Longfellow Takes Majority Stake in LIC Life Sciences Property

Deal marks the firm’s first acquisition in New York City

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Longfellow Real Estate Partners has officially made its first New York City life sciences purchase. 

The firm is buying a majority equity interest in 43-10 23rd Street in Long Island City, Queens, a 200,000-square-foot building owned by a private real estate fund managed by Columbia Property Trust and Kassabian Realty, Commercial Observer has learned. 

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Longfellow is paying roughly $95 million — or $475 per square foot — for the stake, but the plan is to invest a further $120 million to convert the property into a state-of-the-art life sciences building, bringing its all-in basis to just under $1,100 per square foot. 

A Cushman & Wakefield team led by Adam Spies, Josh King — who leads the firm’s life sciences group— Adam Doneger and Rachel Humphrey advised the sellers and structured the new joint venture with Longfellow. C&W’s Gideon Gil and Lauren Kaufman also secured $155 million in financing from Square Mile Capital for the deal, sources said, which will help fund the property’s conversion. 

“As Longfellow continues to build off our national portfolio, 43TEN is not only significant because it is our first acquisition in New York City, but it also shows our commitment to the region and belief in its future successes,” said Longfellow Managing Director, Northeast Ben Sayles. “Longfellow is here to partner with our tenants and meet the demand of a thriving, growing life science ecosystem in the City.”

The private fund — initiated by Normandy Real Estate Partners, which was acquired by Columbia Property Trust in 2020 — purchased a 50 percent stake in the six-story factory building from Kassabian for $54 million in 2017. The plan back then was to develop it into an office property, but based on piping-hot demand for life sciences space in the wake of COVID-19, that plan changed. 

While Longfellow has a significant life sciences footprint, with a presence in all the major hubs — including the Boston area and North Carolina’s Research Triangle — this is the first time it’s made a purchase in the Big Apple, although the firm has been “kicking the tires” for some time, sources said. The firm is also a strategic development partner to New York Blood Center’s Center East life sciences hub. 

It’s now in very good company, with GFP Real Estate  and King Street Properties’ 267,000-square-foot Innolabs property in the same Court Square submarket, at 45-18 Court Square. That building is close to being fully leased, sources said. 

Then, with Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ Alexandria Center at 30-02 48th Avenue and Botanic Properties 24-02 Queens Plaza South, a veritable life sciences cluster is emerging. 

“New York City has made it clear the life sciences are a top priority for the City’s economy moving forward. With renowned institutions, deep talent pool, and continued innovation, New York City is primed for growth in the life sciences, and Longfellow is dedicated to providing world-class space for innovators to continue their life changing work,” said Longfellow CEO Adam Sichol.

The transaction marks the second notable life sciences joint venture deal in as many weeks for the C&W team. Last week, CO reported that SL Green Realty Corp. had sold the former Kenneth Cole warehouse at 707 11th Avenue to The Georgetown Company and Beacon Capital Partners. The C&W team represented the buyer and brought Beacon — a traditional office player — to the table, also marking the Boston-based firm’s first foray into the life sciences sector. 

Square Mile officials and a Cushman & Wakefield spokesperson declined to comment. 

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com