Illumina expands San Diego HQ with new Blackstone-owned digs starting mid-2017

Illustration of Illumina's new three-building campus--Courtesy of BioMed Realty

The seemingly unstoppable Illumina ($ILMN) is taking its march beyond its metaphorical one on Wall Street. It's signed a deal for an expansion of its San Diego, CA, headquarters. It will be the only tenant in the i3 campus that's owned by BioMed Realty, a portfolio company of private equity firm Blackstone.

The genomics giant has signed a 10-year lease. It's slated to move into the custom-built three-building, 316,000-square-foot campus in July 2017. The campus core and shell construction is expected to be complete a year earlier, in July 2016.

"Expanding to i3 enables us to continue our growth in San Diego, our home city and a source of top talent in our industry," said Illumina EVP, CAO and CFO Marc Stapley in a statement. "i3 creates a near-term opportunity for us to accommodate our growing teams in a location very close to our headquarters, where we expect to reach full occupancy in the next year."

Illumina expanded its nearby headquarters to 497,000 square feet in 2013, so this latest expansion is following fast on its heels. The i3 campus is part of the University Towne Centre that's being developed by BioMed in San Diego, which also include its Axiom campus and the adjacent UTC campus, which the realty group acquired earlier this month.

Illustration of Illumina's new three-building campus--Courtesy of BioMed Realty

Blackstone Realty has about $94 million under management; it acquired BioMed Realty for about $8 billion in January. That makes BioMed, and its lucrative life sciences leases, a substantial portion of the entire Blackstone Realty portfolio.

During its last publicly reported period before the Blackstone acquisition, the first 9 months of 2015, the then-publicly-traded BioMed reported a whopping $510 million in revenues, including $357 million in rentals. It was founded in 2004 and has over 18 million square feet in rentable space, specifically for life science companies.

Illumina, which is valued at about $25 billion, has worked with BioMed before. In fact, this is the third major lease it's done with the company in the last 15 months. Prior deals include build-to-suit lease agreements for the 360,000-square-foot Lincoln Centre in Foster City, CA, that dates back to December 2014 and for a 155,000-square-foot space at Granta Park in Cambridge, U.K.

This latest lease brings the total leased space by BioMed to Illumina to a total of 831,000 square feet in California and the U.K. in less than a year and a half.

"Illumina's unmatched success and reputation as a global leader in genomics is the perfect fit for this iconic campus, which will bring together the key elements needed for their employees to thrive--flexible design, great amenities and easy access to transportation," said BioMed CEO Alan Gold. "We look forward to supporting Illumina's growth in San Diego as part of our continued and expanded relationship."

- here is the BioMed/Illumina announcement
- and the release on the January acquisition of BioMed by Blackstone

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article inaccurately identified the private equity group that acquired BioMed Realty.

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