OC Firm Eyes SD Life Science Market

San Diego Business Journal

Luminous Capital Management based in Irvine in partnership with Virtus Real Estate Capital has acquired a Carlsbad industrial building in the Carlsbad Research Center with plans to renovate it for life science use.
Luminous is less than a year old but is making a big push into the San Diego market. This is the third acquisition that it’s made with Virtus in the region, and more are on the way, according to its founders.

“We’re looking every day. We’ve got another deal that we’re working toward a contract right now and several others that we’ve got offers out on,” said Matthew Stephenson, a founding principal. “We’re looking at stuff that’s empty or that we can get to near term.”
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Based in Austin, Virtus provided equity for the acquisitions.

“Carlsbad Research Center is the premier business park in North County, so we are pleased to have acquired a high quality property in a submarket that is already validated by several life science companies,” said Matt Withey, managing director of Virtus.

Luminous with Virtus as its joint venture partner in April bought a 52,800-square-foot building at 5931 Priestly Drive from Greene Properties for $14 million.

Earlier this year, Luminous and Virtus bought a building at 2290 Cosmos Court for $9.6 million with plans to convert it to life science use.

In September, Luminous bought a building at 10225 Willow Creek Road in Scripps Ranch and is the process of renovating it.

Stephenson said that the new company is focused on San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area, “which are the top two markets behind Boston for all things life science.”

“It’s hard to argue with the activity we’ve seen in San Diego and the Bay Area,” Stephenson added.

Joining Stephenson in founding Luminous were Tom Lam and Bob Dougherty.

“We’ve all done different product types – industrial, housing, office – in other firms,” Stephenson said.

The trio formed Luminous to capitalize on the boom in life science activity.

“There’s no secret it’s going bananas in certain markets,” Stephenson said. “There’s all this venture capital pouring in.”

In San Diego County, Luminous is focusing on submarkets that are growing as more space gets harder to find and more expensive in traditional submarkets for life science companies such as Torrey Pines and UTC.

Stephenson said that Luminous will provide space for companies that have moved beyond startup into manufacturing and development.

Luminous Capital Management
Founded: 2021
Headquarters: Irvine
CIO: Bob Dougherty
COO: Matt Stephenson
CFO: Tom Lam
Notable: The founders of Luminous Capital Management combined have more than 70 years of experience in commercial real estate.