The Canadian-based Oxford Properties Group has made a strong entry into the San Diego life sciences market, buying 13 buildings for $464 million with plans to buy more.

Totaling 650,000 square feet, the buildings are located in Sorrento Mesa and Sorrento Valley.

“The 650,000 square foot scale doesn’t happen very often. This aligns very well with our plan to gain scale in the San Diego market, which aligns well with our overall life sciences push to be in many of these top markets across the country,” said said Tycho Suter, vice president of investments for Oxford. Properties.

“San Diego is, by any measure, the third largest life sciences market in the United States and you could argue globally,” Sutter said.

Founded in 1960, Oxford Properties Group is part of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), the Canadian pension plan for municipal workers in Ontario.

Innovative

Most of the buildings in San Diego bought by Oxford are leased, but Suter said the company plans to renovate the buildings when the leases expire.

“Some of the buildings are on longer-term leases than others. There’s a good chunk that has leases expiring next year,” Suter said. aesthetically refresh the spaces as well as the laboratory infrastructure in the buildings.”

In addition to the 13 buildings, Suter said Oxford has acquired land which will be developed for life sciences. He declined to give details but said they would be released later this year or next year.

“San Diego’s life sciences market is supported by a strong STEM presence, a highly skilled workforce, and world-class research and academic institutions,” Suter said. “Together, this creates a highly innovative ecosystem that captures research funding, venture capital and business growth in the region.”

Suter said Oxford has projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Vancouver, Canada, but this is the company’s first project in San Diego County.

Investment of $2 billion over the past year

Oxford began investing in life science projects in 2017 and Suter said life sciences had been “a key focus for us for a number of years”.

Over the past 12 months, Oxford has spent over $2 billion acquiring life science projects in North America.

“Our team continues to create sustained but focused growth against one of our most compelling global investment strategies to build a scale life sciences company,” said Chad Remis, Vice President Oxford Executive for North America.

Remis said the acquisition of the San Diego properties “adds high-quality, income-generating assets to our growing portfolio and perfectly complements the start of our development pipeline in San Diego.”

“Life sciences portfolios of this size rarely trade, so this is a unique opportunity to add immediate scale in a globally significant life sciences market that is characterized by barriers to high entry,” said Remis.

About 60% of space in San Diego buildings is leased for life sciences, with the rest used for general office, according to Oxford.

Oxford’s entry into the San Diego life sciences market comes as the county closed a record year for life sciences investment, with companies scrambling to find space and landlords of buildings rushing to convert general office space to accommodate life sciences tenants.

According to commercial real estate brokerage firm CBRE, there were 19 conversion projects underway in San Diego at the end of 2021 totaling 1.6 million square feet and eight new life science projects under construction totaling 3.2 million. of square feet, of which 27% had been pre-published.

CBRE also reported that the vacancy rate for life sciences spaces in Torrey Pines ended the year at zero, leading life sciences companies to rush to find spaces elsewhere in Sorrento Mesa. and in the Sorrento Valley.

The vacancy rate for life science spaces in Sorrento Mesa ended the year at 5.8% and the vacancy rate in the Sorrento Valley ended 2021 at 3.9%.

Oxford Property Group

Creation: 1960

Headquarters: Toronto

President: Michael Turner

Profession: real estate investment

Employees: 2,000+

Website: www.oxfordproperties.com

Contact: 1-416-865-8300

Note: Oxford belongs to the Canada Pension Plan for Ontario City Workers.

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