The renovation of Pfizer's former building at 200 Cambridge park Drive in West Cambridge has been "transformative" for the area, said Evan Gallagher of NAI Hunneman.
This article originally appeared in Boston Business Journal.
The explosive growth in the biotech sector has led to a surge in the demand for lab and office space to house those companies. But in case you haven’t heard, space in the global hub of biotech — East Cambridge — is getting pretty hard to come by.
Evan Gallagher, executive vice president and principal at real estate brokerage NAI Hunneman, said that particularly over this past summer — normally a lull time for the real estate business — there was an uptick in activity among biotechs. A lot of that activity has been focused outside Kendall Square on several areas that have become mini-biotech hubs unto themselves.
Here’s a rundown of six areas where rents are cheaper than the $60-per-square foot price typical for East Cambridge, and where Gallagher told me some of the most activity has been seen.
West Cambridge. Ever since Pfizer moved out of its Alewife headquarters to move into the heart of Cambridge, the space it left behind has been renovated, mostly by King Street Properties. “I think the best word to describe that area now is, it’s been transformative,” said Gallagher. Rents in buildings like 200 Cambridgepark Drive are currently in the low $40-per-square foot range.
Boston’s Seaport District. The relocation last year of biotech giant Vertex to Boston has led the way for dozens of smaller firms to stake claims in nearby space. Gallagher said that in particular, the huge building at 27 Drydock Ave., where Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a major tenant now, continues to be a popular spot. In the low $30-a-square foot range, it’s almost half of what you can expect in East Cambridge
Watertown. Adjacent to Cambridge and still easily accessible by bus, biotechs are finding “The City known as the Town of Watertown” attractive since MIT and Harvard students can still get there without much trouble. “You get the value of not necessarily paying Cambridge rent but still having access to an urban environment,” Gallagher said. Space at buildings such as 480 Arsenal St. and 313 Pleasant St. goes for around $40 a square foot.
Lexington. About 10 miles northwest of Cambridge, Lexington has grown to become the site of dozens of biotech firms. Cubist Pharmaceuticals is the largest, but many smaller ones (Agenus and Concert Pharmaceuticals among them) occupy buildings including 44 and 113 Hartwell Ave. Rent is in the $30 per square foot range.
Bedford. While perhaps best known for its medical equipment firms like Hologic and Insulet Corp., Bedford is also home to growing number of biotechs such as newly-public Ocular Therapeutix. Among the buildings offering cut-rate rents in the mid- to high-$20s is 18 Crosby Drive and several lab-capable buildings on Burlington Road.
Waltham. Giants like Alkermes have long chosen to house their research and development facilities here, while sizable biotechs such as ImmunoGen also call the city home. Gallagher says that space at 285 Bear Hill Road can be found in the mid-$30 per-square-foot range.
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