Lab space record set in Boston

There seems to be an insatiable demand for lab space in the Boston area. In fact, according to Bloomberg, the region now has more biotech projects under construction than anyplace else in the country and will likely soon top the San Francisco Bay Area for bragging rights as America’s life sciences hub.

When the article was published in the spring, the Boston metropolitan area had 32 million square feet of life-sciences space, just slightly behind its West Coast counterpart. However, Boston had a staggering 62 million square feet under construction or proposed, a figure that dwarfs the Bay Area.

There are many factors underpinning the construction boom, including the region’s renowned universities and hospitals, its existing infrastructure of major pharmaceutical companies, its history of biotech startups, its young, well-educated workforce, and its longstanding reputation as a hotbed for research, science, medicine, and innovation.

The multitude of projects have been a boon for the Boston building trades and for plumbers in particular. The technically complex projects require lots of plumbing–much more than office buildings, residential complexes, and other types of jobs.
With the high demand for biotech, and the uncertainty about office space in a post-pandemic, remote work-savvy, recession-wary world, many developers are rethinking office buildings and reconfiguring them into life science spaces. For example, 10 World Trade in the Seaport was first envisioned as 585,000 square feet of office space. When its owner, Boston Global Investors, lost its financing, it added some floors devoted to lab space and was able to get the project back on track.

Can the boom continue unabated? Will the demand wane? Will a wobbly economy derail the sector? It’s hard to predict the future, but even with so many projects in the pipeline, there appears to be no end in sight. Regardless of what happens, Boston remains poised to take the crown as the lab space capital.