Vestar Adds New Biotech Tenant to Mixed-Use Property

Perfect Day, a Berkeley, Calif.,-based biotechnology company that developed the world’s first animal-free milk protein, has leased nearly 60,000 square feet of space at The Gateway’s BioHive hub in Salt Lake City, where it will open its second location in the U.S.

Founded in 2014 by bioengineers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, Perfect Day will join Recursion, a biotech company that has its headquarters at The Gateway and currently leases more than 200,000 square feet of office and lab space. Recursion first announced in December 2017 that it would be taking space at The Gateway in 2018 when a $100 million redevelopment of the 1.4 million-square-foot downtown lifestyle and entertainment property was completed by Vestar, which owns and manages the mixed-use asset.

In July 2021, Recursion inked a new lease agreement with Vestar for an additional 100,000 square feet, effectively doubling its occupancy. Recursion’s life science space was created by redeveloping a former Dick’s Sporting Goods retail location. Recursion, a clinical-stage company industrializing drug discovery by decoding biology, is also adding 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space at INDUSTRY, a repurposed former silver foundry in Salt Lake City’s growing Granary District.

Jenny Cushing, vice president of leasing for Phoenix-based Vestar, told Commercial Property Executive The Gateway has approximately 22,000 square feet of space available for life science tenants to join Perfect Day and Recursion.

Construction is starting immediately on the state-of-the-art facility for Perfect Day. In addition to being Perfect Day’s second U.S. location, it will be a critical base for its fast-growing Enterprise Biology business. The company’s flagship product, the world’s first precision fermentation protein, debuted in 2020. Instead of relying on cows, Perfect Day works with microflora to create proprietary animal-free cow whey protein. The product reduces blue water consumption by up to 99 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by up to 97 percent and non-renewable energy use by up to 60 percent compared to conventional production methods. Perfect Day’s ingredients will help companies improve and scale their sustainability efforts across the supply chain and meet consumer demands.

Life Science Expansions

TM Narayan, Perfect Day’s chief of business operations, said in a prepared statement the second U.S. base will expand and diversify the company’s technology capabilities and allow it to accelerate its impact and business reach with new infrastructure, resources and connection to the biotech talent in Salt Lake City. Perfect Day plans to add more than 60 high-paying jobs to its Salt Lake City team over the next four years.

The expansion to Salt Lake City is in partnership with the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity for an EDTIF tax credit.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in prepared remarks Perfect Day is an exciting addition to the city’s fast-growing life science industry. She said The Gateway has evolved into a dynamic campus for life science companies to grow and innovate and is a valuable partner in the city’s efforts to expand the biotech and life science ecosystem in Salt Lake City.

In February, Mendenhall released a health-care innovation blueprint to continue to build the life science industry and create more job opportunities. Plans call for building a global brand, increasing investments and maximizing industry partnerships, creating education-to-workforce partnerships and removing or reducing barriers in regulations and zoning and ensuring lab and office space is available.

In addition to highlighting Recursion’s expansion at The Gateway and INDUSTRY, she also called attention to Denali Therapeutics, which develops therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and plans to open approximately 65,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space at INDUSTRY, adjacent to Recursion’s new space.