The 1.2 million-square-foot former Bristol-Myers Squibb campus in Hopewell spans 33 buildings with research and development, pharmaceutical manufacturing and support spaces.
By Joshua Burd
A joint venture has acquired the 1.2 million-square-foot Bristol-Myers Squibb campus in Hopewell, seeking to attract new tenants amid continued growth in the life sciences sector.
The investors, Lincoln Equities Group and H.I.G. Realty Partners, announced that they’ve closed on the 433-acre, 33-building campus at 311 Pennington Rocky Hill Road. The new owners, working alongside brokers with JLL, are now marketing a wealth of existing research and development and biologic and pharmaceutical manufacturing space, as well as build-to-suit opportunities on the property.
JLL brokered the sale of the campus. Terms were not disclosed.
“Given the current public health crisis, we anticipate pharmaceutical and life sciences manufacturers to consider ‘reshoring’ and expanding operations in the U.S.,” said Joel Bergstein, president of LEG, which is based in Rutherford. “This spacious, modern BMS campus — located in the center of ‘Einstein’s Alley’ in Central New Jersey — is a prime location for continued innovation and expansion.”
Now known as Princeton West Innovation Campus, the property is seven miles from Princeton and in the heart of the life sciences corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. Bristol-Myers Squibb said in 2016 that it would vacate the campus as part of a broader reshuffling of its research and manufacturing facilities nationwide, kicking off the site’s transition to a multitenant research and development campus.
The property’s brokerage team has since attracted tenants such as PTC Therapeutics Inc., which occupies more than 200,000 square feet. After signing a long-term lease last summer with BMS, PTC has since backfilled a biologics production facility and supporting R&D buildings.
“This campus presents an opportunity to capitalize on the growing demand for pharmaceutical-grade lab space both locally and nationally,” said Ira Weidhorn, Co-Head of H.I.G. Realty Partners. “We look forward to building around the strong in-place anchor tenancy of PTC and leveraging H.I.G.’s real estate expertise and bio-health experience to enhance the execution of the value-add business plan.”
The joint venture noted that the site is also zoned for commercial manufacturing and features 35 acres of additional development opportunity, according to a news release. The campus can expand to roughly 2.8 million square feet, they said, noting that the development parcel offers infrastructure with fully stubbed utilities to allow for a compressed development timeline.
Currently, the property features nine principal buildings consisting of state-of-the-art clinical manufacturing, plug-and-play biological laboratories and office space, plus freestanding R&D support space, storage facilities and a global data and command center. It is supported by a central utility complex, which provides wastewater management, generator-backed electricity, chilled water and steam.
On-site amenities include a full-service cafeteria, an 8,000-square-foot fitness center and a freestanding, 28,000-square-foot child development center, the news release said. The site also has multiple conference areas, including a 9,000-square-foot mansion, the campus’ original building.
LEG will manage the property through its growing life sciences division, a team dedicated to expanding and managing the company’s portfolio in the sector.
“Our Life Sciences division at LEG has grown to nearly 2 million square feet with the addition of the former BMS campus,” said Lance Bergstein, acquisitions and development officer at LEG. “New Jersey has one of the most highly educated and skilled workforces in the U.S., including the highest concentration of scientists and engineers in the world. Our Life Sciences team expects to see an influx of investment across the state.”