As growth in New Jersey’s life sciences sector accelerates demand for modern lab and innovation space, SJP Properties, in collaboration with New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), has unveiled plans to develop H-2, the second phase of HELIX Health + Life Science Exchange — the innovation district currently under development on a four-acre site in downtown New Brunswick. HDR has been appointed as the lead architect for H-2 and JLL will serve as the building’s leasing agent.
HELIX aims to bring together the power of academia and public- and private-sector research under one roof and will provide businesses, universities and researchers with the critical space to work, learn and experiment. With a total cost of $731 million, HELIX, which will be built in three phases, represents the largest investment in life sciences and medical education in the state of New Jersey’s history. SJP’s mixed-use building, H-2, will include 600,000 square feet of build-to-suit lab and office space that can accommodate a range of uses for large corporate life sciences and technology company tenants.
“New Jersey is one of the most important regions in the country for the life sciences industry with New Brunswick emerging as a hotbed for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in recent years,” said Steve Pozycki, CEO of SJP Properties. “As more innovators enter the region, the location of their research and development facilities will be of paramount importance. With a prime position directly across the street from two major rail lines, and situated within commuting distance of both New York City and Philadelphia, HELIX will provide exceptional access to workforce talent, enabling its future tenants to attract professionals from both cities’ life sciences and technology industries.”
Adjacent to Rutgers University and opposite the city’s train station, H-1, the first phase of HELIX, is currently under construction and will comprise 574,000 square feet that includes the New Jersey Innovation HUB, the new home of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and a Rutgers translational research facility equipped with a variety of labs to advance the work of 80 research teams and put into practice Rutgers Health innovations that will improve individual and public health. Core Partners for the New Jersey Innovation HUB include NJ Economic Development Authority, RWJBarnabas Health, Hackensack Meridian Health, Middlesex County, Rutgers University, Tel Aviv University and Atlantic Technological University of Galway, Ireland. Rising two stories in height, H-1’s ground floor will feature amenities and kiosks that will be accessible to the public, including a 10,000-square-foot market hall with food options and a 3,000-square-foot restaurant that opens onto a 70-foot-wide plaza.
H-3, the final phase of HELIX, is proposed as a 42-story mixed-use building to include additional office space and 220 units of housing.
The New Brunswick train station, in line for a $49 million renovation, affords HELIX tenants convenient and easy access to both NJ TRANSIT, operating nearly 100 train stops in the city each day, and Amtrak. The headquarters and regional offices of several major health, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies are situated within proximity to HELIX, including those of Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb and Ascendia Pharmaceuticals. Additionally, the complex is immediately adjacent to the Rutgers University campus and within an hour’s drive of several other prominent colleges and universities, including Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
“The unique combination of Northeast Corridor train service, Big 10 college town atmosphere and the expanding presence of New Jersey’s most prominent higher education, corporate and healthcare stakeholders make the HELIX project incredibly attractive for innovation and talent recruitment,” said Daniel J. Loughlin, Vice Chairman at JLL.
In recent years, New Brunswick has experienced an influx of public and private real estate investment totaling nearly $3 billion for in-progress developments — with an additional $1 billion in the pipeline. For more than 30 years, DEVCO has been the catalyst for redevelopment capitalized by academic, public and private investments that include the Rutgers Honors College, Gateway Transit Village, the Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center, New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, Wellness Plaza and The Heldrich Hotel & Conference Center. These transformative projects have elevated New Brunswick to the state’s leading transit-oriented innovation cluster.
“We are establishing the only ecosystem in the county where academic researchers, private sector researchers, entrepreneurs, medical students, and educators will co-locate in an environment of discovery and collaboration – where creative collisions can occur,” said Christopher Paladino, President of DEVCO.
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