Thor Equities Hires Laura Kaufman to Expand Life Sciences Division

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Thor Equities has hired Laura Kaufman as its new executive vice president to expand the firm’s life science division, Commercial Observer has learned.  

Kaufman joins Thor after 30 years in the real estate business and after leaving her role as a principal real estate advisor at Field Point Projects. Before that, she was a vice president at Blackstone’s BioMed Realty, a private real estate provider for the life sciences and technology industries.

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Hired in June, Kaufman said she was convinced to join Thor because of the company’s commitment to life sciences in the New York area — even when New York was a younger market for the sector.

“In my initial conversations with Thor I was struck both by [Chairman] Joe Sitt’s enthusiasm as well as that of the team he was building, their knowledge, and foremost their ability to be aggressive about acquiring lab conversion properties and the desire to invest in pre-built spec labs or purpose built [research and development] assets,” Kaufman said in a statement.

Kaufman’s highest priority in her new position is to expand Thor’s investments in North American and European life sciences real estate. She said she wants to focus on making practical changes to buildings, while keeping tenants’ financial needs in mind and consulting with experts in life sciences development.  

And Thor certainly has been busy domestically. The real estate giant is working on renovating its 340,000-square-foot property at 95 Greene Street in Jersey City, N.J., which will hold 20,000 square feet of pre-built lab suites when it’s completed this fall. Thor purchased the property for $94.5 million in 2020.

And, Sitt believes that the life sciences industry is due to only grow as the Big Apple recovers from the pandemic. 

“Life science has proven to be a resilient sector,” Sitt said in a statement. “As science advances and the population grows and continues to age, the demand for life-changing technologies, pharmaceuticals, and more grows which boosts the demand for space and talent. As NYC and the rest of the world recovers, we see this sector strengthening.”

Kaufman’s interest in the sector comes from her family and her appreciation of scientists and medical professionals, who she said she benefited from as a child with a rare autoimmune disorder.

“I come from a long line of builders, developers and crafters so I had the natural inclination to hang on to my Legos, scrap wood left over from my father’s woodworking hobby, and all kinds of materials to create cities, roads, and bridges on the ping pong table and pool table in our basement,” Kaufman said in a statement. 

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.