It's Confirmed! Merck & Co. Inks Huge Space in the Bay Area

It's Confirmed! Merck & Co. Inks Huge Space in the Bay Area November 30, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO – Merck & Co. has cut a deal with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. to build its new west coast research facility in the 200 block of East Grand Avenue in the heart of the Bay Area.

Merck will be erecting a nine-story, 294,000 square foot facility with research space and office space in mind. In a statement, Alexandria said the space would also be rentable, although there was no indication Merck was planning to lease part of the space out to other biotech companies upon completion.

Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and ready for occupancy by 2019. Alexandria said the plans are for the building to meet LEED Platinum certification standards.

The new facility will serve as Merck’s west coast hub. The pharma giant has been operating out of a temporary location and had been looking for a permanent spot in South San Francisco. Merck’s presence in South San Francisco will put the company in close proximity to other notable pharma giants, including Roche ’s Genentech , Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson .

Early design plans for the Merck space will include open green space to promote health and wellness as well as function as an outdoor event space. The site is also expected to include a 300-seat auditorium, a fully equipped fitness center and a “lively café and terrace with waterfront views designed to enhance innovation, productivity and collaboration,” Alexandria said.

The new facility will also offer Merck's employees convenient access to neighborhood businesses in downtown South San Francisco, as well as to the city's new mixed-use, transit-oriented neighborhood, Alexandria said this morning, Alexandria said.

The South San Francisco area has about 10 million square feet of life science research space now, with more than half of that already in use. The Bay area is one of the most innovative hubs for the pharma and biotech industries. Not only are the larger companies taking over space, but so are many medium and smaller companies. The larger companies are attracted to the work being done by smaller companies.

A number of developments have sprung up in the area to provide homes for these innovative companies, including BioMed Realty’s Gateway of the Pacific project—a proposed 1.3 million square foot campus that will include ample office and laboratory space. The first phase of the project is scheduled to develop about 500,000 square feet. Another life sciences development in the area is The Cove, one of the biggest real estate developments of life science industries in the Bay Area. The Cove broke ground last year.

The South San Francisco site is not the only facility Merck is opening. Across the country, in the other thriving biotech hub of Boston, the company has plans to open a microbiome research and development site. The proposed site is one of three that Merck operates in the Cambridge area. Additionally, the company has a 300,000 square-foot facility in Boston’s Longwood Medical and Academic Area and of course maintains a presence in the dense biotech hub of Kendall Square in Cambridge.

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