Writer: Esteban Pages
2 min read June 2023 — Progress continues to be made on New Brunswick’s Health + Life Science Exchange project (HELIX), with its second phase recently announced.
First introduced as a plan for an innovation hub in 2018 by Gov. Phil Murphy, the HELIX project’s second of three phases, dubbed H-2, will feature a mixed-use building of up to 600,000 square feet of build-to-suit laboratory and office space to serve as a catalyst for large life sciences and technology tenants. SJP Properties and DEVCO made the announcement on May 22 — adding that HDR will serve as H-2 lead architect.
HELIX stands to benefit from the ongoing footprint expansion of New Jersey’s top higher ed, corporate and healthcare players in the area, combined with the Northeast Corridor train service and its $49 million train station upgrade, according to JLL Vice Chairman Daniel Loughlin, as cited by NJBIZ.
The HELIX project is poised to offer a robust ecosystem where collaboration is embraced among early stage companies and projects. HELIX will gather Rutgers’ Translational Research Facility, Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the NJ Innovation Technology HUB, all in the same location. Industry heavyweights such as Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBarnabas Health are also looking to capitalize on this new, critical development for the region’s future leadership in healthcare and life sciences.
“We are constantly expanding, innovating, and refining to better serve everyone who walks through our doors. Here at RWJUH, we have over $1 billion in capital projects in the works. In New Brunswick, construction on HELIX has recently begun, and will include a new medical school facility with cutting-edge laboratories that will foster research, treatment, and business breakthroughs – not to mention support thousands of new jobs right here in New Jersey,” Bill Arnold, CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, told Invest:.
The project is expected to bring forth a solid bedrock of support and a sustainable talent pipeline for innovative companies looking to relocate or expand into the region.
The first phase of the project included a 12-story, 573,400-square-foot, $750 million building in Downtown New Brunswick. Anchor tenants for the asset under development include the State University of New Jersey, Princeton University, DEVCO and Middlesex County, as well as the previously mentioned players. The building is officially the first project to be approved under the Aspire Tax Credit program, created by the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020. Aspire is the state’s new gap financing program rolled out in support of real estate development projects, with a specific focus on underserved communities.
Although the HELIX project won’t be completed until 2025, according to DEVCO President Steve Paladino, the ripple effects of the projects are already starting to show. Back in February 2023, real estate investment and property services firm Onyx Equities announced a partnership to acquire a whopping 108-acre Merck campus located in Kenilworth. Through this continued investment into the region’s healthcare and life sciences sectors, the State of New Jersey is setting a precedent for the next generation of research and innovation.
Image via HELIX NJ
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