Commercial Integrator September 2021 - 34

SALES
Prospecting
WHY PRO
AV SHOULD
TARGET THE
LIFE SCIENCES
VERTICAL
Flush with cash from the federal government and
investors, the biotech industry is exploding and is one of
the few still expanding its real estate footprint.
By Zachary Comeau
THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC in 2020 caused
new construction and retrofits to grind to a
halt, and many of those same projects are
scaled back due to the onset of concepts
like remote and hybrid work that allows
organizations to consolidate their real
estate footprint.
However, one sector that has historically
enjoyed a wealth of funding from federal
governments and deep-pocketed investors
got an even larger infusion of cash to solve
the global crisis: biotech and life sciences.
In addition to combatting conditions and
diseases plaguing our aging population,
this market was tasked with developing
treatments and vaccines to slow down the
COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a very
strong year and an even more optimistic
future for life sciences companies. With that
momentum, the biotech real estate market
is on fire, real estate experts say.
A Growing Market to Target
For integrators relying on new construction
and new tenants in existing buildings,
the biotech market should be near the top
of the list.
34
" It's certainly a good market to target, "
says Steven Purpura, president of life sciences
at Boston-based real estate investment
firm Beacon Capital Partners, during
an interview with Commercial Integrator.
According to Purpura, a real estate expert
who previously spent time as head of
the Boston Consulting Practice at brokerage
firm CBRE, there is about 125 million
square feet of biotech space in the U.S.,
and it's growing rapidly in areas like Boston,
San Francisco, San Diego, Philadelphia and
New York.
" It's growing rapidly, and it will continue
to grow, " he says. " I expect it to double in
size over the next 10 years. "
Other public reports from real estate
firms back up Purpura's statements and
predictions.
A 2021 report on the life sciences market
from global real estate services firm Cushman
& Wakefield says the market exploded
in 2020 with a record $70 billion of private
and public capital pouring into the sector
in 2020, representing a 93% increase from
the previous record of $36 billion in 2018.
If the first quarter is any indicator, we
Commercial Integrator SEPTEMBER 2021
could be set for another record year in 2021
with $32.9 billion invested in the biotech
sector in the first quarter alone.
Lab, medical office, and manufacturing
space is in demand while other types of
real estate like office and retail are struggling.
According to the report, there was
almost no slowdown in the life sciences
space in 2020. The report focused on 14
major U.S. biotech markets and found that
the vacancy rates in those areas was 8.7%
when the national average office vacancy
rate was 14.1%.
Another report from CBRE, this one
released in October 2020, found that total
commercial lab space grew by 12% at that
point last year.
CBRE's report also found that employment
in the biotech space was relatively unaffected
by the pandemic-induced downturn,
declining by just 1.3% through July 2020
while total nonfarm employment fell 7.6%.
There will always be a demand for
medicine and treatments as the population
in the U.S. grows older and new diseases
and global health crises arise, which makes
the life sciences sector one of the most
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Commercial Integrator September 2021

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