Celera Properties JV Completes 1st Phase of Boston Life Science Redevelopment

Real Estate

A joint venture between Celera Properties and True North Management Group has completed the first phase of the 250,000-square-foot Andover Technology Park. The redevelopment project involves the repurposing of two buildings within the Woodland Park office campus in Andover, Mass., into a life science and innovation complex. 

Additionally, the partners leased 42,000 square feet of speculative lab spaces to four tenants. The Belgian biologics conglomerate Univercells N.A. was the first firm to secure space at the property in March 2023, planning to use it as its U.S. headquarters. CBRE Executive Vice President Don Domoretsky, alongside Vice President Alex Plaisted and Associate Jack Scribner, spearhead the leasing efforts at the campus.

Revivals and redevelopments

Celera acquired the assets at 300 and 600 Federal St. in 2021 for $28.4 million, according to CommercialEdge information, with the express purpose of converting the properties into a life science campus. The developers also secured $35.3 million from OceanFirst Bank for the campus’ purchase and redevelopment.

Completed in 1996 and 1998, the buildings housed office space used by engineering, software and communications firms. The redevelopment process began in March 2022, with VIVO Arch serving as architect, AHA Consulting Engineering as mechanical engineer and Timberline Construction as general contractor.

READ ALSO: Emerging Life Science Hubs Stake a Claim

Phase One entailed the core and shell redevelopment of the property at 600 Federal St. Exterior renovations included a new façade, while the building’s interior saw the addition of speculative lab suites, a new lobby connected to an outdoor patio and a fitness center. Additionally, the developers upgraded the building’s power delivery capabilities.  

The second phase of Andover Technology Park is currently underway at 300 Federal Street, a former 120,000-square-foot office building. The redevelopment involves the construction of two 10,000-square-foot lab suites and a shell space. That project is expected to deliver this summer.

When complete, the campus will become part of Andover’s 3 million-square-foot life science cluster, which includes local campuses of Sarepta Therapeutics and Pfizer.

With direct frontage to Interstate 93, the campus is 23 miles north of downtown Boston, while Cambridge’s Kendall Square mega cluster lies 1 mile west across the Charles River.

The office sector’s diamond in the rough

Building lab spaces in Boston’s suburbs has been a mainstay of developers in the area, by way of their ability to attract the city’s top tenants and talent minus the hassles of commuting into Boston or Cambridge.

Recent headlines from suburban Boston’s life science sector include Novo Nordisk’s lease of 165,940 square feet at the Alexandria Center for Life Science – Waltham Campus, as well as the opening of Riverwalk Labs, a 168,000-square-foot campus in Bedford.

This all reflects positively on Boston’s office market overall fundamentals. The metro had the largest pipeline in the nation as of October, according to CommercialEdge research, with 13.7 million square feet underway. Meanwhile, the sales volume reached $1.46 billion over the same period, only surpassed by Manhattan’s $1.71 billion.

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