Alexandria Real Estate Equities to Develop 800,000 SF Mixed-Use Technology Campus in Seattle

by Kristin Harlow

SEATTLE — The City of Seattle has selected Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. (NYSE: ARE) to develop an approximately 800,000-square-foot mixed-use campus known as the Mercer Mega Block. The life sciences and technology-driven project will be built on the last large, undeveloped site — nearly three acres ­— in Seattle’s Lake Union submarket.

Alexandria won the bid for the project by agreeing to pay $143.5 million for the land and to address homelessness, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The Seattle City Council approved the development plan on Monday night. The newspaper reports that total project costs could reach $305 million.

Plans call for two 13-story office and laboratory towers as well as a 30,000-square-foot community center. Alexandria also intends to develop on-site affordable housing, a farm-to-table restaurant, ground-floor retail space and a pedestrian-only walkway on 8th Avenue surrounded by public spaces with outdoor seating.

“We envision our Mercer Mega Block development as a mission-critical campus that can drive the cross-pollination of life science and technology, spur world-class innovations to improve the human condition and significantly enhance the surrounding neighborhood,” says Joel Marcus, executive chairman and founder of Alexandria.

The company also says it has strong confidence in the Seattle market, citing a vacancy rate below 3 percent for Class A office space in Lake Union.

Pasadena, Calif.-based Alexandria, an urban office real estate investment trust, focuses on the operation and development of life science, technology and agtech campuses. Alexandria’s current Seattle asset base consists of nearly 1.5 million square feet of office and laboratory space. The company’s stock price closed at $153.90 per share on Tuesday, Sept. 17, up from $126.60 one year ago.

— Kristin Hiller

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