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Cambridge, Mass., Officials OK Life Science Complex

This story was originally posted June 4, and updated later that day to include additional information on the project and comment from Alexandria Real Estate Equities' Tom Andrews.

By Alex Philippidis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Alexandria Real Estate Equities has won approval from the Planning Board of Cambridge, Mass., to develop a $1 billion, 1.7 million-square-foot complex of office/laboratory space and other uses set to rise over the next several years in the city's East Cambridge section near Kendall Square.

The board approved a permit for the complex under the "planned unit development" zone created with the project in mind last year, as well as the design of the project's 10-story first planned new building, which would contain 403,000 square feet of lab and office space.

The 11.3-acre Binney Street Project will combine five new life science buildings totaling 1.5 million square feet with four historic structures to be preserved and incorporated into the complex. Plans also call for about 220 mixed-income apartment units.

Several existing single-story lab and industrial buildings totaling about 350,000 square feet would be demolished.

Tom Andrews, senior vice president and regional market director with Alexandria, told GenomeWeb Daily News today no timeframe has been set for the construction of the first building pending the signing of an "anchor" tenant of 100,000 or more square feet.

"We're talking to some prospective anchor tenants for that building, but we don't have anyone signed up yet," Andrews said.

He said prospective tenants included both existing institutions and companies seeking expansion space, as well as use life science users that would be new to the Cambridge market.

The new buildings would be built in phases over several years "as market demand warrants," Andrews said.

Alexandria still awaits completion of a state review of the project's master plan under Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. That is expected to be concluded within two to three months, Andrews said.

According to Alexandria, all buildings would employ energy efficiency features consistent with buildings certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program of the US Green Building Council. When fully built out, the project is expected to generate up to $12 million in annual taxes to the city.

The Binney Street Project will nearly double Alexandria's holdings in Cambridge. Headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., Alexandria is a publicly-traded real estate investment trust already owns more than 2.1 million square feet of office/laboratory space occupied by more than 60 mostly life-science tenants.

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