The official groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday afternoon for Avia Labs, a new life sciences project at 210 Adrian Road in Millbrae, San Mateo County. Once complete, the six-story project will open up in a burgeoning district, with direct access to the Millbrae BART and Caltrain Station through an underpass. Longfellow Real Estate Partners is the project sponsor.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held mid-afternoon. Speakers included Director of Design and Construction and Longfellow David Mendivil, Managing Director at Longfellow Lauren McDermott, City Manager Tom Williams, Policy Manager Christy Shirilla, and Millbrae’s Mayor Ann Schneider. The project is the first by Longfellow in Millbrae and the closest to public transit.
Longfellow was founded in 2009 in Boston. The firm has since expanded across the United State and the United Kingdom to invest in scientific facilities with around $10 billion in total asset value. Longfellow Co-Founder & CEO Adam Sichol said of the proposal, “the Bay Area remains one of the crucial global hubs for life science innovation within our international portfolio. As we continue to expand our presence in the region, we look forward to delivering ground-up projects that are built to accommodate the robust requirements of our tenants.”
The 102-foot tall structure will yield 479,000 square feet from the 2.06-acre site, with approximately 315,000 square feet for laboratories plus offices and 164,000 square feet for the four-level garage. The property will have a capacity for 459 cars and 46 bicycles. The facilities are anticipated LEED Gold and Fitwell certifications. Elevate is Longfellow’s amenity brand for all its tenant employees, with each building receiving a unique program. At Avia Lab, there will be a fitness center, conference room, and a publicly accessible cafe.
Flad Architecture is responsible for the design. The updated design has been significantly value-engineered, including removing the north-side stairwell and dynamic ceiling over the Harriet Tubman Plaza. The office space will be wrapped with sheer curtain wall glass along the northern half, with the rest of the space clad with floor-to-ceiling windows between glass fiber-reinforced concrete panels.
SCAPE is the landscape architect. The site includes an enlarged plaza around Harriet Tubman Plaza and viewing decks facing over the adjacent train tracks. The site no longer includes an open-air staircase to the mid-building terrace. Green walls will cover portions of the facade. BKF is consulting as the project’s civil engineer, Malcolm Drilling is working on the foundation, and Level 10 Construction is the general contractor.
Lauren McDermott, Longfellow Managing Director in San Francisco, said for the event press release, “Millbrae’s transit-oriented location and proximity to world-class institutions make it the ideal site for a new purpose-built life science hub.” McDermott described Avia Labs as a “state-of-the-art facility, built with ESG at the forefront and designed to meet the demands of academic research institutions and biotech companies large and small.”
The application is located across from the future Eikon Campus at 101 Harriet Tubman Road, the Alexandria Real Estate Equities project currently under construction. Both plans will also benefit from their proximity to the Gateway and Millbrae Station project by Republic Urban Properties. The mixed-use plan has housing, a new Marriott hotel, and office space.
Excavation and foundation work is expected to last a few months, down two levels for the basement garage. Completion is expected by the first quarter of 2025.
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