The migration of life science and healthcare firms to the suburbs was a hot topic at New England Real Estate Journal’s recent Life Science and Healthcare Summit. Senior Leasing Director Rob Yacobian of Cummings Properties was one of four experts on a panel discussing location-related trends for the biotech sector. Read below for the highlights of Rob’s contributions to the conversation.
How the life science boom has affected the Cummings portfolio
Life science firms currently make up more than 10 percent of the Company’s portfolio, with the largest concentrations in Woburn, Beverly, and Medford. The type of space most in demand by these biotech firms has evolved over the years. Cummings initially worked with many early-stage firms seeking single-story buildings with a mix of office and lab space. Today, an increasing number of our life science clients are more established companies moving from nearby Cambridge into our multi-story class A and B office buildings.
The net effect of the boom has been extremely high occupancy throughout Cummings’ flex and office space holdings. As they transition to the manufacturing stage, many biotech firms need flex space. The limited availability of this type of space in Boston and Cambridge, coupled with an overriding desire to cut leasing costs and invest more money in the science itself, is driving many firms to the cost-effective tech clusters in the suburbs.
How Cummings will accommodate continued growth in the life sciences
Cummings Properties is designing new buildings with higher ceiling clear heights to best accommodate lab HVAC infrastructure. The firm is also exploring the possibility of modifying existing lab spaces within the portfolio to better suit chemical storage and HVAC needs. Multiple new buildings either recently completed or slated for construction in 2020 include the Dunham Ridge business and technology campus in Beverly. Additionally, various buildings are being repositioned from office space to laboratory space throughout the portfolio as part of an ongoing effort to accommodate lab users of all sizes seeking a custom buildout.
How Woburn supports its flourishing life science business community
Woburn has welcomed the influx of life science firms with multipronged levels of support. In recent years, Woburn City Council and Planning Board enacted zoning amendments to expand the areas where the life science use category can operate by right in office and industrial park zoning districts. They also established and maintain the Biomedical Oversight Committee to enforce safety protocols. The support of local government has helped Woburn earn a Platinum-level BioReady community rating from Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), an organization invested in making the state an industry leader.
Cummings Properties is also partnering with the city and surrounding communities on potential road infrastructure changes at the junction of I-95 and I-93—such as the Cedar Street slip ramp project—to accommodate expanding business activity throughout Woburn.
Learn more about Cummings Properties’ available lab space, manufacturing space, and office space. If you would like to discuss how our portfolio can accommodate your business, please give us a call at 781-935-8000 or submit a convenient online contact form.