Life sciences is a complex but burgeoning field. In 2019, it attracted 93% greater capital investment than the year before, and the Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated demand further. Developers specializing in this field garner higher rents and recession-resilient, long-term leases. Expect this to continue, as some reports indicate submarkets in states like California showing near zero percent vacancy and escalating rents as high as 25% year over year. The rapid growth trend isn’t limited to the West Coast, either. On the East Coast, there has been a significant increase in biotech companies coming to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park lured by the draw of a talented workforce and cheaper land. The Triangle is listed fourth, behind Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego in Newmark’s 2021 Biotech Cluster Rankings.
However, running a life science project in an FDA-regulated environment presents myriad challenges. Success is tied to designing spaces suitable for specific life sciences applications. In addition, tenants often seek to minimize improvements, if possible, to reduce timeline to occupancy. With these and other realities in place, keep the following considerations in mind when developing and leasing space to a life science company for lab operations.