Biotech Firm Plans New San Diego Headquarters at Alexandria Property

Lou Hirsh

January 24, 2022

Singular Genomics Leases More Than 200,000 Square Feet at Developer’s Campus in High-Demand Torrey Pines Enclave

Biotech firm Singular Genomics Systems Inc. has leased more than 200,000 square feet at a planned campus redevelopment by landlord Alexandria Real Estate Equities in San Diego’s high-demand Torrey Pines life science hub.

The San Diego-based maker of gene sequencing technologies preleased 208,666 square feet in two buildings planned by Alexandria as part of a redevelopment of its campus off North Torrey Pines Road at Science Park Road. Singular plans to relocate its headquarters from a building in the existing portion of the campus that is slated to be demolished, with the new space to be completed in November 2024, according to a Jan. 19 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Filings with the city show Alexandria, whose portfolio of more than 38 million square feet places it among the nation’s largest biotech real estate owners, is planning an extensive redevelopment of the 22-acre campus. Plans for the One Alexandria Square campus call for it to go to nine buildings from six, with three new office structures and two new retail and amenity buildings.

Two office buildings and other elements are slated to be demolished at the campus, which was originally built in 1971. Alexandria obtained city entitlements for the project in September 2021 and plans to begin construction of the new buildings in August after demolition of the older structures is completed.

Alexandria is among several landlords now redeveloping older properties to accommodate rising tenant demand in Torrey Pines, an area of northern La Jolla where the region’s biotech industry first formed in the late 1950s and which remains among the region’s most expensive office neighborhoods. Dwindling space and persistent tight vacancies have spurred biotech tenants to find accommodations in other San Diego neighborhoods, including University Town Center and Sorrento Mesa, during the past decade.
Alexandria this month acquired the 33-year-old Costa Verde Center retail property in UTC for $125 million and plans to build a life science campus there spanning 680,000 square feet.

Alexandria and Singular officials did not immediately respond to CoStar News’ requests for comment on the new Torrey Pines lease. The regulatory filing said Singular’s lease has an initial term of 144 months at an annual rate of $64.80 per square foot. It will also pay $24 million for certain tenant improvements.

A new report from brokerage Colliers International noted that demand for San Diego life science space is 3.5 times higher than historical averages, with nearly 4 million square feet of office space throughout the region now in the planning process for conversion to biotech space.

“Landlords continue to repurpose under-performing office and flex buildings to life science [properties] featuring wet-lab and other biotech improvements,” said Ron Miller, a senior vice president at Colliers, in the report.