RPI signs at Taconic and Silverstein’s life sciences hub

Research university taking 23k sf at Hudson Research Center

Taconic Partners' Matthew Weir and Hudson Research Center 61 at 9 West 54th Street (iStock, Taconic Partners, Hudson Research Center)
Taconic Partners' Matthew Weir and Hudson Research Center 61 at 9 West 54th Street (iStock, Taconic Partners, Hudson Research Center)

Another tenant has signed on to join in on the fun of New York City’s booming life sciences market.

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute signed a lease for 23,000 square feet at Taconic Partners and Silverstein Properties’ Hudson Research Center, the Commercial Observer reported. Lease terms were not disclosed, but asking rents at 619 West 54th Street are reportedly in the low $100s per square foot on a net basis.

The building owners also announced the launch of RPI’s Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine, a partnership with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. RPI claims to be the oldest technological research university in the country, focused on biotech, life sciences, nanotechnology and more.

JLL’s Barbara Winter represented RPI in the leasing deal. CBRE’s Jonathan Schifrin represented the owners, along with Taconic’s Matthew Weir.

The Hudson Research Center is one of the growing life sciences buildings in the city. The building is 320,000 square feet and the developers are repositioning three floors to transition from offices to wet labs. C16 Biosciences, a Bill Gates–backed startup, is among the building’s tenants.

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Taconic bought the 10-story building in 2012 for $112 million and began renovating. Silverstein then bought a majority stake in the property in 2017, valuing it at more than $180 million. Taconic kept a 10 percent interest.

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Later that year, the pivot began. The landlords put down $20 million to revamp the building into a life sciences center, hoping to attract research and pharmaceutical firms from suburban markets.

The landlords likely didn’t predict a pandemic that changed the life sciences market, but still hoped for the growth of the sector in the city, which shattered records a year ago. Tenants leased 433,000 square feet last year, according to CBRE. The leasing volume nearly tripled 2020 levels and exceeded all of the leases of the previous seven years combined.

The average asking rent on triple-net life sciences leases in Manhattan was $114 per square foot last year, up $3 year-over-year. The availability rate for ready-to-use lab space, meanwhile, dropped to 3.3 percent.

[CO] — Holden Walter-Warner