New $1B life science campus coming to Morrisville: The Spark

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A massive 109-acre, mixed-use life sciences campus is being slated for the heart of Morrisville.

The price tag: roughly $1 billion.

North Carolina developer Trinity Capital and Miami Beach-based Starwood Capital are spearheading the project, called Spark LS, at the corner of McCrimmon Parkway and Airport Boulevard.

Rending of The Spark

It will include 1.5 million square feet of lab and biomanufacturing space, restaurants, retail, a STEM Education and Amenity Center, and recreational areas.

“We’re excited to continue investing in the Raleigh life science market, one of the top clusters in the country,” said Mark Keatley, managing director at Starwood Capital, in a statement.

“The Raleigh life science market benefits from record levels of public and private sector funding, which is driving increasing demand for high-quality lab and bio-manufacturing space,” he added. “We believe Spark’s large campus setting and expansive amenity offering in a centralized location will be appealing to life science companies in the market.”

The developers paid $36.25 million for the property in December – just months after the Town of Morrisville voted to rezone the large swath of land to attract development.

It’s the latest in a string of life sciences-based projects planned for the region. Earlier this week, developers announced a similar project for the neighboring suburb Holly Springs – a 200-acre biosciences campus called The Yield.

“The establishment of campuses like Spark LS and The Yield plays an important role in ensuring our community continues to be able to grow and thrive,” said Laura Rowley, Ph.D., vice president of life science economic development at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

In 2021 alone, around $4 billion worth of life sciences investments were announced in the state, according to NCBiotech. Among the significant projects: FUJIFILM Diosynth, Amgen and Jaguar Gene Therapy.

“Timing is a defining factor for many companies, and the availability of facilities designed for life sciences users provides a meaningful competitive advantage for the region,” Rowley said.

Spark will be built in phases, developers said, with the first phase expected to add three buildings of more than 400,000 square feet.

Hanbury, an architecture and design firm with an office in Raleigh, will advise on the design. Cushman & Wakefield’s senior director Doug Cook and leasing representative Suzanna Nichols are handling leasing efforts.

Starwood Capital and Trinity Capital collectively own 1.6 million square feet across two properties in the RTP submarket. These include four buildings totaling 650,000 square feet of space at their 95-acre Park Point campus and a 911,000-square-foot life sciences/flex portfolio at Southport Innovation Center located off Aviation Parkway.

Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire