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Doug Manchester Bows Out as New Developer Takes Over Pacific Gateway

Researchers aim to enroll 60,000 participants worldwide, including 3,500 San Diegans

Local real estate commercial developer Doug Manchester struggled for at least 15 years to build his long-cherished Pacific Gateway Project on a dozen blocks along the city’s central waterfront at the foot of Broadway. He suffered a major setback when the Great Recession of 2009 rolled over the region like a tsunami, and as a result, was able to bring little of his overall dream to fruition. The exception being the recent completion of the 17-story, 373,000-square-foot new headquarters high-rise for the Navy.

But in a surprise announcement this weekend, Manchester revealed he has sold off five of the remaining seven blocks of his ownership to IQHQ, a new San Diego area developer that is focusing on life science projects. And IQHQ announced that it has launched its own vision for the area, the San Diego Research and Development District, which will begin with many buildings spread over three blocks of the five blocks of Manchester’s original project site. IQHQ has declined to reveal much data about the construction effort, including the cost, but it is estimated that project could total $1.5 billion.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the project will feature several mid-rise buildings and a 17-story high-rise, as well as museum and open space. When the first phase is completed in two years, IQHQ says the first lab and office buildings will start drawing “top-tier life science companies and talent to downtown with a premier … waterfront campus.” However, a spokesman could not say whether the developers have lined up tenants for the new buildings when completed, or whether they are starting work on speculation.

IQHQ, which is structured as a real estate investment trust, raised $770 million in a private financial transaction early in 2019. Other IQHQ projects underway include Fenway Center, a 21-story and 10-story mixed use lab and office structure in Boston and a 213,000-square-foot office and lab building in South San Francisco. The company is headed by Alan Gold, who has specialized in life science-focused real estate development over his career. He serves as executive chairman. Steve Rosetta, another local real estate veteran, is the CEO.  A media release says the project promises to contribute more than 4,000 jobs, $50 million in annual taxes and fees, and $15 billion in economic benefits.

“The contribution to the local economy will be significant,” stated Perry Dealy, development & construction manager for the project. “We are excited to deliver a premier life sciences real estate development and elevate San Diego on the world-stage.” Manchester said he will retain ownership of a couple of blocks in his original project that will eventually see the construction of a 1,035-room waterfront hotel and 1.9-acre plaza.

By: Tom York | Times of San Diego

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