Science and Synergy

The deal to build a biotech center in New York took five years and required a considerable amount of arm twisting, but today the mayor announced Alexandria Real Estate Equities would get the honors.

The arm-twisting–or, if you prefer, diplomacy–came courtesy of figures like Sandy Weil, Henry Kravis and Jerry Speyer, who all serve on boards of universities and hospitals around the city that had to agree to form a consortium first.

“In other places around the country, there are fewer institutions to get together. It was actually harder here in New York because they are used to competing with one another,” said Kathy Wylde, the CEO and president of the Partnership for New York City. “Some of my members were able to approach their institutions and get them interested in collaborating.”

Alexandria, which will build 870,000 square feet across three buildings, will pay the city $3.1 million a year, including payments in lieu of taxes on the land it will occupy at the northern end of Bellevue between 28th and 19th streets along the FDR. But a special incentive district on the property extends the same benefits that developers usually only get north of 96th street or in the boroughs: a 16-year abatement on the taxes for the buildings themselves. In addition, the Partnership for New York City’s investment fund has committed $10 million to lure small and medium-sized companies to take space in the complex, dubbed the East River Science Park, once it opens, starting in 2008.

- Matthew Schuerman