Greater Boston’s medical and life science expertise is on full display in the battle with the COVID-19 pandemic. Local companies spread throughout the entire market are focusing on vaccines, therapies, testing, production of PPE —all in search of ways to help and keep people safe. The disruption in our day-to-day lives has caused the whole commercial real estate market to pause, including the area’s lab market. However, that part of the market remains strong, with stable vacancies and record-high rents.
The life science market has attracted many new players. New markets are being unlocked as well, including incubator and small lab offerings in Natick from Abi-Labs. Building conversions are becoming more common in the city and in the suburbs. Among the more notable conversions are 601 Congress — with multiple floors being considered for lab conversion for life science tenants — and 51 Sleeper and 1 Winthrop Square, purchased by Nan Fung Life Sciences Real Estate with plans to convert them to plug-and-play lab space. IQHQ controls the Fenway Center project, along with purchasing Eisai’s former campus in Andover. Lab has become the highest-and- best-use property type, and developers are rushing to cash in on this voracious industry.