Boston’s Lighthouse Real Estate buys site of lab project in SF’s Mission District

Site’s previous owner received city approval to redevelop it into 223K sf building for nonprofits

Lighthouse Real Estate Investments' Barry Green and 1850 Bryant Street in San Francisco (Lighthouse, Google Maps)
Lighthouse Real Estate Investments' Barry Green and 1850 Bryant Street in San Francisco (Lighthouse, Google Maps)

Boston developer Lighthouse Real Estate Investments bought a building in San Francisco’s Mission District that it plans to redevelop into almost 200,000 square feet of labs in response to growing demand for Bay Area life science facilities.

The company paid $31 million last month for a vacant, approximately 14,000-square-foot building at 1850 Bryant Street that used to be occupied by Abbett Electric Corp., the San Francisco Business Times reported. It intends to demolish the structure and build a new one containing 185,000 square feet of labs, the newspaper said.

The seller was developer Chris Foley, who, as part of a team called Common Ground Urban Development, filed plans with the city in 2017 to raze the Bryant Street property and build a 223,000-square-foot commercial building. Common Ground pitched the project with nonprofit organizations in mind, envisioning most of its square footage being rented out to them, the Business Times said.

Yet the deal means those plans, which the city OK’d, won’t come to fruition. San Francisco’s planning department approved a request to change the project from commercial condominiums to labs, which is an allowed use on the site Lighthouse acquired, in October. The city has issued shoring, excavation and building permits for the development, meaning Lighthouse can break ground at any time, Richard Sucre of San Francisco’s planning department told the Business Times.

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It’s unclear why Foley decided to sell his approved project site to Lighthouse. The Business Times said it couldn’t reach him for comment this week.

San Francisco County’s life science real estate market is virtually fully occupied, as there was only 10,000 square feet available at the end of the third quarter of 2021, according to Kidder Mathews data. The area’s vacancy rate sat at 0.57 percent at the end of that three-month period, the firm’s data show.

[San Francisco Business Times] — Matthew Niksa

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