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Posted by Anne on September 16, 2022

Case Study:  Finding Value Lab Space Quick in Central 128
By Elizabeth Holmes

For more than 45 years, R.W. Holmes has assisted growing companies in Greater Boston with their real estate leasing needs. In today’s market, life science companies are faced with an extremely difficult task of finding quality, efficient, and budget-friendly lab space in Greater Boston. For many, the space needs to be available quickly – within 3-6 months – adding another layer to the difficult site selection process.

Case Study: AmberGen – 425 Waverley Oaks Rd, Waltham
Recently, R.W. Holmes assisted AmberGen with the relocation of their lab and office from Watertown to Waltham. AmberGen needed our assistance with finding a property to lease after their previous building was acquired and the new owner wanted to triple their rent. Due to their ongoing research, the relocation had to be completed within six months and there could not be any downtime between the two facilities. AmberGen hoped to find similarly priced lab space for their new facility after historically paying around $30/SF.

Considering AmberGen’s short time frame for construction, it was crucial that that search focus on dependable, knowledgeable owners who would be able to deliver the space quickly and accurately. RWH’s extensive network of building owners enabled us to narrow down AmberGen’s options and negotiate the best rental rate, including a good tenant improvement allowance.

Purpose-Built Lab vs. Lab-Ready Space:
Central 128 is seeing a major increase in purpose-built lab buildings. These buildings are state-of-the-art and come with all building infrastructure in place to accommodate life science companies who need substantial lab buildouts as well as high-image office space to impress investors, clients, and employees. However, these buildings also come with top-of-the-market rents – now averaging in the low $80s NNN.

For companies who need to be more budget-conscious or do not need significant lab infrastructure (only need BSL 1 or BSL 2 lab space and lab accounts for 50% of the space or less), lab-ready properties can be an interesting alternative. These are office, industrial, or flex buildings that have the necessary power, infrastructure, and ceiling height to be converted into lab. These properties typically have rents closer to $20-35 NNN. However, with the lower rent, owners will not provide as substantial of an improvement allowance, which may require you to come out of pocket to get your ideal buildout.

What’s Best for You?
For more information on Purpose-Built Lab vs. Lab-Ready space, and which is best for your company, please reach out to R.W. Holmes’ Life Science Team.

Dean Blackey

Managing Director
Dean Blackey joined the company in 1999 and is now Managing Director at R.W. Holmes. His e ...

David Gilkie

Senior Vice President
David Gilkie has over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate and specializes in ...

Elizabeth Holmes

Director of Corporate Services
Elizabeth Holmes is the third generation of the Holmes family to work at R.W. Holmes Realt ...

Mike Ogasapian

Assistant Vice President
With over 8 years of experience, Mike has worked on various transaction types but has focu ...
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