Zymergen grabs more space in Emeryville – San Francisco Business Times

Quietly fast-growing Zymergen Inc. is taking more space in Emeryville, less than two years after snagging more than 300,000 square feet.

The synthetic biology company, which merges elements of biotech, chemicals, manufacturing and agriculture to reengineer a wide range of common products, on Friday signed a 10-year lease with Libitzky Property Cos. for 57,000 square feet at 1440 Stanford Ave. The space could be used for warehousing as well as biotech labs.

The site isn’t the largest under Zymergen’s control, but the transaction demonstrates how quickly the 7-year-old company is growing. The company has surged to 750 employees and raised close to $600 million from SoftBank Vision Fund, Goldman Sachs, Data Collective and former Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt‘s Innovation Endeavors LLC.

Financial terms were not available, but may depend largely on the building’s use. Top-tier biotech space in Emeryville is going for $50 to $60 per square foot. On the other hand, warehouse space leases for about $12.

The deal was brokered by Conor Ranahan, who represented Libitzky, and Zymergen broker Bill Benton. Both are with Newmark Knight Frank.

Libitzky, which is based in Emeryville, has properties in the East Bay, Portland, Phoenix, Memphis and the Dallas and Atlanta areas. It bought the property at Stanford Avenue and Peladeau Street in 1999.

“It is a phased take down of the space over a year,” said Kevin Perkins of Libitzky Property. “We’re very happy to accommodate this.”

The deal came together over six months, Ranahan said, after Libitzky said the site might be available soon and Ranahan thought the mixed-use structure’s flexibility would fit Zymergen’s growth.

Zymergen in 2017 leased three buildings on the other side of Emeryville from two landlords as it ramps up research, development and manufacturing of new, less-toxic and safer versions of old-school petroleum-based products and chemicals by engineering yeast and bacterial strains, for example. Those products are used by Fortune 500 companies in everything from adhesive bandages and animal feed to drug components and the coatings on mobile phones.

Led by cofounder and CEO Josh Hoffman, Zymergen in April signed a multi-year partnership with Japanese giant Sumitomo Chemical, a supplier to major electronics companies.


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