Alexandria Ditches Life Sciences Conversion Project in Queens


Plans to transform a former printing plant and industrial site in Queens into a life sciences hub are apparently being shelved.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities (ARE) (ARE), a life sciences real estate investment trust and one of the biggest developers in the sector, sold one of its two buildings in Queens’ Long Island City for a 24 percent loss, according to media reports citing register records

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ARE sold the 52,500-square-foot site with truck bays to film production facility CineMagic Companies for $19.1 million Dec. 29 after paying $25 million to acquire it in 2019. The property at 47-50 30th Street was formerly a printing plant for Prestone Press before it was sold to Alexandria. 

The new owner plans to create film support space for its nearby production studio, according to Bisnow. Queens has attracted new interest from film developers the past few years. That includes the 650,000-square-foot Wildflower Studios; Kaufman Astoria Studios; CineMagic’s neighbor Silvercup Studios; as well as Sunnyside Campus.

The deal also signals continued pullback on the years-long, fast-growth era for life sciences space. The lack of midsize assets has stymied life sciences growth in New York City, per Bisnow. Nationally, ARE has engaged in “value harvesting and asset recycling self-funding strategy” to unload $1.65 billion in full and partial asset sales of properties that don’t align with its mega-campus strategy.

ARE still owns the office building at 30-02 48th Avenue, which is a former book bindery spanning 179,000 square feet. The Pasadena-based firm paid $75 million for that property in 2018 before completing a major office renovation. The property is 70 percent vacant, currently being used by two life sciences tenants: Envisagenics, a firm that uses AI to study RNA, and RenBio, which develops antibody drugs, per CoStar.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at