EQT Exeter buys North San Jose office and research campus for $192M

The six-building complex has sat vacant for several years, even after its former owners extensively renovated four of its structures from 2017-2018

EQT Exeter buys North San Jose office and research campus for $192M
An artist's illustration of the Assembly at North First campus, and Ward Fitzgerald, partner and head of EQT Exeter. (Gensler | Emily Hagopian Photography, EQT Exeter)

EQT Exeter paid $192 million for a six-building office and research campus in North San Jose that has sat vacant for several years even after an extensive renovation that was completed in 2018.

The real estate investment manager, through affiliates, paid about $392 a square foot to purchase the 489,094-square-foot complex, which sits on 27 acres of land bounded by Headquarters Drive to the west, Rose Orchard Way to the north and east, and North First Street to the south. The deal was recorded in the Santa Clara County Clerk-Recorder’s Office on Thursday.

The seller was a partnership of SKS Partners, ProspectHill Group and Invesco Real Estate, which acquired the then-seven-building campus for $82 million, or about $192 a square foot, in 2016.

A representative for EQT Exeter declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Invesco didn’t follow up on a request for comment. Representatives for SKS and ProspectHill Group also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Lam Research Corporation, a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, most recently occupied the property. While it’s unclear when Lam vacated it, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported that the company was expected to move out sometime in the second half of 2016.

The campus has been vacant ever since, even after its owners rebranded it to Assembly at North First and renovated four buildings. Designed by Gensler, that project combined two structures into one 98,674-square-foot building at 3960 N. 1st St. and created an acre of outdoor space. Construction work to modernize the campus began in 2017 and wrapped up in late 2018.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

In 2019, Google was reportedly in talks with a team of Colliers brokers representing the Assembly to lease between 800,000 and 900,000 square feet there, but those talks eventually fell through. While the campus offers 489,094 square feet of built-out office and research space, it can accommodate up to 1.3 million square feet of building space through a development agreement with the city.

The three buildings that front North First Street, which was the main focus of the renovation, contain about 300,000 square feet of office and research space. The three structures immediately north of them collectively offer about 189,000 square feet, although their owner has the option of replacing them with up to 1 million square feet of new space.

The entire Assembly is available for lease as of Friday, according to Colliers’ website; brokers Michael Rosendin, Craig Fordyce and Shane Minnis of Colliers were marketing the campus for lease on behalf of SKS, ProspectHill and Invesco. It isn’t clear whether they’ll remain as its listing brokers for EQT Exeter.

Headquartered in suburban Philadelphia, the company was formerly known as Exeter Property Group before Swedish private equity firm EQT acquired it in a $1.9 billion stock-and-cash deal earlier this year. EQT Exeter manages almost 250 million square feet of commercial property around the world, according to its website.

Eastdil Secured, a real estate investment firm, advised SKS, ProspectHill and Invesco in the sale of the Assembly, according to a source with knowledge of the deal who was not allowed to talk publicly about it. Newmark represented the buyer, the source said.

A representative for Eastdil declined to comment.