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High-Profile Focus: Life Science

18

November 2020

Life Sciences and the Suburbs: Factors Behind the Real Estate Shift

by Imran Khan Even before COVID-19, seismic shifts in the life sciences industry were encouraging labs to think beyond urban centers. The global pandemic has only accelerated and magnified these changes, particularly in Cambridge and Boston, where real estate and infrastructure challenges pose problems for the booming biotech industry. Follow along to learn more about key factors influencing the life sciences expansion into the Metro and Greater Boston areas. Resource and Infrastructure Challenges

Resource and infrastructure challenges have also pushed life sciences companies to think differently about location. Most life sciences startups – even those focused on a narrow specialization – require large laboratories and sterile environments. Greater-Boston, offering

more square feet per dollar, is more conducive to building labs that demand larger footprints and spatial volumes. Last year, 30% of National Institutes of Health funding went to firms located in the suburbs west of Route 128, according to the same report by CBRE, and venture capital monies funneled into the western suburbs increased 76% from 2010 to 2019. In Boston and Cambridge, limited lab space, combined with traffic and parking concerns, has made the suburbs even more attractive. At the end of 2019, the vacancy rate for labs in Cambridge was only 1.5%, according to CBRE’s Boston

Last year, 30% of National Institutes of Health funding went to firms located in the suburbs west of Route 128... and venture capital monies funneled into the western suburbs increased 76% from 2010 to 2019.

Life Sciences 2020 report. In response, more labs are moving out of the city. Government Support of Onshoring

Boston has been a biotech hub for decades, boasting assets like MassBio Edge, a purchasing consortium which allows life sciences companies to use collective buying power to reduce costs and improve access to necessary supplies. Over time, the Massachusetts state government has played an important part in fostering this growth via regulations supporting “onshoring,” the practice of keeping manufacturing jobs inside the United States. In 2008, for example, the state passed legislation for a 10-year, $1 billion plan to support onshoring in the life sciences. With the emergence of COVID, onshoring has become even more of a priority as government leaders are focused on ensuring medical facilities have access to critical drugs and equipment. The effects of onshoring will increase virtual integration with an emphasis on all parts of the supply chain being physically near one another to reduce shipping time and improve communication among partners. In this regard, Boston shines, with life sciences companies from all parts of the supply chain already located in-region. As the onshoring continues to expand the industry, the Boston biotech zone will need more space for more companies – and that space is found in the suburbs. COVID Accelerates the Trend

COVID is merely putting a spotlight on

COVID is merely putting a spotlight on a transition that was already in motion. The global pivot toward remote work has leaders in every sector questioning how and where we work; although life sciences employees often need to be in the lab, commute times and quality of life issues give suburban-situated labs a clear advantage. a transition that was already in motion. The global pivot toward remote work has leaders in every sector questioning how and where we work; although life sciences employees often need to be in the lab, commute times and quality of life issues give suburban-situated labs a clear advantage. And after a year marked by drug, PPE, medical device, and testing shortages, the push to fortify life sciences manufacturing within the United States now has rare bipartisan support. In booming biotech hubs like Boston, these trends mean that the expansion into the suburbs is only likely to accelerate. Imran Khan is an associate principal and director of science at Margulies Perruzzi, a New England architectural and interior design firm.

IT Completed at Gates Medical Facility

FIBER CEMENT . RAIN SCREENS . METAL PANELS . EIFS SPECIALTY CLADDING

Norwood, MA – LAN-TEL Communications, Inc., based in Norwood, has completed the installation of the network infrastructure project at the 33,000sf Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute facility at One Kendall Square. The project included installation of Panduit general premises wiring solution. Due to COVID-19, the NECA contractor’s project scope expanded

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to include additional low-voltage requirements, including telecom/phone and A/V installations, as well as IT network integration of the Cambridge facility with Gates Medical Research headquarters in Seattle, Wash. Jay Burke, LAN-TEL PM and Ted Matte, foreman, headed the project team, supervising an IBEW Local 103 crew in the fast-track, 12-week project, which was completed in August.

Profile for High-Profile

High-Profile: November 2020  

The November 2020 edition of High-Profile has a focus on the Life Science industry in New England, highlighting AEC professionals that are d...

High-Profile: November 2020  

The November 2020 edition of High-Profile has a focus on the Life Science industry in New England, highlighting AEC professionals that are d...