Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Cambridge Prescription

A big-ticket lease with a big-name occupier paves the way for construction to commence on Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ new office/laboratory development right outside of Boston.
Alexandria Center at Kendall Square

A big-ticket lease with a big-name occupier paves the way for construction to commence on Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ new 431,500-square-foot office/laboratory development in Cambridge, Mass., just outside of Boston. Alexandria secured biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb to serve as the anchor tenant for the state-of-the-art project, inking a deal for 208,000 square feet of space.

Sited in Cambridge’s coveted Kendall Square innovation cluster, Bristol-Myers’ new digs will carry the address of 100 Binney St. within Alexandria Center at Kendall Square, Alexandria’s $500 million, 1.7 million-square-foot science and technology campus. The REIT, which is shelling out approximately $130 million on the development of 100 Binney, will kick-off construction of the 10-story Elkus Manfredi Associates-designed tower in July, and open its doors to Bristol-Myers’ R&D team in the fourth quarter of 2017.

As for the yet-to-be-claimed square footage at the highly-sustainable building at 100 Binney, demand for office/laboratory space in the Greater Boston market, which is the top life science market in the U.S., practically guarantees a smooth stabilization period. The current vacancy rate for Class A space in the metro area is just 8.7 percent, according to a first quarter report by commercial real estate services firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. And in East Cambridge, home to Alexandria Center and 40 percent of Greater Boston’s life sciences buildings, more numbers tell the story: rents increased 4 percent to $62.77 per square-foot in the first quarter, marking one of the highest asking rates in the Boston area.

“Demand is coming from multi-nationals, both life science and technology companies entering the market, to newly public clinical-stage drug companies, to well-capitalized venture-backed firms. All are desiring a close proximity to MIT and the amenity-rich Kendall Square neighborhood surrounding the campus,” Tom Andrews, executive vice president & regional market director with Alexandria, said during the company’s first quarter earnings call on April 28.

And Alexandria has other factors working in its favor. “[100 Binney St.] is the only shovel-ready commercial development site in Kendall Square at this time,” Andrews added. “So based on this, we expect to be able to announce one or more additional large lease deals in the coming quarters at Alexandria Center at Kendall Square.”

Alexandria is in no danger of losing its status as the largest REIT focused on collaborative science campuses in urban innovation clusters in the U.S.  Earlier this month, the company announced that it had broken ground on Seattle’s 287,000-square-foot Alexandria Center at 400 Dexter Ave., where Juno Therapeutics Inc. will maintain its headquarters and R&D center. And there’s more to come. Roughly one year ago, Alexandria acquired a 1.2-acre development site zoned for 300,000 square feet at 500 Townsend in San Francisco’s SoMa technology district.