Private investment firm GI Partners recently announced the acquisition of several life sciences properties on behalf of its Essential Tech + Science Fund (ETS Fund). Since its launch last year, the ETS Fund has acquired 18 properties that total 2.5 million square feet, while it continues to invest in a diverse portfolio of data centers, life sciences properties and “Always On” facilities across key U.S. markets.
The recently acquired life sciences portfolio incorporates more than 407,000 square feet and includes properties that are located in some of the best markets for life sciences in the U.S.
Shopping in the Largest Life Sciences Market in the Country
One of the four properties purchased is Blackstone Science Square in Cambridge, Mass. GI Partners reportedly acquired this asset from The Carlyle Group for $151 million — a notable markup from the $80 million that Carlyle paid for it in 2019.
According to CommercialEdge data, the stabilized, highly functional lab building encompasses 78,672 square feet of premium Boston office space across four stories and is an adaptive reuse of the industrial structure that was originally completed in the early 1900s. Specifically, the property was converted to office space in 2014 and was subsequently further adapted to accommodate life sciences tenants.
As recently as last year, Siena Construction completed a 13,000-square-foot laboratory and office renovation project on the third floor for life sciences firm Empress Therapeutics. The property is home to several prominent biotechnology companies, including Strand Therapeutics and HiFiBiO Therapeutics.
“Cambridge remains among the most innovative life sciences destinations in the world, and we are excited to add Blackstone Science Square to our growing portfolio,” said John Curran, principal of GI Partners. “We believe a Cambridge address is incredibly valuable to a large segment of the demand pool, and the building’s proximity to some of the industry’s foundational research institutions reinforces that powerful cluster effect.”
Notably, Blackstone Science Square is not GI’s first foray into the greater Boston life sciences real estate market: Earlier this year, the firm acquired a majority stake in Related Fund Management at 451 D St. in South Boston. GI also recently purchased two properties that are due for office-to-lab conversion: 51 Melcher St. in Fort Point and 3 Burlington Woods in Burlington.
Tapping into the Bay Area’s Fastest-Growing Life Sciences Cluster
The Peninsula Lab Collection represents the three other properties in the recently acquired life sciences portfolio and includes assets located in South San Francisco and San Carlos, Calif. Boasting invaluable access to the Bay Area’s most dense ecosystem of life sciences companies and intellectual capital — as well as convenient proximity to both UCSF and Stanford University — these submarkets have maintained a near 0% vacancy rate, while simultaneously claiming the fastest-growing life sciences cluster on the peninsula.
The scaled portfolio of stabilized Class A lab properties was 100% leased at the time of sale and provides tenants with modern and flexible lab infrastructure.
“We are thrilled to add Blackstone Science Square and the Peninsula Lab Collection to the growing portfolio of the ETS Fund,” said John Sheputis, managing director at GI Partners and head of the ETS Fund. “Cambridge and the Bay Area remain two of the nation’s most dynamic and growing real estate markets for innovation and research in the health care space. These buildings further demonstrate our emphasis on delivering state-of-the-art lab infrastructure and world-class service to high-growth tenants in key markets.”
Property image courtesy of CommercialEdge.