By Sarah Trefethen
New York’s capacity for cutting-edge medicine got a 170,000 s/f boost this week.
A non-profit group founded by a number of local hospitals and universities has signed a 20-year lease at 101 Avenue of the Americas to operate a DNA sequencing lab.
The New York Genome Center will occupy the seven base floors of the Edward Minskoff-owned tower. The building was recently gut renovated when the sole tenant, SEIU 32BJ, the property service workers’ union, moved out.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the lease signing ceremony on Tuesday. Asking rents in the building are reportedly between $70 and $85 psf.
The new home for NYGC is another chapter in New York’s growth as a hub for science and technology. “As a long-term New York landlord and developer, we appreciate the positive impact that NYGC will have not only in our building, but also throughout the City and around the globe,” said Edward J. Minskoff. “We also are particularly excited to have an anchor tenant like NYGC at 101, a testament to the development and growth prospects in the Hudson Square area.”
The location was chosen after a year-long search of approximately 100 buildings, Nancy J. Kelley, the center’s executive director, said through a spokesperson.
Because of the need for load-bearing structures to support heavy scientific equipment, the center needed to find a space where it could create a “building within a building,” she said, and the look and feel of the building, its proximity to multiple subway stops and the Holland Tunnel, and the landlord’s reputation, were also factors.
“I think this is a landmark deal for the city,” said Paul Glickman, a vice chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle, who represented Edward J. Minskoff Equities in the deal. “Life science and biomedical uses are growing in New York — our intellectual capital is some of the best in the world.”
The flexible, 30,112 s/f floor plates and the building’s location have attracted potential tenants in a wide range of industries, Glickman said. The 15 upper stories, all around 15,000 s/f each, have not yet been leased.
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Bill Harvey represented the center, which also consulted with Jonathan Mechanic, chairman of Fried Frank’s real estate department, with help from Michael Rhee, special counsel, and Ryan Bathie, an associate at the firm.
“The center is expected to grow vigorously, from about 100 employees at the start to more than 500 employees within five years,” said Harvey. “The capacity to grow as rapidly as needed, and a location in the vicinity of vibrant Hudson Square that would draw employees to the center, were both critical requirements for this assignment.”
Minskoff is contributing close to $9 million to a $47 million build-out which is expected to be completed by mid-2013. In addition to sequencing, bio-informatics and research labs and computing equipment, the facility will include a ground-floor auditorium and café, training facilities, and administrative offices.
When it opens it will house 100 employees, according to the center, but the workforce is expected to grow to more than 500 over the first five years of operations.
The facility is within the boundaries of 1 Police Plaza and guarded by NYPD and Homeland Security personnel. Off-site data center services will be provided by Sabey’s nearby Intergate.Manhattan facility in the former Verizon building on Pearl Street.
Medical researchers hope that gene sequencing will lead to personalized medicine, treatments that are customized to an individual patient’s DNA.
According to an article published in the New York Times in March, some researchers believe modern computer processing power will soon bring the cost of gene sequencing in line with that of a standard blood test.
The Genome Center was founded in 2010 and began offering sequencing, bio-informatics, and data storage services in February of this year.
Kelley, the founding executive director of the center, was formerly a senior vice president for business development and strategic operations at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, where she led the one million square feet East River Science Park project.
She has also been a senior executive with Spaulding & Slye Colliers and Colliers International, in the life sciences group.
Institutional members of the center include: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Columbia University, Cornell University/Weill Cornell Medical College, The Jackson Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York University/NYU School of Medicine, North Shore-LIJ Health System, The Rockefeller University, Stony Brook University, and the Hospital for Special Surgery.