Hell’s Kitchen is rapidly becoming a burgeoning hub for life sciences. Georgetown Co and Beacon Capital Partners are set to demolish the historic former Kenneth Cole global headquarters at 707 11th Ave and W50th Street to make way for a ground-up life sciences center. The seven-story facility is slated to break ground next year.
The development will add 185,000 square feet of research, lab and office space to the area, marking a shift in the traditional car dealership-heavy neighborhood — with a splash of advertising agencies. “It’s so much more than bunsen burners and lab coats,” said the companies promotional video for the new facility. “The historical norm is that these kinds of facilities would have been in the basement of a hospital,” said Jonathan Schmerin, managing principal at Georgetown Co, about the purpose-built center.
Schmerin stressed that the new building would offer amenities like natural light and collaborative spaces for scientists who typically can’t work remotely. “To have light and views, it’s changing the dynamic, partly because institutions recognize that you have to be able to attract and retain employees, whether it’s in bio-science or financial services,” he said.
The current building, which will be demolished, has an interesting Hell’s Kitchen history. Built in 1901, it was originally part of the Vincent Astor estate and was later home to renowned piano manufacturer Kohler & Campbell. In the 1960s, indie music distributor Malverne moved into 707 Eleventh, where they represented lines such as Epic, Blue Note, Buddha Records and Cameo-Parkway. It became the headquarters for fashion brand Kenneth Cole in 2004.
The new life sciences center isn’t an isolated development on the Far West Side. In March this year, Mayor Eric Adams attended the opening of an internationally groundbreaking medical research center just four blocks north, part of what he called a growing “biotech corridor” along 11th Avenue. “New York City continues to build on its strengths, investing in spaces, companies, and talent that will spark cutting-edge innovation and catalyzing new opportunities in the Life Sciences industry for all New Yorkers,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The EDC will also support the new project.
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One of the building’s unique features will be a café and wine bar, which will be open to the public. This amenity serves as a welcome addition to the neighborhood, promising to seamlessly blend the scientific and residential communities of Hell’s Kitchen.
The new facility will be an all-electric building and aims to be LEED Gold and WELL certified, featuring rooftop solar panels and other sustainability-focused elements.
Georgetown Co also owns 787 11th Ave in partnership with Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital. 787 Eleventh is a mixed-use, life science-anchored development.
“The Far West Side is quickly becoming a hub for life sciences investment and research,” said Georgetown’s Schmerin. The building aims to open in 2025, with the timeline depending on tenant commitments.