$731M New Jersey Life Science Campus Moves Forward

Located near Rutgers University, the project marks the state's largest investment in life sciences and medical education.

A rendering of the completed HELIX Health + Life Science Exchange. Image courtesy of SJP Properties and New Brunswick Development Corp.

HELIX Health + Life Science Exchange, the 4-acre innovation district built by SJP Properties and New Brunswick Development Corp. (DEVCO) in downtown New Brunswick, N.J., is approaching the second phase of its development.

Dubbed H-2, the $731 million project’s second phase will include 600,000 square feet of build-to-suit lab and office space that can accommodate a range of uses for large corporate life science and technology tenants.

To take shape near Rutgers University, the H-2 building will rise adjacent to the 574,000-square-foot H-1 property, currently under construction. Upon completion, the 12-story facility will house the New Jersey Innovation HUB, providing space for innovation and startups, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a Rutgers translational research facility that will comprise laboratory space for 80 research teams.

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H-1 will also feature a 10,000-square-foot market hall with food options, as well as a 3,000-square-foot restaurant opening onto a 70-foot-wide plaza. Rutgers – the State University of New Jersey, Hackensack Meridian Health, RWJBarnabas Health and Middlesex County will anchor the property; Princeton University and DEVCO also plan to have a presence onsite.

HELIX’s final phase, H-3, is expected to be a 42-story mixed-use building that will include additional office space and 220 housing units. The project also includes public space connecting the Rutgers campus, the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital District, the New Brunswick Train Station and the Government and Arts District in the city’s downtown.

New Jersey’s largest investment in life sciences and medical education

The HELIX project represents the largest investment in life sciences and medical education in New Jersey’s history. HDR is the lead architect, while JLL will be responsible for leasing. Core partners include the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), RWJBarnabas Health, Hackensack Meridian Health, Middlesex County, Rutgers University, Tel Aviv University and Atlantic Technological University of Galway, Ireland.

In February, the NJEDA board approved the first award under the Aspire program for the development of the HELIX’s first phase. New Brunswick Development Corp. will receive up to 40 percent of total eligible project costs, not to exceed $271.2 million in Aspire tax credits over a period of 10 years. According to the board’s calculations, the value of the economic benefit of this project to the State was $340.4 million, representing 187 percent of the present value of the tax credit award.

New Brunswick is known as a hub for health care, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, SJP Properties CEO Steve Pozycki noted in prepared remarks. Long known as “The Health-care City,” the municipality has been home to Rutgers since its 1766 founding in what was then still the British Province of New Jersey. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital traces its presence in the city to 1884, while corporate medical giant Johnson & Johnson was founded there two years later. Saint Peter’s University Hospital, also located in New Brunswick, opened its doors in 1907. Bristol Myers Squibb and Ascendia Pharmaceuticals also have major facilities in the area.

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