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BioRegion Real Estate: Jun 5, 2009


Developer, Regional Agency Commit to Life-Sci, Other Uses at Ex-South Weymouth (Mass.) Naval Air Station

The developer of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station and a regional development agency told the Weymouth (Mass.) News they remain committed to redeveloping the shuttered military outpost into a $1.5 billion mixed-use development that would include space for life sciences companies, despite mutual unease by each partner about the finances of the other.

LNR Property plans to build a 2 million-square-foot commercial complex designed to accommodate a pharmaceutical company or biotechnology firm as part of much broader redevelopment plans for the shuttered military outpost.

LNR is installing new infrastructure on the northern tier of the base to service the first 500 condominiums that will be built at the base. Plans call for 2,855 housing units in a new community called SouthField, through a mix of housing types that include rentals, apartments, condos, townhouses, single-family homes, and senior apartments. LNR's plan also includes a hotel, an 18-hole golf course, a hotel, a conference center, boutique shops, restaurants, hiking baths, walkways, and recreational fields.

The South Shore Tri-Town Development Corp., a joint venture of Weymouth and nearby Abington, Mass., and Rockland, Mass., told the News it wants to be sure that LNR has the financial means to sustain the project, after the developer was placed on credit watch by Standard & Poor's on March 26, citing the deterioration of the commercial real estate market and concerns about LNR's cash flow from its property holdings.

"We are trying to work with them in satisfying our bond and financial viability," corporation president Kevin Donovan told the newspaper.

LNR spokesman William Ryan told the newspaper LNR's issues are no different than scores of other developers scrambling to weather the economic slump: "The company has seen its share of ups and downs the past few months, but LNR's viability is not an issue here.

"Everybody is frustrated … The reality here is there has to be a viable public partner and a viable private business partner for the infrastructure needs. This is the reality of where the project finds itself," he added.

Ryan said that LNR has spent $75 million on new infrastructure at the base to accommodate the new structures being planned, as well as $11 million the developer has given to Tri-Town in recent years to help it with operation costs, he said.

LNR owns 540 of the base's acres, while Tri-Town wants to buy the remaining 900 acres from the US Navy. But Tri-Town has missed a March 31 deadline to buy the land, and Donovan told the News Tri-Town is trying to negotiate the $43 million price sought by the Navy for the 900 acres.

The Navy has publicly questioned Tri-Town's commitment to the project, while Tri-Town and LNR have traded public uncertainty over whether the other partner is committed to the project. The Navy contends Tri-Town has failed to answer basic questions about the status of the project: "The silence from your side of this deal is deafening," Gregory Preston, a Navy base closure manager, wrote in an e-mail obtained by the Boston Globe.

At Mission Bay, UCSF Opens $135M Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building

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The University of California, San Francisco has opened on its Mission Bay campus its $135 million Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, a five-story, 163,865-square-foot facility that will more than double UCSF's laboratory space in buildings exclusively dedicated to cancer research.

According to UCSF, the research facility — designed by architect Rafael Viñoly — is the first UCSF building specifically focused on translational research for one particular disease. The facility will accommodate scientists studying brain tumors, urologic oncology, pediatric oncology, cancer population sciences, and computational biology. As a result, scientists of the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center will be united in one facility for the first time ever.

UCSF said the facility is intended to strengthen and expand its commitment to translational research, and will serve as an integral part of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Thanks to the generous support of Helen Diller, her family and many others, UCSF now has an expanded home for its integrated research and clinical cancer program, with the ability to contribute in a significant manner to advancing cancer care throughout the world," UCSF Chancellor J. Michael Bishop said in a statement.

Diller — who has donated $35 million toward the facility — is a Bay Area resident and longtime philanthropist whose giving has supported education, science, and arts groups. A decade ago, she created the Helen Diller Family Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund.

The Diller building is now home to about 250 cancer scientists and members of their teams working in 33 labs, and will eventually house about 400 professionals, according to UCSF.

Among design features of the new building are interlocking L-shaped wings — one containing labs, the other containing offices. Other highlights are a central atrium that creates a five-story open space, and terraced floor levels linked by bridges and cascading stairways.

Venter Institute, IGS, Broad Win NIAID Funding for Genomic Sequencing Centers

Three research institutions have been awarded grants from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases toward developing genome sequencing centers for infectious diseases nationwide.

The three include the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., which won a $43 million, five-year contract; the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences, located at the University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark, which won $20 million; and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the value of whose contract was unavailable at deadline.

Contracts will cover the cost of the sequencing and analysis, and creation of a library of such information for sharing with researchers throughout the country. In return for proposing projects and providing samples, the outside researchers will gain access to the genomic information discovered at the centers.

CoreRx Eyes 55 New Jobs in Three-Year Expansion of Tampa, Fla., Headquarters

Pharmaceutical formulation development firm CoreRx will add 55 jobs over the next three years to its current workforce of 13, in a $5 million expansion of the pharmaceutical formulation developer's Tampa, Fla., headquarters.

In return for the additional jobs, whose average $58,445 annual salaries are projected at 150 percent of the state's average annual wage, CoreRx is eligible for Florida's Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund incentive.

At the behest of several of our clients, CoreRx is looking to the future, and expanding," CoreRx President and CEO Todd R. Daviau said in a statement. "We will be expanding not only our formulation laboratory, but we will be increasing the size and capabilities within our analytical, formulations and manufacturing departments."

As part of that broader expansion, CoreRx is in the process of purchasing a facility in Hillsborough County to replace its current leased site, Daviau told the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Over the next several months CoreRx plans to go from its current 10,000 square-foot facility to a space of about 80,000 square feet. The new facility will be equipped with over 15,000 square feet of laboratory space, eight formulation development suites and 11 cGMP manufacturing suites, including cytotoxicity suites.

Life Technologies to Expand its Leased Frederick, Md., Building, with Distribution in Mind

Life Technologies has signed a lease to occupy all of 7311 Governor's Way, a 56,438-square-foot industrial/flex building in Frederick, Md., owned by J&N Properties. In addition to leasing the building for 10 years, Life Technologies plans to expand it for pharmaceutical distribution, Chad Tyler of Tyler Donegan Real Estate told

Tyler and Joseph Donegan represented J&N in lease talks, while CBRE's David Palank and Frank Graybeal represented Life Technologies.

Tyler told the real estate news web site Life Technologies will spend about $1.5 million to renovate the building, completed in 1993. The building's "asking" rental rate sought by brokers was $7.25 per square foot, triple net.

The Scan

And a Fourth?

A fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in an Israeli study increased antibody levels but did not prevent Omicron variant infections, according to the Financial Times.

For Better Science Software

A virtual institute funded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt's philanthropy aims to lure software engineers to academia, Science reports.

Recommendation Explanations

The New York Times writes that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is straining to both make and explain decisions based on limited information.

Genome Research Papers on De Novo Mutation Rates, Polyploid Genotyping, Oncogene Epigenomic Translocation

In Genome Research this week: de novo mutations rates in hemoglobin subunits, analysis of variant calling methods for polyploid plants, and more.