Ventas Reveals $800M in Projects for Research & Innovation Business

The four university-related developments, totaling 1.3 million square feet in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and St. Louis, are part of a $1.5 billion construction pipeline with Wexford Science & Technology.
Pitt Immune Transplant & Therapy Center Phase I. Image courtesy of Ventas

Ventas Inc. continues to make progress with the planned $1.5 billion pipeline of projects through its university-based Research & Innovation business. The REIT recently announced four new developments totaling $800 million and more than 1.3 million square feet to be built in partnership with university-focused real estate developer Wexford Science & Technology LLC at locations in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

In Pittsburgh, Ventas and Wexford will develop The Pitt Immune Transplant & Therapy Center, a $280 million, trophy-quality historic redevelopment. The University of Pittsburgh has preleased a portion of the 350,000-square-foot project to house the Immune Transplant and Therapy Center. The university’s long-term commitment brings the property’s prelease level up to 70 percent.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions. Image courtesy of Ventas

Ventas and Wexford have two projects totaling $400 million on tap in the thriving University City submarket in Philadelphia, including The College of Nursing and Health Professions, a 260,000-square-foot build-to-suit for Drexel University. The facility will allow Drexel to consolidate CNHP under one campus umbrella, relocating the college from its current home at Three Parkway and two other locations in Center City. Ventas also announced the Ventas-Wexford team’s plans for One uCity Square, an office and lab building that will be part of the Knowledge Community at uCity Square in Philadelphia. One uCity Square, which will feature 390,000 square feet of space, is already 40 percent preleased.

In St. Louis, the Ventas-Wexford team will develop 4210 Duncan, a 320,000-square-foot office building in the Washington University-affiliated Cortex Innovation Community. The project, which will mark Ventas’s fifth building in Cortex, will cost $115 million to realize.

Big picture

News of the four Ventas-Wexford projects in Pennsylvania and St. Louis come roughly four months after Ventas announced its $1.5 billion R&I Pipeline, which will ultimately yield 10 projects. The arrangement extends Ventas’s exclusive partnership with Wexford—which became an independent company soon after Ventas’s $1.5 billion acquisition of Wexford’s real estate assets from affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII LP—through 2029.

4210 Duncan. Image courtesy of Ventas

Ventas and Wexford expect to deliver the Pitt ITTC in two phases, both due for completion in 2021. Drexel’s CNHP is on track to open in 2022, as is the One uCity Square property. The partners anticipate bringing 4210 Duncan to the market by the close of 2021. During Ventas’s first quarter 2019 earnings conference call on April 26, Debra Cafaro, CEO of Ventas Inc., said the R&I Pipeline is the REIT’s number-one capital allocation priority and that all the projects will likely have gotten underway by July 2020.