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BPGbio Relocates from Framingham to Waltham – Should You Consider A Major Move?

Posted by Anne on April 1, 2024

As the lab market continues to soften from the height of 2020-2022, lingering vacancy has opened up opportunities for local lab companies to find discounts and a variety of opportunities for their firm.

For example, BPGbio recently announced they will be relocating from 500 Old Connecticut Rd in Framingham to 300 Third Ave in Waltham, taking 70,000 SF for their new headquarters.  BPGbio was able to take advantage of a softened lab market to receive lease incentives not available 9-12 months ago.

While traditionally Waltham/Central 128 has been one of the most expensive lab markets in Greater Boston, just behind Boston and Cambridge, there are more opportunities arising and rent incentives that can make the move to Central 128 more palatable for companies currently located further outside Boston.  For some, while Central 128 rental rates are higher, the overall cost to relocate to Central 128 can be more cost-effective after factoring in construction costs or employee retention.

When it is time to consider the next steps for your companies’ location and you want to consider a major relocation, keep your business strategy in mind to ensure you are making a decision that aligns your business needs with your real estate. This can help save time, money, maximize operational efficiency, and increase the ease of reaching your business goals. Here are a few items we discuss with our life science clients when they are determining their next location:

Go Beyond the Rental Rate – in addition to analyzing the monthly base rent cost, it’s important to also take into consideration the NNN expenses, construction costs, improvement allowance provided by landlord, and expansion opportunities to allow maximum flexibility during your lease term.  All of these factors can impact the overall cost of relocating, no matter the location.

Talent Pool – who are you hiring and where are they living.  Locating your business near the talent you need to staff your operation is vital in the analysis process.  Depending on the work that will be taking place, you may realize that the labor pool ideal for the tasks on site are centered in specific Greater Boston submarkets.  Utilize demographic data to analyze major hot spots.

Assess Your Infrastructure Needs – many lab companies do not take the time to truly understand their infrastructure needs prior to looking at lab space.  We frequently see lab companies’ adamant that they need intensive infrastructure (certain amount of power, CFMs, etc.) but once they sit with a building architect or lab consultant, their infrastructure needs drop.  Depending on the amount of infrastructure needed, some 2nd Generation lab spaces or Light Lab buildings can be adequate for a companies’ needs.  These 2nd Generation or Light Lab buildings are much more cost effective – sometimes $10-$20/SF+ less costly in base rent. 

Importance of an Ecosystem – locating your business near stakeholders or like-minded companies can be important for some companies as it can lead to lower supply chain costs, feed innovation, or increase access to funding.

Working with a real estate advisor to analyze how your real estate can strategically align with your operations and mission can be a great benefit to your bottom line and long-term success.   Reach out to one of the members of R.W. Holmes to work on your real estate strategy and find the best lab buildings for your unique needs.

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