Large life science companies lean on big Bay Area landlord to kick out smaller …

Large life sciences companies are leaning on one of the Bay Area’s large biotech landlords to kick out smaller tenants so the bigger companies can expand into the space.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., which controls more than 3 million square feet of space from San Francisco’s Mission Bay biotech enclave to Mountain View, is negotiating as many as four buyouts of smaller biotech companies’ leases at the request of larger companies, Chairman and CEO Joel Marcus said.

Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) life sciences unit, for example, will expand into roughly 35,000 square feet in Mountain View, Marcus said, after asking Alexandria (NYSE: ARE) to dispatch the previous, smaller tenant. That buyout, he said, was completed last month.


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Alexandria has wrapped up one buyout in Seattle — with a life sciences company taking over space from a tech company — and is fielding an avalanche of buyout requests in Cambridge, Mass.

“The market is moving very fast in Cambridge, and in Mission Bay not quite as fast,” Marcus said.

Buyout requests are nothing new, Marcus said. But the “velocity” of the deals is growing, especially since the latter part of 2014, he said.

Across all regions, Alexandria is negotiating a dozen buyouts, Marcus said.

“It is unprecedented,” Marcus told the San Francisco Business Times at last week’s Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in Philadelphia.

The cutthroat battle comes against the backdrop of a white hot Bay Area real estate market that includes about 2 million square feet of lab demand in the Bay Area, Marcus said. At the same time, tech companies are on the hunt for some 10 million square feet.

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