A 16-acre commercial life science development on its way to the Southwest Medical District

A California-based real estate investment trust is buying and consolidating land in the Southwest Medical District to “create a market and really bring commercial early-stage life science to Texas,” according to the company’s executive chairman.

According to Dallas County and City of Dallas assessment records, publicly traded Alexandria Real Estate Equities owns and is seeking to redevelop 16.5 acres at the intersection of Harry Hines Boulevard and Mockingbird Lane at the northern end of the medical district. The property is directly across the street from where UT Southwestern’s new pediatric campus and Children’s Health are being built and down the road from the planned Dallas County lab space.

City Planning Commission documents show an application for several parcels owned by Alexandria to create one property bounded by Forest Park Road, Mockingbird Lane, Harry Hines Boulevard and Hawes Avenue. City staff recommended it for approval last year. The lots are currently vacant, but according to earnings calls over the past few years, Alexandria has big plans for the property.

Founded in 1994, Alexandria is the nation’s largest life science REIT with a market capitalization of $33 billion and 75 million square feet of total assets. Her clients are among the biggest names in healthcare, particularly in the pharmaceutical space. Alexandria’s three largest tenants are Bristol Myers-Squib, Moderna and Eli Lilly and Company. Most of the company’s assets are in biotech hubs such as Boston, San Francisco, San Diego and North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Only 2 percent of the company’s business is currently in Texas.

Last year, Alexandria developed a $200 million, 325,000-square-foot life sciences campus on 12 acres in the woods outside Houston.

A release described the company as having “a longstanding and proven track record of developing Class A properties clustered around life science, agritech and advanced technology campuses that provide our innovative tenants with highly dynamic and collaborative environments that enhance their ability to successfully lease and retain world-class talent and inspire productivity, efficiency, creativity and success.”

Although Alexandria works with some of the biggest names in healthcare, executive chairman and founder Joel Marcus says the company is looking to accommodate younger organizations. “Our intent is to create a market and really bring commercial early-stage life science to Texas, similar to what we did in New York,” he said in a 2021 earnings call.

The development is another feather in the cap of the Southwest Medical District, which is experiencing a development boom fueled by life sciences, biotech and hospital growth. The State of Texas, UT Southwestern and Children’s Health are contributing to a $482.5 million new state psychiatric hospital that is already under construction. Children’s Health and UTSW’s multi-billion dollar pediatric campus is also in the planning stages. Dallas County is also developing a $52 million laboratory and life science facility down the street from the Alexandria properties on Mockingbird Lane.

Life science action around Harry Hines and Mockingbird continues the momentum established over the past few years by Pegasus Park and BioLabs, which launched its first offshore location last year.

Alexandria had no comment on the company’s specific plans for the property, but on an earnings call last year, Marcus continued to praise Texas as an up-and-coming biotech hub. “I think what intrigues us in Texas is … if you look at what Steve Jobs said about the 21st century, it’s going to be the century of the intersection of biology and technology.” And so I think Texas is ripe for that crossover. And that’s where this industry is really moving in an industrial way.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *