Former HDL headquarters sells for $92M

biotech eight building

The Biotech Eight building at 737 N. Fifth St. sold for $92 million. (BizSense file photo)

A Chicago-based real estate firm has further secured its footing in Richmond with the purchase of a downtown compound built for a notorious former blood-testing company.

Ventas, a REIT headquartered in Chicago, last week paid $92 million for the Biotech Eight building, a six-story, 262,000-square-foot structure at 737 N. Fifth St. that originally housed Health Diagnostic Laboratory.

The deal closed Nov. 9, according to city tax records. The property, which takes up an entire city block bounded by North Fifth and East Jackson streets and Navy Hill Drive, most recently was assessed at $63.1 million.

Ventas spokeswoman Louise Adhikari confirmed the transaction in an email Monday afternoon.

It’s the second-largest real estate deal recorded in the city this year, behind the James Center complex, which was purchased in January by Bill Goodwin’s Riverstone Properties for $108 million.

Ventas maintains a portfolio of more than 1,100 properties, mainly life science, senior housing, medical office and post-acute care facilities, across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

The company owns seven properties in metro Richmond that include the Sunrise at Bon Air senior living facility and a medical office building at 8220 Meadowbrook Road in Mechanicsville.

The Biotech Eight building was its first life science facility purchase in the region.

The seller was Biotech 8 LLC, an entity that originally comprised HDL and local real estate firm Lingerfelt Commonwealth Partners, which developed the building.

HDL, the remnants of which are still going through bankruptcy liquidation, owned 58.9 percent of Biotech 8, with Lingerfelt owning the remainder.

Alan Lingerfelt, chairman and CEO of Lingerfelt Commonwealth Partners, referred all inquiries about the sale to Ventas.

Upon its purchase last week, the complex was 82 percent occupied, according to a Ventas third quarter report.

Texas-based True Health Diagnostics, which purchased the bulk of HDL’s assets from bankruptcy in 2015 – but not HDL’s stake in the property – is a tenant of the building. Other current tenants include VCU, BioProtect Ltd., Immunarray, Virtual Ports Ltd. and Xenolith Medical.

According to its third quarter report, Ventas appears to be growing its holdings of life science facilities, particularly those tied to well-known research universities.

The company also is constructing a $62 million life science and innovation center in Providence, Rhode Island, according to the report, where Brown University, Johnson & Johnson and the Cambridge Innovation Center are tenants in the building that is 80 percent pre-leased.

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