Stockdale Capital Partners is actively wooing life science firms to move to the reimagined Horton Plaza as work is about to begin on redevelopment of the former Nordstrom building.
A feasibility study commissioned by Stockdale found that Horton Plaza is ideally suited for life science companies.
“We’ve always anticipated having life science and technology as part of the product,” said Leo Divinsky, Stockdale Capital Partners director of asset management.
“It checks so many of the boxes these firms are looking for,” Divinsky said. “We feel like this is a great time to attract life science downtown.”
The report by Smith Group determined that the 10-acre former downtown shopping mall “has the necessary infrastructure and essential project elements to deliver sustainable, scalable and well-amenitized office space to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding life science sector.”
Campus at Horton
Renamed Campus at Horton, the project will initially have 700,000 square feet of office space and 300,000 square feet of restaurants, entertainment venues and retail shops.
Among characteristics that Smith Group said make the project attractive to life science companies are large floor plates of 40,000 square feet with some private patios, floor-to-ceiling heights of up to 18 feet, mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure designed for lab, lab support and offices, and a 44,000 square-foot subterranean delivery tunnel running throughout the campus that is 31-feet high.
“Having the ability to make deliveries through such a convenient means of accessing the site is huge,” Divinsky said.
Horton Plaza also has a direct tie-in to the Clearway Energy Center San Diego, which provides chilled water cooling within a four square-mile service area downtown, according to the company’s website.
A bonus is the parking garage, the largest downtown with 2,200 spaces.
The site also is attractive because of its proximity to San Diego International Airport and the trolley with a new connection to the University of California San Diego and UTC, Smith Group reported.
Divinsky said he expects little trouble in attracting tenants to Campus at Horton with demand for life science fueled by record levels of investment.
“The amount of venture capital funding that’s flowing into the San Diego life science sector is going to set all sorts of records this year,” Divinsky said.
Demand Expected to be Robust
As a result, Divinsky said he expects demand for life science space to skyrocket.
“We feel the demand for life science and technology (space) will be robust,” Divinsky said. “If you look at Boston/Cambridge, or the Bay Area, San Diego is definitely aligned to grow its life science presence and we feel downtown is the logical place for this migration.”
Agreeing with Divinsky is economist Alan Nevin of the Xpera Group.
“It’s gutsy for Stockdale to go in this direction but I think they’re on the right track,” Nevin said. “It’s obviously a brilliant location for young professionals who want to live downtown and be within walking distance of the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy and of course, our waterfront.”
Historically, life science companies have gone to UTC and environs to be near each other and the university.