Amid lab space scarcity, a life sciences complex to rise in South San Francisco hub

The ever-expanding group of biotechs moving into Oyster Point can now expect new neighbors as the booming life sciences hub in South San Francisco continues to grow.

Real estate developer IQHQ has put its foot down on a main road skirting the neighborhood, purchasing 580 Dubuque Avenue for an undisclosed sum. Known as South City Station, the site gives them 213,000 square feet to build on.

Don’t recognize the name? Try Creative Science Properties. The San Diego-based company changed its name back in February just as it unveiled a whopping $770 million equity raise to buy and build life science campuses at life science hotspots around the world.

“Once complete, South City Station will immediately meet the growing demand for premier life science real estate and R&D space in the thriving South San Francisco market,” Tracy Murphy, the president, said in a statement. “It will be developed to attract top talent.”

Part of that attraction lies in the fact that it’s located right next to a new Caltrain station expected to open in spring of 2021, promising an easy commute all the way through San Jose.

It’s also a five-minute drive from Oyster Point, one of the hottest developments in the Bay Area, where a slate of players from AstraZeneca to AbbVie to Sangamo have set up shop. Genentech, the OG resident of the neighboring area, has recently submitted a big plan to expand its sprawling campus.

Even though the San Francisco peninsula boasts of the highest supply of lab space in the US at 21.8 million square feet, the life science industry’s appetite for space remains insatiable. A recent report noted that the vacancy rate for lab space sits at 7.5% — and pre-leases signed before construction even begins are common.

In particular, South San Francisco showed up in three of the five notable lease transactions spotlighted by the real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. Cytokinetics, Lyell Immunopharma and Amgen all pre-leased to secure a spot.

IQHQ will be operating alongside fellow real estate giants such as Kilroy, Alexandria and Biomed Realty. Other locations on its menu include San Diego, Boston and the Golden Triangle in the United Kingdom.