Longfellow aims to turn Redwood City office park into 3.3M sf life science complex

Signs on with PGIM for plans to triple park’s size, add hotel

Longfellow Real Estate Partner's Adam Sichol and a rendering of the Redwood LIFE redevelopment (Longfellow Real Estate Partners & HOK, iStock)
Longfellow Real Estate Partner's Adam Sichol and a rendering of the Redwood LIFE redevelopment (Longfellow Real Estate Partners & HOK, iStock)

The owners of a million-square-foot office park in Redwood City have submitted plans to triple its size and remake it into a life science campus, kicking off the entitlement process for a project that would also add a hotel to the property.

The application, filed Tuesday with the city, comes almost a year after Longfellow Real Estate Partners and PGIM submitted a preliminary proposal for the 84-acre redevelopment. Those early plans laid out the joint venture’s long-term vision for the Redwood LIFE office park, which contains 20 buildings on the edge of Redwood Shores between the Belmont Slough and Marina Parkway. Boston-based Longfellow, which is in charge of developing the project, wants to replace all of the structures with 15 new buildings while supplanting 97 percent of the surface parking with green space. The resulting campus would have about 3.3 million square feet of lab and office space, a 104-room hotel, new parking structures and over 47 acres of green space and trails.

The impetus behind the redevelopment is twofold: the existing park is outdated and limited in terms of the number of upgrades it can receive, and demand for space that caters to lab companies continues to far outpace supply, according to the project’s website. Life science real estate demand outpaces supply by two to one in most Bay Area submarkets, creating a “continually-favorable landlord market,” according to Cushman & Wakefield. And while the decade-long boom for the region’s lab companies seems to be ending, it will probably take several quarters for that slowdown to become apparent in the real estate market. Vacancies in San Mateo County, which includes Redwood City and 19 other cities and towns, was about 2.6 percent at the end of last quarter, Kidder Mathews data show.

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Longfellow has spent the past two years working with community stakeholders and Redwood LIFE’s neighbors to inform its plans filed Tuesday, the firm’s Peter Fritz said in a Tuesday news release. Those plans will bring “extensive” community and economic benefits to the region. Among them: attracting life science companies that will bring thousands of well-paying jobs to the campus, and a commitment to invest $85 million to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing.

That commitment, which is being made in lieu of building on-site affordable homes, is $30 million more than the required so-called impact fee, Longfellow’s news release said. It’s being made in partnership with nonprofit developers Eden Housing and HIP Housing, said the release, which didn’t say how many affordable homes would be created and preserved through the project.

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