SF Office Development Changes Hands

Phase 3 Real Estate Partners has acquired Centennial Towers, a Class A office development, from Myers Development.
Cornerstone - Gerber

John Gerber

Phase 3 Real Estate Partners has acquired Centennial Towers, a 340,000-square-foot Class A office development that Myers Development was developing in San Francisco, Calif.

Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers’ Alternative Investments Group originated a $144.3 million loan to finance the acquisition of the 12-story building on behalf of its institutional client.

Located near Airport Boulevard, adjacent to San Bruno Mountain, the building will be converted into a state-of-the-art life science facility and rebranded as Genesis.

“There were multiple aspects about Centennial Tower that appealed to Cornerstone. Firstly, the building is Class A product with a striking design and high visibility,” John Gerber, vice president, Alternative Investments Group at Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, told Commercial Property Executive. “Secondly, market fundamentals in the Bay Area Life Science real estate market are extremely favorable, particularly in South San Francisco. And most importantly, P3RE’s vision and expertise working with Life Science tenants made the repositioning to Genesis innovative and viable.”

The building offers easy access to Highway 101, which links downtown San Francisco to Silicon Valley, and public transportation via the San Bruno Cal Train.

The South San Francisco submarket is considered one of the nation’s top life sciences markets with nearly 100 biotech firms employing more than 14,000 people. The submarket’s vacancy rate was 0 percent as of Q3 2015, while overall vacancies in the San Francisco Peninsula life science market were just 0.9 percent.

According to Gerber, with limited future supply projected, Centennial Towers is well-positioned to benefit from the market’s highly favorable demand-supply fundamentals.

“Market fundamentals in San Francisco and the Peninsula are positive across nearly every asset class, ranging from single-family residential to hotels, and capital has followed suit,” Gerber said. “As a result, finding value-add opportunities is difficult for everyone. Financing a repositioning that includes a true change in use that meets market demand combined with a sponsor such as P3RE that can clearly execute the business plan was an attractive proposition.”

The acquisition represents the fourth acquisition by P3RE in 2015 under its strategy to acquire, manage, and reposition well-located properties in select core life science markets on the West Coast.

“South San Francisco is one of the world’s major Life Science hubs and the surrounding area is primarily dedicated to Life Science uses,” Gerber said. “The traditional office market is extremely strong in San Francisco and down the Peninsula, but this specific location is less appealing to office users because of its Life Science focus. The immediate neighborhood is vital to the repositioning plan because it is one of only a few Bay Area locations where Life Science tenants truly want to be.”

The borrower was represented by HFF’s debt placement team, which was led by senior managing director Tim Wright, managing director Todd Sugimoto and director Zack Holderman.