Longfellow to build life science campus in Emeryville

Apartment project nixed in favor of lab development

Longfellow's Adam Sichol and 1650 65th Street (Longfellow, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
Longfellow's Adam Sichol and 1650 65th Street (Longfellow, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Boston-based Longfellow Real Estate Partners has secured a $113.6 million construction loan to build a 200,000-square-foot life science campus in Emeryville, according to a press release by brokerage Newmark. Longfellow initially planned to develop 144 residential units on the site.

In May 2021, Longfellow had signed a long-term lease for the Emeryville Bioscience Center, located at 1650 65th Street, with owner PSAI Real Estate Partners. Public records show Longfellow signed the 34-year lease for an undisclosed annual rate with an option to extend for an additional 36 years. The lease also gave Longfellow the option to buy the property from PSAI, which is based in San Francisco, for an undisclosed amount.

The change in plans could stem from the life science sector maintaining its momentum since the pandemic started in 2020. According to a new report by CBRE, total Bay Area inventory of lab space reached 33 million square feet, which is second only to Boston which has 51 million square feet. Local asking rents reached the monthly equivalent of $5.64 a square foot, while 26 percent of the 5 million square feet of under construction space is pre leased.

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“With rising costs of construction and inflation, we’re seeing increased competition for existing lab space, as well as developers delivering improved warm shells as tenants pursue cost-effective strategies,” said Dino Perazzo from CBRE.

Longfellow has been making moves in the life science market recently and are looking to secure the in demand space. Earlier this year, the real estate firm acquired a 62,000 square foot research facility near the Emeryville Bioscience Center for $36 million. In October of last year, Longfellow purchased a 2.07-acre site in Millbrae for $80 million and announced plans to build 260,000 square feet of Class A life science space there.

Longfellow is one of a pack of developers pursuing life science in the Bay Area. Scribe Therapeutics will convert an old shipway building in the Research Park at Marina Village in Alameda into a research facility. Also, B3 Commercial Management and GAWCapital Partners purchased the Bayfield Center Mall in San Leandro last month with plans to convert it into a 816,771-square-foot life science campus.

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San Francisco
Longfellow buys site next to Millbrae Transit Center for life science lab space