Minkoff buys concrete plant in ‘Innovation District’

Minkoff Group gets $33M piece of budding life science hub in San Carlos

The Minkoff Group has acquired the site of a concrete plant in San Carlos’ east side, a predominantly industrial area that’s being transformed into an office and life science hub.

Oakland-based Minkoff paid $33 million for the 2.4-acre property at 1026 Bransten Road, according to the San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office’s online database. The sellers were subsidiaries of CEMEX USA, a concrete and cement maker that uses the site to produce ready-mix concrete. The deal was recorded with the county’s Clerk-Recorder’s Office on May 25.

It’s unclear if Houston-based CEMEX USA agreed to a sale-leaseback with Minkoff to continue operating the site. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment. Minkoff, meantime, declined to comment.

The deal gives Minkoff a piece of San Carlos’ 150-acre East Side Innovation District, a predominantly industrial neighborhood that’s attracted several new life science projects in recent years. Developers have collectively proposed about 1.7 million square feet of new commercial projects there as of October, all but one of which are intended for lab companies. While Minkoff’s forte is office developments, without a specific focus on life science, such projects aren’t out of line with the innovation district: Developers have added new offices to complement research-and-development space in the area over the last decade, according to the area’s so-called vision plan. The document, approved by the San Carlos City Council in October, guides new development in the city’s east side through goals and action items.

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It’s unclear what Minkoff’s plan is for the Bransten Road site at this time. The property is in one of the city’s “heavy industrial” districts, which are zoned to accommodate uses that require large warehouse-style buildings with flexible floor plans. Small shops and restaurants as well as supporting office uses are also allowed there. If Minkoff ends up pursuing redevelopment, its proposal’s maximum floor-area ratio — the amount of developable square footage in proportion to a site’s land area — will depend on the size of its project site. If it totals more than an acre, then the maximum allowed floor-area ratio is 1:1. If it’s less than that, the ratio becomes 2:1, according to San Carlos’ zoning ordinance.

However, those ratios aren’t set in stone if Minkoff uses the city’s “Planned Development District” provision, which would give it more leeway on that aspect of its project and others such as heights and setbacks. That provision is contingent upon its project site spanning at least two acres and is given in exchange for better site design and community benefits, according to the East Side’s vision plan.

Besides the concrete plant, Minkoff’s San Carlos holdings include an industrial and office center at 200-250 Industrial Road and 335-389 Quarry Road that it co-owns with JPMorgan Chase. The pair acquired the almost 152,000-square-foot property in November for $65.7 million, according to title service records. It’s in a 120-acre chunk of northeast San Carlos that’s subject to a development moratorium through April 2024. Under it, any redevelopment proposal filed with the city after April 25 can’t be taken up for approval until then. Minkoff and JPMorgan, meantime, haven’t filed any such plans for the almost 7.5-acre site.

In a separate deal, CEMEX sold Minkoff an almost 2.3-acre site at 876 Harbor Boulevard in Redwood City. The industrial parcel is part of a CEMEX-run cement terminal. Because Minkoff didn’t pay a transfer tax on the deal, it’s unclear how much it paid to acquire the property. The transaction was recorded with the San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office the same day as the 1026 Bransten Road sale, according to public records.

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