A five-building office park in Downtown Los Angeles could soon be home to a new life sciences campus under the latest plan to increase the city’s profile in the industry.
BEP Helix, run by local businessman and biotech investor Ben Pouladian, has bought the leasehold interest in Park DTLA, a five-building, 280,000-square-foot office park at 261 S. Figueroa St., according to Urbanize Los Angeles citing a report in CoStar News.
Park DTLA has been operated by Rising Realty Partners, a Los Angeles-based real estate firm developer which owns the buildings and paid $16.5 million for the leasehold interest in 2015. A ground lease that traces back to the now-defunct Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency is held by Bunker Hill Park Ltd. until 2077.
The 4.5-acre property would be rebranded Helix LA and get a makeover in an effort to tap into the state’s $131 billion bioscience sector. Pouladian didn’t disclose terms of the deal.
“The idea is to bring the sciences to the heart of the city, establish faster cures and other innovations within the core of Los Angeles and incorporate the community’s culture and diversity into it as well,” Pouladian told CoStar News. “There should be no reason San Francisco and San Diego are considered hubs and not L.A., which is a world-class city.”
The life science industry in California is a robust engine for high-paying jobs and research funding. The Los Angeles area trails San Diego and San Francisco as a center of the sector.
In 2020, the sector supported 1.4 million jobs and took in $6.2 billion in federal research funds statewide, according to a September 2021 report from Biocom California, an industry trade group.
In Los Angeles County, the life sciences fueled nearly 100,000 jobs at an average annual pay of $97,000, according to Biocom. The jobs account for 20 percent of life sciences employment in the state.
Across the nation, an unprecedented demand for life sciences real estate has prices soaring. In Los Angeles where there is 11 million square feet, another 453,000 was proposed in 2021.
County officials intend to develop a $150 million life science research park at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where the Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation opened a $63 bioscience incubator in 2019.
Private firms edging into the sector include Los Angeles-based HATCHspaces and Denver-based NexCore Group, planning to build a 100 square-foot building this year in West L.A.
In Pasadena, LPC West and Angelo Gordon are looming to flip a life science complex for $200 million six months after they bought it.
[Urbanize Los Angeles] – Dana Bartholomew