RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Alexandria Real Estate Equities formally opened its Center for AgTech in RTP on Monday and disclosed a second phase is already in development.
“Our mission is to create ecosystems and clusters that foster transformational discoveries to advance human health by fighting disease and improving nutrition,” said Joel Marcus, executive chairman and founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and Alexandria Venture Investments. “We have spent the past 25 years creating and growing unique life science clusters that support trailblazing companies in the crucial fight to treat and cure disease. Now is the time to be at the vanguard of coalescing and growing this agtech cluster.”
The new center reflects the continuing growth of the Triangle area as a cluster for agtech product research and development.
The first phase, which includes 175,000 square feet, is already fully leased.
The second phase will cover 160,000 square feet with an opening likely set for 2020.
Alexandria, which is based in California and already has extensive holdings in the Triangle, acquired a former five-building Syngenta site for $8.75 million in 2017 and said it would create a new agtech facility.
The AgTech center is adjacent to Alexandria’s 6 Davis Drive, and the collective development of the two campuses forms a 1 million square foot-plus mega campus that will support the AgTech sector.
Tenants for the first phase include:
- Arysta LifeScience
- Elo Life Systems
- GreenLight Biosciences
- Indigo Ag
- Syngenta Crop Protection
Called Alexandria Center for AgTech, the new facility also includes what the company calls Alexandria LaunchLabs. This offering includes support resources. shared equipment and plant growth “chambers” as well as programming, mentoring and an on-sight team of people.
Seed capital funding is also available through the Alexandria Seed Capital platform.
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 company said in 2017 that RTP had been identified by Alexandria as the ideal location to develop the first multi-tenant, mega AgTech campus.
The campus reflects growing interest in agtech, Marcus noted in the announcement.
“Last year, we experienced a dramatic surge in capital invested in the agtech industry, with global venture capital funding up more than 40% to nearly $17 billion. Advances in precision farming, crop protection, gene editing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the microbiome aim to revolutionize our food system from farm to table,” he explained.
“We are deeply focused on providing mission-critical infrastructure, strategic venture capital and impactful thought leadership to facilitate the breakthrough innovations that are vital to improving nutrition; ensuring a sustainable, accessible, cost-effective global food supply; and ultimately advancing human health.”