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Spec Life Science Project Worth More Than $100M

DEVELOPMENT: Trammell Crow Tops Off New Building

Trammell Crow Company is entering the San Diego life science real estate market with construction of a 117,000-square-foot lab/office building in Sorrento Valley.

The four-story Vista Sorrento Labs passed a milestone in early September with topping-off ceremonies and is on schedule for completion by summer 2024, said Chris Tipre, principal and San Diego market lead for Trammell Crow Company.

Chris Tipre
Principal and San Diego Market Lead
Trammell Crow Company

Tipre declined to give details on the cost of the project, but said it was more than $100 million.

“A project of this type can range from $1,000 to $1,300 per square foot,” Tipre said. “It’s a sizable investment in the Mira Mesa market.”

Although the building itself is in the Sorrento Mesa submarket, Tipre said he considers it to be part of the greater Mira Mesa community.

The new project is going up on the site of what had been a traditional office building that Trammell Crow demolished.

“It’s situated very prominently on Vista Sorrento Parkway directly visible and accessible to the 805 freeway,” Tipre said.

Staying Flexible

Designed by Ware Malcomb with Swinerton as the general contractor, the building has 32,000-square-foot column-free floor plates, and 16-foot floor-to-ceiling glass windows with 20,000 square feet of leasable space on the first floor, 29,000 square feet on the second floor, and 34,000 square feet on the third and fourth floors.

The building is targeted to receive a LEED Gold certification for its sustainability. It has electric vehicle charging stations, bike storage, photovoltaic panels, drought tolerant landscaping with drip irrigation systems, energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems and a cool white roof made of materials that reduce heat gain.

The building also has a courtyard of about an acre that includes outdoor conferencing areas. The builder plans to add a fitness center.

The interior of the building will be left in shell condition until someone leases the space.

“We focused on it as a brand-new, first-generation lab and office building,” Tipre said. “We wanted to make sure we pulled out all the stops and kept it flexible for the wide range of tenants that work in San Diego.”

The building is designed to be half office, half labs, but could be up to a 60-40 lab to office ratio, Tipre said. An existing parking structure was retained but is being upgraded to better match the look of the new building.

Trammel Crow built Vista Sorrento Labs on spec with no tenants lined up, but Tipre said interest has been strong among perspective tenants.

“Depending on what they need, we can work to accommodate that,” Tipre said. “The building is set up for ultimate flexibility.”

Market Awaits Revival

The life science real estate market has cooled, but Tipre said that it is starting to pick up heading into 2024.

“Where we’re at now is demand has kind of retreated to be in line with historical averages,” Tipre said. “It’s not where it was, but there’s still great drivers and fundamentals here and long-term, we want to continue investing in it.”

San Diego continues to be a highly competitive market for life science real estate, according to Tipre.

“We were pushed to do something great because the (life science) community is strong, and we like it. We want to be part of the strong competition overall. We want to see our competitors succeed as well. Everyone leasing up their space is good for San Diego.”

Tipre said Trammell Crow has two other life science projects and a multifamily project planned in San Diego, but he declined to give details.

Trammell Crow Company

Founded:  1948
Headquarters:  Dallas
CEO:  Business overseen by  Danny Queenan, CEO of CBRE Real Estate Investments
Business: Developer
Number of employees:  700
Website:  trammellcrow.com
Contact:  Tom Bak, senior managing director, TCC’s Newport Beach office, 949-477-4700
Notable:  Trammell Crow Company had $17.1 billion of projects in process and $13.4 billion in pipeline, as of June 30


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