Last week, BioMed Realty expanded its footprint in the Seattle market, where the life science stalwart already owns 1.2 million square feet of commercial space. The 1.6-acre full-block property is located on two parcels at 2300 7th Ave. and 2301 8th Ave., and there are plans to transform this into a 616,000 square foot development the company calls Denny Park South. This acquisition, which cost BioMed $126.8 million, when combined with the T6 Innovation Center at 200 Taylor Avenue North, represents an additional 1.2 million square feet of development potential, which will double what BioMed realty has in the region. In addition, the company plans to invest $700 million to develop these facilities and looks to add 850 construction jobs to the local economy.
“This is an opportunity for us with Denny Park South and T6 [Innovation Center] to really double the portfolio in Seattle,” said BioMed’s CEO Tim Schoen, in an interview with The Registry. “Dexter Yard is now up, we’ve got several tenants in the building now as we finish construction and start the TI phase. That project along with our existing portfolio is about 1.2 million square feet, and the last two acquisitions that we’ve done will allow us to add another 1.2 [million square feet] to about 2.4 million square feet all in and around that area as we continue to advance the ecosystem.”
The positioning of the additional projects will give BioMed Realty a multitude of offerings for space in the market where lab space is tight and where demand outstrips the supply of new developments. According to Schoen, the demand is around one million square feet or around 1.5 times the supply, which makes the market fundaments for the company really stand out.
Another opportunity for BioMed is the flexibility a site of this size provides to the firm and its tenants. “What is also neat about this acquisition is that it allows scale in a single site in an urban environment in South Lake Union. It’s very difficult to assemble a full city block,” said Jonathan Bergschneider, president of BioMed’s west coast markets. “The ability for us to put 500,000-600,000 square feet on a single site allows us not only to cater to large users but also small users who can incrementally grow. We’re allowed to facilitate that growth on-site where they don’t have to relocate their sciences, they can expand incrementally over time.”
The development will be transformational for a site that has been underutilized given the scale of progress and development just blocks away. This will enable BioMed to not only tap into some of the great amenities already in place in this neighborhood but also bring in some of their own.
“This real estate was really underutilized. It had hotels that were in the process of shutting down, limited service, low rise, and really the opportunity to improve the community in which we operate and provide not only purpose-built space for biotech but also amenities in and around them,” said Shoen.
Even though the location in South Lake Union is predominantly occupied by tech tenants, Amazon’s sprawling campus is next door, BioMed plans to make Denny Park South predominantly a life science development, but alternative uses will be possible, as well. The company sees the proximity of technology and life science enriching the environment, which fits with the goals for this project.
“All of our facilities are engineered for life science uses,” said Bergschneider. “If we look at some of the users in that area that are more tech, those users can be accommodated in our facilities. First and foremost, we’re a life science developer, but more and more, we’re seeing the convergence of tech and life sciences coexisting in the same area, so we want to make sure that we are building flexible facilities that can accommodate a multitude of users and cross over between the two sectors.”
BioMed will be working with the Seattle office of Perkins & Will to create a vision of the property that will be submitted to the city for a design review in the near future. The two have partnered on projects in other markets, as well, and they will extend that partnership here, as well. The project builder will be Turner Construction, which has been a strategic construction company for the life science developer over the years.