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BioMed Realty Attorney Discusses Current Projects, What’s Important To Life Science Tenants

BioMed Realty recently completed Illumina’s 316K SF i3 campus, a build-to-suit office project that expands the genomics leader’s San Diego headquarters. The company also is underway on two more build-to-suit laboratory/office campuses for Illumina, a 360K SF project at Lincoln Centre in Foster City, California, and a 155K SF building in Cambridge, U.K.

Illumina's i3 campus

Illumina employees began moving into the i3 campus earlier this month. The campus is in the University Towne Centre submarket, just off Interstate 805 and La Jolla Village Drive. Designed by the architecture firm of Perkins+Will, i3 comprises three trapezoidal all-white concrete buildings situated to create a campus triangle to form a 33K SF outdoor courtyard at the center with a performance stage, bocce ball court, herb garden, restaurant, café and fitness area.

Sustainably planned to reduce energy use by 30% and water use by 20%, the project is designed to pursue LEED Platinum core and shell and LEED Gold for Interiors. Buildings feature wall-to-ceiling glass to capture views of the surrounding mountains and infuse the interior with natural light. The interior design was inspired by Illumina’s “work anywhere” culture, with a 100% wireless environment and a variety of collaborative spaces, including lounges, break areas and conference rooms connected directly to outdoor terraces and outdoor spaces bookending the research and office areas to accommodate different work styles and preferences.

The UC San Diego Center for Novel Therapeutics will provide space for collaborative cancer research by UCSD and private sector scientists, as well as an incubator for cancer research-oriented startups.

BioMed Realty also recently broke ground on the UC San Diego Center for Novel Therapeutics, a 110K SF cancer research hub next to Moores Cancer Center at the UCSD Health Center Science Research Park. This collaborative research facility, which is designed to target LEED Gold certification, will leverage the strength of the university’s doctors and research at Moores Cancer Center with private sector companies looking to translate research into helping patients throughout the world.

UCSD is the anchor tenant at CNT, occupying approximately 25% of the building, with the remaining space occupied by private companies. There is a 20K SF incubator for life science startups, and amenities, including a conference center, an auditorium, a modern fitness center and a café. 

BioMed Realty owns and will manage all of these projects, but in CNT’s case the land is ground-leased from UCSD for 65 years. Life science tenants and entrepreneurs leasing space at CNT will have access to UC San Diego and Moores Cancer Center researchers and resources.

BioMed President/CEO Tim Schoen, attorney Marie Lewis and Vice President of Development Pico Mina at the recent groundbreaking for UC San Diego Center for Novel Therapeutics

BioMed Realty Vice President and attorney Marie Lewis, who formerly worked in the office real estate sector, said life science projects are both exciting and challenging.

“Projects are a long time in the works before ever breaking ground,” she said.

Lease negotiations and tenant build-outs for life science tenants are much more complex than for office tenants, she said. Life science tenants spend more time negotiating interior details and mechanicals than typical office tenants. Relationships with life science companies tend to be long term. Illumina, for example, signed a 10-year lease at i3 and negotiated leases for the Lincoln Centre and Cambridge campuses all within a 15-month period.

Life science leases also can have built-in flexibility that allows companies to make changes to their facilities to accommodate their science and business, Lewis added.

Unlike a decade ago, life science tenants demand a full range of on-site amenities. This is due to the desire to retain young, highly educated scientists and technicians by providing an appealing work environment, but also due to the way this sector works.

“In the life science sector there is a blurring of work and personal life, because research scientists may work nights and weekends on projects,” Lewis said.

She also said there is a great cost to companies having to replace highly skilled scientists unhappy with the workplace, particularly in terms of setbacks to research outcomes or discovery.

BioMed Realty recently completed redevelopment of the 192,866 SF Axiom life science campus.

That is why BioMed Realty is redeveloping its older San Diego life science campuses with a full range of on-site amenities. The company recently completed redevelopment of the 182,866 SF Axiom life science campus, a three-building complex at 4535, 4545, 4550 Towne Centre Court in UTC. The campus has a variety of lifestyle amenities, including The Patio Marketplace, a 5K SF eatery by The Patio Group. This campus is now home to the corporate headquarters of Ignyta, an oncology-focused biotech company that occupies 95K SF and La Jolla Pharmaceuticals with 83K SF.

BioMed Realty is in the process of developing a shared-amenity complex to support a life science campus with three buildings, which it recently acquired at the corner of Towne Centre and Executive drives in the UTC.

Hear more from Lewis and other life science and healthcare experts at Bisnow’s San Diego Healthcare & Life Sciences Summit on Sept. 12.