HERSHEY, PA-Two tenants have committed to an aggregate of approximately 39,000 sf in the three-story, 80,448-sf first building in the Hershey Center for Applied Research, which will be completed this spring. It is located at 1214 Research Blvd. and provides expansion opportunities with two adjacent pad-ready sites within the 25-acre park being developed by Hanover, MD-based Wexford Science and Technology.

Wexford handed leasing in the park, which is master-planned to contain approximately 13 buildings, to a team from CB Richard Ellis, led by Michael Brown, SVP in the Wayne office. Brown tells GlobeSt.com, “a second building of similar size is being approved, and will break ground as soon as we identify a lead tenant.” Other members of the leasing team are Nora Brady, Chris Major and Stephen Gersbach in the Wayne office; Valerie Bowman in CBRE’s Philadelphia office, and Kevin Fry in its Harrisburg office.

Brown declined to disclose the value of the leases or the asking rent rate. He says, however, “the market rate in this area for both one-story and multi-story buildings that contain a mix of office and lab space is between $27 per sf and $35 per sf, triple net.”

The center, adjacent to Hershey Medical Center, is devoted to providing start-up companies with laboratories and other services to support the development and manufacture of products in the fields of biology, medicine and information technology. It is envisioned as a biomedical counterpart to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, and, as GlobeSt.com previously reported, received $5 million in state funding. The construction cost for the first building and three-building infrastructure is estimated at nearly $47 million.

The lead tenant in the first building is the Penn State Milton S. Hershey College of Medicine’s department of pharmacology and office of technology development, which is taking approximately 32,000 sf. The Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania is taking 7,000 sf under a master lease. “It will re-lease that space to incubator companies,” Brown says.

The buildings feature flexible, modular wet lab and prep room space. This one and others in the center will share conference rooms and service amenities with Hershey Medical Center. Hershey Trust Co. owns the land, which is a designated Keystone Opportunity Zone, and Wexford owns and manages the buildings.

“Pennsylvania’s share of the biosciences outpaces the nation,” according to Brown. He says there are more than 200 established life sciences companies in this region that focus on medical devices, pharmaceutical manufacturing and contract R&D and another 400-plus companies in the area produce related products, such as laboratory equipment.”

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