The interior of a mustard-colored three-story office building on George Street will transform into a suite of New Haven’s newest biotech laboratories, answering calls from city developers to grow the Elm City’s biotech hub.
University Properties acquired a 350 George St. plot in mid-November for roughly $16 million from Carter Winstanley — the developer of several biotech properties on George Street and Science Hill, said Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81, city economic development administrator. UP had originally planned to lease approximately 100,000 square feet of Alexion’s 100 College St. headquarters — developed by Winstanley and constructed over the last three years — to the School of Medicine for its use, Nemerson said. But as the property neared completion, Alexion requested the entire building and Yale opted to purchase 350 George St. instead, Nemerson added.
As Alexion gears up for its official opening Feb. 29, City Hall officials interviewed expressed optimism about the prospect of yet more biotech in the Elm City.
“The whole George Street spine around the medical school is becoming a tech and biotech neighborhood,” Nemerson said. “It’s all part of something that might be in Cambridge or another city that is establishing technology and biotech as a part of its core industry.”
Yale’s plans for the property, which housed Frontier Communications before Winstanley purchased the building last October, will add to the city’s growing reputation as a biotech hub, City Director of Communications Laurence Grotheer said.
350 George St. joins the nine-story tower at 300 George St., which was converted into lab space by Winstanley in 2007 as a resource for Yale School of Medicine researchers looking for space to conduct experiments. Just last month, Alexion moved into its new 14-story glass-faced headquarters across the street from UP’s latest purchase.
Nemerson added that Yale’s expansion further into the city will increase the likelihood that the 350 George St. building will be in use for the long term, noting that Yale often spends more money per square foot on its buildings and uses them for longer spans of time than other owners. He said the expansion will also grow the city coffers, as Yale — which typically spends more money on construction — must pay building permits that increase with the price of construction. Although Yale properties are partially tax-exempt, Nemerson said many private developers also pay partial taxes for seven years, as per city regulations.
“What Yale is doing we have been thinking and planning for years,” Nemerson said. “We hope to see many, many buildings and hundreds of square feet of biotech space in the future.”
The recent acquisition will also contribute to the city’s vision for vibrant new business and commerce to link Union Station with the Downtown area. Nemerson added that he hopes Randy Salvatore — a property developer seeking to build in this area — and Winstanley will lead the effort in growing the region’s biotech cluster.
As for the labs at 350 George St., Deputy Press Secretary Karen Peart said the details of the School of Medicine’s use of the space have not yet been determined.
Curtis Perry MED ’18 said that though the School of Medicine has not yet announced the acquisition of new lab space on George Street, sufficient lab space that is not on West Campus is a scarce commodity.
Winstanley still owns a four-story parking lot near Alexion’s new building that will service the biotech firm’s employees, Nemerson said.