterday, we snapped Alexandria Real Estate Equities CEO Joel Marcus and Partnership for New York City Fund Maria Gotsch among the crowd toasting the coming of Roche's Translational and Clinical Research Center at the Alexandria Center for Life Science at 29th and First. TCRC is the fancy name for Roche's 60k SF in Alexandria Center's West Tower, where the pharma company will do early development. Roche, the anchor tenant, will begin its 11-year lease (plus a 10-year renewal option) Jan. 2, relocating from Nutley, NJ, where the company developed Valium.
Joel says his firm (named for Egypt's Alexandria, the scientific capital of the ancient world) was a garage startup with nothing but a business plan in '94. And yet, by the end of 2013, it will have delivered 728k SF of lab and office space along the East River. After lease-up of the West Tower (which we snapped, above), a third parcel awaits further life sciences tenant demand and then cranes.
We also snapped Roche chairman Franz Humer, whose firm spends $8B on R&D each year, a number he has no plans to shrink in favor of higher dividends. His take when Wall Street asks about Roche's IRR on research: "The question is garbage and I can give you any answer you like." (If word gets out you're allowed to say that, our interviews will get much harder.) Roche researchers can't predict outcomes or program results, he says. He adds that Roche vows not to leave the East Coast (it's got several centers around the country, notably Genentech in South San Fran), which, he says, always will be a research hub.
NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Bob Steel name-dropped NYC's biotech chops: nine biotech clusters on the East Side of Manhattan; $1.4B/year in NIH grants (second to Boston); 20 to 25 bioscience companies launching every year; growing lab space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Harlem Biospace, and Columbia; and the new NY Genome Center, not to mention Cornell-Technion and NYU-Poly. (We're thinking of catching the flu just to get to visit some of these cool sites.)