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August 05, 2014

Amgen may be out, but BioMed Realty's South Lake Union project is going up

Puget Sound Business Journal

Marc Stiles

Construction has begun on a new lab/office building in South Lake Union, and Novo Nordisk has agreed to lease a portion of the seven-story project at 500 Fairview Ave. N.

The building is the second phase of the Fairview Research Center, a BioMed Realty Trust property BioMed has leased part of the second phase of Fairview Research Center to Novo Nordisk, according to a document that was recorded last month with King County. In addition, the city of Seattle last week issued a construction permit to BioMed. GLY Construction of Bellevue is the general contractor.

The project, which has been in the works for about five years, will have nearly 63,000 square feet of lab space and 42,000 square feet of office space, according to the master-use permit that the city issued, and the value of the construction work is listed at $25.2 million on the building permit.

The construction start is welcome news for Seattle's biotech industry, which was dealt a blow last week when Amgen announced that it is closing its large lab/office facility on Seattle's waterfront and a smaller outpost in Bothell. Around 660 people work for Amgen in the Puget Sound region. The closings are part of a plan to eliminate up to 2,900 jobs company-wide by the end of next year. Coincidentally, the city issued the construction permit to BioMed on the same day that Amgen made its announcement. Officials of BioMed, a publicly traded company, did not respond to inquiries, and Novo Nordisk Senior Manager of Facilities and Sourcing Theresa Proctor on Tuesday referred questions to company officials in New Jersey, who were not immediately available. Until the Amgen announcement, the Seattle-area biotech industry was on a hot streak, with capital pouring into companies via venture equity, grants and initial public offerings. During 2013, biomedical companies in Washington state raised more than $769.8 million, according to the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, with another $576 million being invested through about the first six months of 2014.

New lab space in South Lake Union is almost non-existent. The market is tight because life-science companies want to be near the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and the Allen Institute for Brain Science, which is building a new facility in the neighborhood.

"With one or two exceptions, there just isn't any landlord-direct or sublease spaces available," according to a recent report by commercial real estate company Kidder Mathews.

For the full story, go to Puget Sound Business Journal .

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