California-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities has acquired a former five-building Syngenta site for $8.75 million and will create a new ag tech center in Research Triangle Park. The company is creating the Alexandria Center for AgTech – RTP — the initial phase of a first of its kind ag tech ecosystem on a multi-tenant mega campus.

The Alexandria Center for AgTech – RTP,  is adjacent to Alexandria’s 6 Davis Drive, and the collective development of the two campuses will form a 1 million square foot-plus mega campus that will support the AgTech sector, the company said in a news release.

The first phase of the project is the strategic redevelopment of the Cornwallis site into 175,000 rentable square feet (RSF) of best-in-class office/laboratory and greenhouse facilities and a highly curated amenities center designed to foster innovation, drive productivity and enhance collaboration.

Initial tenants

Alexandria has utilized economist Michael Porter’s cluster theory to position itself as a first mover in developing world-class life science and technology clusters to spur innovation and collaboration. The compay said RTP has been identified by Alexandria as the ideal location to develop the first multi-tenant, mega AgTech campus.

The campus’s initial tenants are AgTech Accelerator Corporation, an RTP-based funding vehicle focused on discovering and developing emerging AgTech companies, and Boragen, a small-molecule company pioneering next-generation novel chemistry solutions for plant and animal health.

Alexandria’s current asset base in RTP of more than 1 million square feet is nearly 98 percent leased to high-quality and diverse tenants, including AgTech entities, which range from multinational companies such as Bayer Crop Science, Medicago (owned by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma), Monsanto and Novozymes to growth- and early-stage companies such as Benson Hill Biosystems and Mimetics.

Alexandria has focused on investing in and accelerating AgTech startups for more than two decades.

“Through our vision and development of the first multi-tenant, amenity-rich mega AgTech R&D and greenhouse campus, our strategic investment in agricultural innovation….we are fostering the next generation of companies and technologies that are essential to the future growth of the AgTech sector,” said Joel S. Marcus, chairman, CEO and founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and Alexandria Venture Investments and chairman and founder of AgTech Accelerator Corp in a statement.