Trammell Crow eyeing life sciences move in South San Francisco

Redevelopment of four properties would join emerging biotech hub east of the 101

Trammell Crow's Mike Lafitte with 120 E. Grand Ave (Trammell Crow, Bizjournals, iStock)
Trammell Crow's Mike Lafitte with 120 E. Grand Ave (Trammell Crow, Bizjournals, iStock)

A Texas commercial real estate developer is eyeing four properties in South San Francisco to redevelop into a life sciences complex.

Dallas-based Trammell Crow is cutting deals to redevelop an industrial swath east of the 101 Freeway, which has emerged as a hub for life sciences developers, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The firm is in talks with South San Francisco officials about converting a warehouse at 120 E. Grand Avenue into a life sciences lab, the outlet said, citing unidentified sources. It’s expected to file a formal application soon.

Trammell Crow also is looking to buy three other properties at 145, 160 and 180 Sylvester Road for redevelopment, sources told the outlet. The properties are reportedly owned by two different entities.

The publicly traded company, which is counted among the nation’s largest developers, declined to comment on the pending deals.

An entity registered to Trammell Crow entered into a sales agreement in December with Berkos Kitchen, the owner of a 21,921-square-foot warehouse at 120 E. Grand Ave., public records show. The 59-year-old warehouse is now home to custom foods co-packer Max’s Bakery and Kitchen.

Trammell Crow also signed contracts with Baker Properties to acquire a 200,000-square-foot warehouse at 160 Sylvester Rd., and a 10,000-square-foot warehouse at 180 Sylvester Rd., public records show. It’s unclear whether the firm is officially in contract to buy the 38,000-square-foot warehouse at 145 Sylvester Rd.

The company in January paid $65 million for the site of a planned life sciences project in Redwood City.

South San Francisco, dubbed the “birthplace of biotechnology” is now home to around 200 biotech companies inhabiting 11.5 million square feet.

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Should Trammell Crow buy the South San Francisco land, it would join three major life sciences developers working to transform the area near the city’s Caltrain Station between U.S. 101 and Gateway Boulevard into a life sciences hub.

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Pasadena-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities plans to redevelop a 70,000-square-foot warehouse at 100 E. Grand Avenue into a research and development campus in collaboration with Prologis, owner of the property. The 5-acre project now awaits environmental review.

San Diego-based Phase 3 Real Estate Partners plans to replace a three-story Comfort Inn at 121 E. Grand Ave. into a 17-story, 940,000-square-foot office and R&D building. The 3-acre project awaits design review.

IQHQ, formerly known as Creative Science Properties, has staked out numerous projects for the area.

The Solana Beach-based firm plans to build a six-story, 353,000-square-foot R & D at 580 Dubuque Avenue. Plans filed last week show a 900,000-square-foot lab and office complex slated for 800 Dubuque Avenue, on an industrial property the company bought last year for $215 million.

Last year, the real estate investment trust paid nearly $30 million for the 111,000-square-foot Costco Business Center at 900 Dubuque Avenue, and is now looking to buy the Lowe’s Home Improvement store at 720 Dubuque Avenue, the Business Times reported.

Less than half a mile away, IQHQ picked up a 2-acre property at 580 Dubuque Avenue in March 2020 with plans to redevelop it into a 213,000-square-foot life science project.

[San Francisco Business Times] – Dana Bartholomew

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