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NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

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A pioneering leap of faith in NYC’s quest to be big in biotech, the Alexandria Center for Life Science on the East River has delivered two of three planned buildings. Now, the developer, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, wants to build more in Manhattan.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

We snapped CEO Joel Marcus in his company’s office in the 310k SF East Tower, which delivered in fall 2010 with Eli Lilly’s oncology division as a four-floor anchor. The building had filled up by early 2011. Four floors are left to lease in the 419k SF West Tower, which opened at the beginning of this year, having lured Roche from Nutley, NJ. The North Tower is planned for a site now occupied by a Medical Examiner’s tent.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

Here’s an inside look at what Alexandria already has done on 29th Street next to the FDR, starting with the model of the 730k SF project in the company's office. The East Tower is closest, the West Tower (81% leased or in negotiation) on the left, and the unbuilt North Tower on the right.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

We snapped the sleek lobby of the West Tower. Alexandria Real Estate Equities soon will move from its 15th-floor digs in the East Tower to the ground floor here. Partly to be more visible and involved…

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

… and partly because these views from the existing office are too good not to lease to a paying tenant. Joel tells us his mother was born over there in Brooklyn, on Avenue J.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

The view north up the East River. Though based in Pasadena, Joel is in NY almost every week. It helps that his daughter, who does business development for Danny Meyer, lives here.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

Alexandria Center’s goal is to be a biotech community, and while its Apella conference space is available for anyone to rent, tenant-related events and Alexandria-sponsored science summits often occupy the space. While we were there, the annual Galien Forum (whose awards are trumpeted as the Oscars of the biopharma industry) was being held in Tom Colicchio's Riverpark restaurant, also in the East Tower. Somewhere in that crowd are eight Nobel Prize winners.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

The largest conference room can hold 250 theater style and 110 in a classroom format, and the lobby on the first floor and common area on the second floor (above) double as event space.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

No tech social haven would be complete without a phone-charging station.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

Up on the fourth floor of the East Tower is the building’s Science Hotel: pre-built lab space for smaller or newer biotech companies. Alexandria reduces leasing risk with PhDs on the leasing team to vet potential tenants’ business plans.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

The hotel model makes lab space more affordable for smaller companies by removing high-tech build-out costs and offering shared common lab services like an autoclave and this glasswash room. We don’t know what autoclaves are, but apparently a lot of scientists use them.

NYC Is Serious About Biotech Dominance

And outside is the farm-to-table milk-crate farm (with its own full-time minder) that serves Riverpark restaurant.