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Manhattan ABC Studios To Be Redeveloped Into Life Sciences Building

125 West End Ave.

Proponents of New York's nascent life sciences industry have long claimed there is enough demand for more lab space in the city. Two major developers are banking that is the case, unveiling plans for a vast lab building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Taconic Partners and Nuveen Real Estate are turning 125 West End Ave., the longtime home to the American Broadcasting Co.'s Manhattan campus, into a life sciences building, the companies announced Tuesday. The 400K SF, eight-story building will be transformed into a research facility, according to a release, with a new mechanical plant and purpose-built lab infrastructure, a roof terrace, a new facade and a conference center. ABC is leaving in January.

“The life sciences sector in New York City is showing great strength and resiliency in the face of the pandemic, and Taconic is thrilled to be building on our previous successes,” Taconic Partners co-CEO Paul Pariser said in a statement. “125 West End Avenue promises to be a significant milestone in the emergence of a dynamic life sciences cluster on the West Side.”

Nuveen and Taconic partnered up and paid Silverstein Properties $230M for a cluster of buildings on the Upper West Side last year. The purchases included 125 West End Ave., 320 West 66th St. and an adjacent, unbuilt site. At the time, representatives for Taconic said the properties would be redeveloped to make use of growing office and studio demand.

The life sciences sector in the city has grown rapidly amid the coronavirus pandemic, with 59K SF of lab space leased up in the first half of 2020, per CBRE, 13K SF behind 2019's total leasing activity. Asking rent increased 10% since the end of 2019 as a result of the increase in demand

Now, developing spaces that will provide flexible spaces to various types of tenants is emerging as a priority, panelists said on a recent Bisnow webinar examining the commercial real estate opportunities within the sector.

“Potential for the continued growth of the life sciences sector in New York City is largely determinate on the functionality of the real estate created to suit the need, which Taconic Partners is committed to delivering at 125 West End Avenue,” CBRE Vice Chairman Steve Purpura said in the release. “The progressive development plans for the site and its close proximity to educational institutions developing talent in the industry make the property a natural fit to further propel life sciences in New York City.”