Healthpeak Properties is starting construction on a $58.2 million life science building in Sorrento Mesa that will become part of a four-building complex the company owns on Directors Place.
“We just continue to see historically high demand for life science real estate in San Diego,” said Michael Dorris, senior vice president and co-head of life science for Healthpeak Properties.
“The requirements we see in the pipeline continue to grow and capital funding for life science companies continues to boom,” Dorris said. “For the first half of 2021, life science companies brought in something like $3.3 billion. That comes close to matching the entire year for 2020, which was a record breaking year at $3.8 billion.”
Based in Irvine, Healthpeak Properties in July broke ground for an $80 million life science building, Callan Ridge, adjacent to the Torrey Pines Science Park, a five-building campus owned by Healthpeak.
Healthpeak also is finishing construction of Boardwalk, a $164 million life science campus, also in Torrey Pines, with tenant improvements expected to be done by the end of the year.
Both the Callan Ridge and Boardwalk were leased well-before they finished construction.
So too, the new building under construction for Healthpeak Properties by Swinerton at 4930 Directors Place has already been leased to Sorrento Therapeutics. Sorrento Therapeutics also leases most of the other three other Healthpeak buildings on Directors Place, Dorris said.
“We are super excited to continue to grow our relationship with Sorrento Therapeutics,” Dorris said.
The 149,717 square-foot new Directors Point building will be built atop an 89,338 square-foot parking garage that is partially below ground level.
“It’s a beautifully designed building by Delawie,” Dorris said. “It will have incredible visibility from the 805 freeway.”
The project also will include a fitness center in an adjacent 2,300 square-foot building and a 1,100 square-foot stand-alone café, also adjacent to the main building.
Mike Asaro, principal of Delawie said the fitness center and café will be in separate buildings instead of part of the main structure so all of the available space in the primary building will be available for life science projects.
Separating them also gives workers a place to go that’s a little away from their usual work space, Asaro said.
The site of the new Directors Place building “is the last undeveloped lot within a master planned development in the Sorrento Mesa area that was initially started in the late 80s,” Asaro said.
The new five-story structure will be the tallest building in the vicinity and is designed to mimic the terracing of the hillside, Asaro said.
“We wanted to think how to make it fit into the landscape better,” Asaro said. “There’s a lot of shifting of floorplates. That’s creating overhangs and a lot of balconies at each level.”
The design also uses a lot of glass. The exterior that is not glass is earth tone fiber cement panels and metal panels.
The top of the building is wrapped in a band of metal panels that are burnt umber in color to help the structure blend in with the environment.
Levels one and four have floor-to-ceiling windows.
“It has this sort of flow-through lobby that connects the east side to the west side,” Asaro said. “The concept of the layering of the building was brought into the lobby itself.”
That comes partly by means of a cast-in-place sedimentary wall that resembles the hillside.
The building “is very aesthetically pleasing but it also looks very natural in its surroundings. The colors they chose complements the hillside rather than standing out,” said Melissa Plaskonos, vice president of Project Management Advisors which is overseeing the project.
The predominant colors are warm grays and terra cotta, Plaskonos said, “with a lot of glazing (glass) which is going to make the building amazing on the inside because of all the natural light they’re going to get in both the labs and the offices.”
Structurally, the 4930 Directors Place building “is kind of a hybrid where it’s got a below grade parking structure with a steel building above it,” said Mike Berryhill, Swinerton division manager.
“The most exciting part for us as a contractor is that the life science market is just really on fire right now in San Diego,” Berryhill said. “We obviously want to be in the middle of that, the thick of that. This project is really perfect for us because it’s a repeat project with Healthpeak.”
Swinerton is the general contractor on Healthpeak’s Boardwalk project.
“It’s our exact same team. Everybody’s kind of just moving down the street,” Berryhill said.
CEO: Tom Herzog
Business: Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
Revenue: $2.1 billion 2020; $1.6 billion 2019
Stock: PEAK on NYSE
Notable: Healthpeak Properties has more than $20 billion in real estate holdings in life science campuses, medical office buildings and senior housing