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
An asset management firm is providing $76 million in financing for an investment group’s recent purchase of a 33-building, 1.11 million-square-foot life sciences campus in Hopewell.
Brokers with Newmark represented the borrowers, HIG Realty Partners and Lincoln Equities Group, in placing the loan with Denver, Colorado-based ArrowMark Partners. The financing is tied to the partnership’s acquisition last year of the former Bristol-Myers Squibb research, manufacturing and office complex at 311 Pennington Rocky Hill Road, which it’s now repositioning as a multitenant campus.
Specifically, the joint venture is using the debt to fund acquisition costs, cover contractual and speculative leasing costs and capital improvements, Newmark said in a news release. The loan will also fund an interest and carry reserve.
“The exceptional track record and operational experience by the HIG and Lincoln team were imperative in getting lenders comfortable with an asset located in a market with limited data points and a ‘heavy lift’ business plan,” said Dustin Stolly, a vice chairman with Newmark and member of the firm’s New York-based debt and structured finance team.
Now known as the Princeton West Innovation Campus, the 433-acre site includes modern clinical manufacturing space, labs, research and development support facilities, office space, parking and a data center, the news release said. The campus is less than 10 miles from Princeton and Princeton University, benefiting from the amenities and talent pool that both offer.
The property was BMS’ global R&D headquarters until early 2020, when it consolidated operations and vacated the campus after opening a new 650,000-square-foot facility nearby. It has already attracted new tenants such as PTC Therapeutics, which took 220,000 square feet before BMS’ vacancy, and Passage Bio, which leased 62,000 square feet late last year.
“HIG and Lincoln were able to step into an attractive basis, due in part to opaque historical operating statements and a limited investment sales process,” said Jordan Roeschlaub, also a vice chairman with Newmark. “The basis, coupled with the significant amount of capital BMS’ invested into the space shortly before vacating, gave solace to lenders during underwriting.”
In announcing the deal, Newark noted that the campus is supported by its own central utility complex that provides direct wastewater management for tenants, generator-backed electricity, chilled water and steam. Other 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, along with multiple conference areas.
BMS invested some $600 million into the campus, Newmark said, including $80 million over the last four years alone.