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San Diego
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Law Firm Moving Offices to $164M Life Sciences Campus

A Torrey Pines life science campus that’s still under construction will be the San Diego headquarters of a law firm that specializes in representing life science companies.

Cooley, with corporate headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, is moving its San Diego offices from Eastgate to the $164 million Boardwalk campus of Healthpeak Properties, a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) based in Irvine.

“Life sciences is and always has been the heartbeat of the Cooley San Diego operation, which is why this location is a dream come true,” said Michael Attanasio, a partner in charge of the firm’s San Diego operations.

Cooley has leased the full 74,000 square feet of a new building at 10265 Science Center Drive that is one of two new buildings Healthpeak is adding to its Boardwalk campus.

The Campus

Boardwalk includes an existing 76,408 square-foot building that is being redeveloped, and a second new building of 41,302 square feet.

Cooley will have a staff of about 235 including about 100 lawyers in the Boardwalk project, Attanasio said.

Torrey Pines is the center of the life science/bio-tech industry in San Diego County and Attanasio said Cooley’s move to Torrey Pines is “the obvious next step” in the firm’s evolution in San Diego.

“We loved our location. We loved our relationship there in our current building. We wouldn’t have been there for 20 years if we didn’t,” Attanasio said. “It’s time for a new opportunity. We view the Boardwalk project to be absolutely world class, second to none in terms of our client base.”

Construction at Boardwalk started in January and is set for completion in the second quarter of 2021.

In all, the three buildings at 10265, 10275 and 10285 Science Center Drive will have 195,000 square feet of space. The site is on a mesa overlooking Interstate 5.

“We expect this to be Healthpeak’s flagship life science campus in San Diego,” said Michael Dorris, senior vice president of life sciences.

“We have other (San Diego) developments in the planning,” Dorris said, although he declined to say where.

“San Diego is one of the leading hubs in the country for life sciences and we expect to continue to grow here,” Dorris said.

Healthpeak Properties also owns Pacific Corporate Park in Sorrento Valley and has projects in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and San Jose.

Aside from the building Cooley leased, the rest of the Boardwalk campus will likely be about half office and half lab, Dorris said.

The Building

Amenities will include a gourmet café, conference center, 5,000 square-foot fitness center and a one-acre park with outdoor meeting and collaboration spaces.

“There will be a robust amount of outdoor seating and meeting areas,” Dorris said, with the park between the buildings at 10265 and 10275 Science Center Drive.

The building façades will incorporate View Smart Windows, a new technology that automatically changes tint depending on outside conditions to reduce heat and glare without blocking views.

“The intent is to remove the need for blinds,” Dorris said, which tend to be left down once they’re lowered, blocking natural light.

Many of the windows also can be opened to allow for natural ventilation.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the buildings will have touchless door entrances and additional filtration systems, Dorris said.

Attanasio said the Broadway “creates more collaborative areas for attorneys to sit and talk and work outside their office.”

Boardwalk is “a generational change in terms of all that’s going to come with the package.”

“We think the architecture, the openness of the space and the way the amenities are going to be structured with the way the workforce is evolving in terms of office use, we just think they really hit the target,” Attanasio said.


Gone will be the huge chunk of space that’s devoted to paper files, replaced by digital.

“Lawyers in my generation used to call war rooms, stacks and stacks of folders, none of that is necessary anymore.” Attanasio said.

Details on the interior space are in flux, but Attanasio said it will likely have fewer and smaller private offices.

“The idea that senior lawyers, partners who have big corner offices with the door closed, those days I think are over in the modern office plan,” Attanasio said. “The emphasis will be on open areas, and frankly, talking to each other.”

The center takes its name for a boardwalk that links the three buildings and goes through the center building, Dorris said.

Construction of the Boardwalk comes when there is a heightened interest in life science as a result of the pandemic, said Andrew Huggett of CBRE. Huggett, JEB Stirnkorb and Rich Dansei, also of CBRE, brokered the lease on behalf of Healthpeak Properties.

“The timing’s right for this project,” Huggett said. “The life science market has proven to be kind of a guiding light getting through this situation. The activity has not slowed down at all.” 


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