Big San Jose office complex eyes biotech amid COVID

Big San Jose office complex eyes biotech amid COVID

SAN JOSE — The owners of a big office complex in north San Jose are now actively marketing the project to life sciences companies amid a surge in demand for space by biotech firms and companies in related fields.

Assembly at North First, located at a choice San Jose site, is being offered as a Silicon Valley campus for life sciences companies, a move that expands its original mission as a modern tech campus.

The 27-acre office and research complex is a wide-ranging renovation and redevelopment that so far has created about 300,100 square feet of modern office spaces in three buildings.

Brokers Michael Rosendin, Craig Fordyce, and Shane Minnis of Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm, are seeking tenants for Assembly at North First.

“From a market standpoint, we are promoting the project as being able to accommodate life sciences companies,” said Minnis, a vice president with Colliers International.

Developers ProspectHill Group, SKS Partners, and Invesco Real Estate are leading the redevelopment of the campus, which eventually could total more than 1.3 million square feet in north San Jose.

“Ideal for medical device and life science” is how one marketing brochure touts Assembly at North First. The brochure also lists about 36 life sciences companies with operations in the vicinity of the complex, including titans such as Varian, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Abbott, and Boston Scientific. The brochure adds, “Be in good company.”

The complex is at the corner of North First Street and Headquarters Way, and also has a frontage on Rose Orchard Way. It’s a short distance from a key junction of the light rail line at North First and Tasman Drive.

“We are marketing to both the tech and life sciences sectors,” said Fordyce, an executive vice president with Colliers.

The project is being marketed in a way that fits with the new economic realities ushered in by the coronavirus.

“Life sciences is one of the few industries that isn’t being affected by COVID, and is in fact in greater demand because of the coronavirus,” Fordyce said.

The existing buildings in Assembly at North First total, respectively, 115,200 square feet, 98,700 square feet, and 86,200 square feet.

The building sizes can potentially enable the kind of flexibility that tenants may be seeking in the era of the coronavirus.

That means the buildings feature enough wide-open spaces to allow people to mingle more closely or to separate, depending on work needs and preferences. The buildings could be leased as a complete group to one tenant, or rented individually to multiple tenants.

“The buildings all have large floor plates, which means you can be under one roof, under multiple roofs,” Minnis said. “There is a lot of flexibility.”

Multiple types of tenants, including tech firms, have decided part of their response to the coronavirus is to scale back their dramatic expansions. That reluctance is one factor behind the marketing pivot for Assembly at North First.

“Life sciences and biotech are among the few industries that are still actively looking for space in today’s environment,” Minnis said.


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