Lincoln Equities Group JV Buys 1.2 MSF Life Sciences Campus

The Princeton West Innovation Campus in central New Jersey is largely vacant at this point, but the region’s life sciences sector is active and strong.
Princeton West Innovation Campus. Image courtesy of Lincoln Equities Group

Lincoln Equities Group and H.I.G. Realty Partners have acquired a 433-acre, 1.2 million-square-foot life sciences campus in Hopewell, N.J. The seller was global biopharma giant Bristol Myers Squibb, which had occupied the campus till about 2018.

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The Princeton West Innovation Campus, just 7 miles from Princeton, N.J., features nine principal buildings consisting of clinical manufacturing space, biological laboratories and office space, plus freestanding R&D support space, storage facilities and a data center. It’s supported by a central utility complex that provides wastewater management, generator-backed electricity, chilled water and steam.

Onsite amenities include a full-service cafeteria, an 8,000-square-foot fitness center and a 28,000-square-foot freestanding child development center, plus multiple conference areas, including a 9,000-square-foot mansion, the property’s original building.

In July, PTC Therapeutics Inc. will begin occupying more than 200,000 square feet at the campus, including a biologics production facility and R&D buildings. The site can be expanded to total about 2.8 million square feet by way of 35 acres of additional developable land. The location is accessible to I-95, I-295 and Routes 1, 31 and 206, and is within 12 miles of three Amtrak stations.

The transaction’s dollar value was not disclosed. JLL has been tasked with marketing the property, which will be managed by LEG’s Life Sciences division.

Mergers drive entrepreneurship

LEG noted that it anticipates an influx of biopharma manufacturing investment at this property and elsewhere in New Jersey, as pharmaceutical and life sciences companies consider “reshoring” or expanding operations in the U.S., partly because of the ongoing public health crisis and calls to produce more essential drugs domestically.

The market for lab/R&D space in New Jersey has been benefitting from mergers and consolidations among large pharma companies, because these tend to result in downsizing, generating the proliferation of smaller pharma and biotech concerns, according to a recent life sciences report from Cushman & Wakefield. Meanwhile, the state’s universities and medical schools continue to graduate substantial numbers of life sciences professionals every year, currently more than 27,000.

The R&D/lab market is expected to tighten somewhat from its overall vacancy of 14.3 percent (on an inventory of about 17.7 million square feet), especially since there’s a limited quantity of new space in the development pipeline, again according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Last August, Thor Equities launched its life sciences platform with the $152 million acquisition of a 42-acre, 784,000-square-foot campus in Bridgewater, N.J. The seller was Advance Realty.