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Workforce Trends, Economy, & More: Q&A With Alexandria’s Joel Marcus

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a financing model to bear in a market that we think will be the central market for agtech over the coming years. You can just see with the acquisition by the Chinese of Syngenta, the hostile takeover still in process of Monsanto by Bayer, there’s a lot of big aggregations going on in this area, and you’ll see more and more capital put to work.

X: Jumping to the next thing on my list: One Kendall Square, near where Xconomy is based in Cambridge, MA. You just made a big announcement about that. I know it’s not all done, but what can you say?

JM: We entered into a purchase and sale agreement about a month or two ago to buy what we felt was one of the few last remaining iconic campuses in the Cambridge area: One Kendall Square. Combined with our Tech Square and what we call the Alexandria Center at Kendall Square, Binney Street campus, we’ll now have three big campuses totaling over 4 million square feet [in Cambridge], which is kind of amazing. We were attracted to the opportunity, one, because of the irreplaceable location, and two, because the existing leases were substantially below market and much of those leases roll over the next couple of years so we can really convert the opportunity to a very accretive kind of acquisition. We’ll close the acquisition sometime probably in October or November. We’ll look to upgrade the campus, bring some interesting new amenities in. We tend to develop more than acquire because we like to create our own value rather than pay somebody else for their value. We feel One Kendall is very unique and we’re thankful for the opportunity to put that under the Alexandria flag and substantially upgrade it, enhance it, and really create an even more powerful campus for the thriving Cambridge life science cluster.

X: Well, I’ve gone through my list of questions. If there’s anything else that you think we’ve forgotten, or that you wanted to add, this would be a great time.

JM: I think the final thing would be the importance of leadership in the life-science industry. You can see by the recent pricing debacle that there’s a total lack of leadership out there in the industry. We need to reignite just a little bit of how it used to be when Merck was the most admired company in the country, and Roy Vagelos was the most admired CEO. We need to get the participants of the life-science ecosystem to really step up and become the pillars of admiration for our society, because they’re really not there today, and they’re taking a lot of grief in many quarters. So I would say, we see a leadership vacuum which needs to be filled.

X: Do you have any ideas on the steps that are needed to get there?

JM: Well, that’s the subject of a whole different interview.

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