Home News The lack of homes could strangle our life sciences industry

The lack of homes could strangle our life sciences industry

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Why the concentration of biopharmaceuticals in Cambridge and Boston will drive up costs, exacerbate the housing crisis, and pull the region from its throne.

The region is notorious for already having limited space when it comes to life sciences development. That’s why so many office proposals have been changed to labs.

In the Greater Boston life sciences sector, it’s not often a case of “build it and they’ll come.” Rather, “Where will they live if you build?”

The region is home to the world’s largest cluster of these companies in the world. Real Estate Brokerage JLL.

I brought in the first half of this year 4th highest level of venture capital investment According to the Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, or MassBio. The region is notorious for already having limited space when it comes to life sciences development. That’s why so many office proposals have been changed to labs.

There is a strong argument for building more homes if we want to grow and sustain these businesses.

“Housing and infrastructure remain important to where businesses are located. It is absolutely the determining factor,” he said. Kendall Berlin O’Connell, President and Chief Operating Officer of MassBio. “To sustain this incredible growth we are seeing and to keep Massachusetts the best place in the world for life sciences, we need to ensure there is available and affordable housing. need to do it.”

Many state-based life sciences companies are working on multiple drug developments for approval by the Federal Drug Administration. Once approved, the need for space and manpower grows exponentially.just look Moderna doubles its workforce Following the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, we have planned a similar expansion trajectory for our Massachusetts headquarters and manufacturing facility. In 2021, Massachusetts biopharmaceutical employment increased by 13.2%, he said.

“Massachusetts has been a true leader in cultivating and investing in this industry over the years, and it has been a truly collaborative effort,” he said. Urban Land Institute Boston/New England“We don’t want to lose our market leadership position because we’re not working together and we’re not thinking big about economic competitiveness and housing.”

The Commonwealth is home to many companies that could be the next Moderna. MassBio’s 2022 Industry Snapshot estimates that by the end of 2025, 26-59 million square feet of research and manufacturing space will be added to the state’s life sciences inventory. 80% of lab projects in this region could be ‘reduced’ Amid rising interest rates and a volatile economy, “as demand settles, laboratory developments could be integrated into established life science districts, or clusters, with Cambridge as usual leading the way.” there is potential.”

Despite potential cooling in demand, the Boston Planning and Development Agency approved three new life sciences developments this month.

“Housing and infrastructure remain important to where businesses are located.”

Kendall Burlin O’Connell, MassBio

Affordability and availability of housing are key to remaining economically competitive, so this consolidation poses a major problem.

Of the recent trend of life sciences companies expanding into areas such as Worcester, Merrimack Valley and the North Shore, O’Connell said, “There are several reasons why the industry’s localization is so great.” There may be affordable and affordable housing available and we can move into these other communities to tap into a new and diverse workforce. Without a diverse workforce, these companies would not stay here.”

The concentration of life science workers will make housing very expensive, but the industry is prepared to pay for it more than the general public.The average annual income for the state’s approximately 107,000 life science workers is $201,549. And it far exceeds that. State median household income is $84,385according to census data.

According to MassBio, in theory, spreading out the workforce would reduce the pressure on housing costs in various municipalities, freeing up supplies for those who don’t earn as much.

MassBio isn’t alone in thinking this way.

“This is consistent with the hub-and-spoke model of where the center of gravity is, whether it’s in Kendall Square, the Seaport, or elsewhere in the suburbs. Consulting firm principal John Boyd Jr. said: boyd company“Even New Hampshire is getting a lot of attention from life sciences companies, especially following new tax increases.”

Extending north and west is not enough. Greater Boston may have been a leader in the life sciences for many years, but its crown may rise again.of JLL Ranking Top 10 Includes more affordable housing markets like Philadelphia (#5). Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina (No. 6); and Salt Lake City (No. 10).

“As these companies expand their workforce, talent often comes from outside the market, whether it’s outside the country or somewhere in the United States. The idea there is that people want to live It’s about how we build more homes where we want to.” Mark Bruso, senior manager of research at JLL. “Frankly, Boston doesn’t get it and it won’t improve anytime soon.”

Nearly all conversations about the need for housing in Greater Boston return to high density. Simply put, not enough homes are being built, and increasing density is the solution.a research nonprofits for growth A report released earlier this year ranked Massachusetts 11th for the worst housing shortage in the nation, needing 108,000 homes each year to meet demand.

“If these communities want to jump at the opportunity and build really vibrant, diverse and versatile places, I think they should start with zoning, but it’s not the most attractive place,” he said. . Kristen O’GormanAssociate Principal Architectural office SCB.

The Boston metropolitan area needs more housing to maintain its life sciences crown, but it has the trump card of talent from top universities like Harvard and MIT.

“Housing is something that companies always consider. Jeffrey Myersdirector of research at real-estate broker Colliers, said, “But it goes in the bucket with a number of other things that I think Boston has a very strong advantage.”

College and university focus, funding, access to clinical research labs and manufacturing space are factors that can offset the high cost of living and doing business in Massachusetts, said those interviewed for this article. I’m here.

“There’s a lot of tenacity in Boston that has nothing to do with housing costs,” says Bruso.

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