Gural family’s GFP planning $240M biotech center in Long Island City

Landlord teams up with Boston’s King Street Properties on project near Amazon’s soon-to-be offices at One Court Square

Eric Gural (red), King Street Properties’ Rob Albro (yellow) and 45-18 Court Square West (Credit: GFP Real Estate, King Street Properties, and Google Maps)
Eric Gural (red), King Street Properties’ Rob Albro (yellow) and 45-18 Court Square West (Credit: GFP Real Estate, King Street Properties, and Google Maps)

The Gural family is planning to build a $240 million biotech center in Long Island City, which – along with a certain Seattle-based e-commerce company – is emerging as destination for the city’s life-sciences and lab industry.

The Gurals’ GFP Real Estate has teamed up with King Street Properties – a leader in the Greater Boston-area’s biotech arena – to reposition an old warehouse near Court Square for lab and office space, according to an application seeking financial assistance for the project.

GFP co-CEOs Eric Gural and Brian Steinwurtzel will lease the building at 45-18 Court Square West alongside King Street Properties from Richard Scharf’s Abro Management, which bought the property in 2007 for $33 million, documents with the New York City Industrial Development Agency show.

Representatives for GFP and King Street could not be immediately reached for comment.

The 263,000-square-foot building sits within spitting distance of Long Island City’s iconic One Court Square office tower, where landlord Savanna last week announced it had signed a letter of intent to lease 1 million square feet in the building to Amazon as the toehold for its HQ2 headquarters in New York.

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But even before the tech behemoth’s interest in Long Island City became public knowledge, the neighborhood started to show signs of becoming a hub for the Big Apple’s nascent biotech and life-sciences industries.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, one of the largest science-focused real estate investment trusts in the country, paid $75 million in October to buy a 175,000-square-foot warehouse at 30-02 48th Avenue known as the Bindery, which sits further east of the Sunnyside Yards train tracks that separate Long Island City’s waterfront from its factory district.

It’s in that area where former industrial buildings like Savanna’s Falchi Building and Atlas Capital Group’s The Factory have attracted tenants such as Uber and J. Crew.

The Court Square project appears to be King Street Properties’ first in New York City. The Boston-based company and GFP are seeking exemptions on mortgage-recording and sales taxes on the project from the Industrial Development Agency, as well as an agreement to make payments in lieu of city property taxes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have committed incentives worth more than a combined $1 billion to plant the seeds for New York’s life-sciences industry, which lags far behind centers like Boston and San Francisco.