As seen in Bisnow
By Andrew Martinez
When Lincoln Property Co. purchased a 288K SF former Cisco Systems building in Boxborough four years ago, the $6M acquisition seemed ripe to cater to the local industrial market’s hottest asset, e-commerce.
But the politics of getting suburban Boston land rezoned for warehousing these days has gotten tougher.
“Lincoln, in an earlier proposal, had discussed the possibility of just that, warehouse space in the back of that site,” Boxborough Town Administrator Ryan Ferrera told Bisnow. “But as a town, we didn’t even bring it forward because we didn’t think it would be supported by our town meeting.”
But around Boston, e-commerce isn’t the only game in town for industrial developers, and Lincoln Property pivoted. Since November, the developer has signed leases with Arranta Bio and Vibalogics, which will use the space for biomanufacturing. The use fits the site’s light manufacturing zoning and frees it from community concerns over e-commerce users’ traffic and pollution.
Biomanufacturing facilities are stepping into an already-competitive industrial market driven by e-commerce demands, experts said. The rapidly growing subset of life sciences assets has seized on openings in 2021 as last-mile delivery centers have faced stiff competition and backlash from residents.
Biomanufacturing users typically have similar real estate requirements as e-commerce buyers, including high bays, heavy power and parking ratios, Newmark Executive Managing Director Tony Coskren said.
“There’s definitely some interplay,” Lincoln Property Director of Research Peter Conway said of the competing assets. “What you’re starting to see more, when there’s an industrial building that breaks ground, it could be marketed to GMP or distribution.”
Development Services Life Science Peter Conway