Durham-based Inspire Pharmaceuticals has picked a new home in northwest Raleigh, making it the latest local company using a shaky real-estate market to find better space for its headquarters.
The drug-development company's lease at its existing headquarters just off I-40 near the edge of Research Triangle Park expires in January. Workers will move into a new building in the Brier Creek area about six miles away.
"It's exciting to move into new, upgraded space, with all of the shops and restaurants within walking distance," said spokeswoman Cara Amoroso.
Inspire's move follows similar shifts by other Triangle companies. E-mail marketing firm iContact is moving into larger offices in Morrisville from Durham. Drug research firm INC Research plans to move its Raleigh offices to a newer building about three miles away.
Inspire considered other options, including staying put in the space it leases in Durham's Imperial Center, Amoroso said. The new headquarters will be in Class Aoffice space.
Inspire will be the first tenant in the 121,388-square-foot building, which was built by American Asset Corp. in 2008. The development company has seen improvement in the market this year, said executive vice president Joe Dye. About 72 percent of American Asset's 555,000 square feet of office space in Brier Creek is now occupied, according to a Grubb & Ellis Thomas Linderman Graham market survey. "It was a win for us, of course, to have a nice lead-off tenant for that building," Dye said.
The seven-year lease allows Inspire to expand into additional space later. Inspire sells drugs to treat various eye diseases but is testing an experimental treatment for cystic fibrosis.
CEO Adrian Adams has said that if that drug is successful, Inspire will expand its work force. Inspire employs about 240 people, including 115 in Durham.
The overall cost of the lease will be comparable to Inspire's current rent, Amoroso said. Inspire will pay $73,209 per month in 2012 on 42,850 square feet, according to the lease the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That works out to about $20.50 per square foot for the year.
American Asset had been asking $22.50 per square foot for the space, according to Grubb & Ellis market surveys.
Inspire now leases about 51,000 square feet, but that includes unused lab space, and workers are spread across several buildings, Amoroso said.
Staff writer David Bracken contributed to this report.