As Seen in The Real Reporter
February 28, 2022
By Mike Hoban
The unprecedented demand for lab space in Greater Boston continues to overwhelm supply, with life science companies currently in the market for 6.7 million square feet of space, according to the latest research by CBRE. That demand –fueled in part by record levels of VC funding – is driving an extraordinary level of development for both ground up constructionand office building conversions throughout the region. The market saw 1.4 million square feet of lab space delivered in 2021,with 98.2% of that space preleased, according to the CBRE’s Boston Life Science Q4 report, with an additional 4.5 million square feet set to deliver in 2022 (67.5% of which is preleased). But despite the robustconstruction pipeline, those efforts will stillnot meet the requirements for users in thehottest life science market in the nation.
But the shortage of available lab space is not the only issue life science companies are struggling with. The lack of talent to effectively staff those facilities is also impacting the ability of firms to grow their business. In a 2021 survey, international human resource consulting firm Randstad Sourceright found that more than half (52%) of life sciences human capital and C-suite leaders say that talent scarcity had a major impact on their business in 2020. And a 2020 MA Life Sciences Report offered the following warning: “In short, there is no end in sight to the talent shortage when only traditional means of preparing tomorrow’s workforce are utilized. The future of this industry depends on a robust pipeline of talented and passionate people to make the next generation of scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs.”
Mindful of the impact the labor shortage is having on the industry, the Lincoln Property Company (LPC) is constructing a 15,000 square foot stand-alone Life Science and Technology Training Center (the Pavilion) within Seaport Circle, the 650,000 square foot life science research and office space the firm is developing in the Seaport. “The collective research from our development groups indicated that there was a real need for introducing the future workforce to this industry on a very real, meaningful, boots-on-the-ground level, and that was the genesis of the Pavilion,” says Scott Brown, Executive Vice President for the Lincoln Property Company.
The creation of a community benefit was built into the mission of the project, and the training center is designed to expand access to jobs in the life science industry for populations that have historically been underrepresented in the sector. “The residents of the community where life science facilities are being built are asking, ‘How can we benefit from this growth, and how do our kids get access to this?’ – particularly in communities where the students may not have access to STEM education, which are the historic feeder systems for life science jobs,” says Brown. The goal of the training center is to take students and those in the existing workforce and develop a training program that isn’t a PhD level, four-year degree or even a vocational school, but would still prepare them for careers in life science, Brown explains.
LPC’s researchers identified three distinct groups that would benefit from the facility: adults needing retraining to adapt existing skill sets to the life science industry; teachers that would be trained to teach those new skills to prepare the workforce for life science careers; and classroom and office space for life science job training programs. To date, Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI), a Gloucester-based non-profit whose mission is to address critical challenges facing oceans, human health and the environment through innovative scientific research and education; Just a Start, a Cambridge-based non-profit committed to promoting equity by building pathways to economic opportunity; and MassBioEd, the non-profit committed to building a sustainable life sciences workforce, have signed at the Pavilion.
Lincoln will construct the $600 million Seaport Circle on the 1.1-acre Parcel H, which the firm entered into a 99-year ground lease with Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) in early 2021. The project advances Massport’s diversity, equity and inclusion model with joint ventures in every aspect of the project, including development, construction, design, and property management, and The Pavilion is a key component of those initiatives. The project will be built by Suffolk Construction in a joint venture with MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) General Air; Arrowstreet is Design Architect and Architect of Record (AoR) for the Life Science Building, with Moody Nolan (MBE) as a partner. WBE (WomenBusiness Enterprise) STUDIO ENÉE is AoR for the Pavilion, with Arrowstreet leading the public realm design and coordination.
“Our goal for the Pavilion is for it to be as welcoming as possible, for people to feel safe and inclusive, and to be able to participate in the training for the large (life science) buildings in the area,” says Natasha Espada, founder and Principal of STUDIO ENÉE architects. “This project is a true investment in D&I initiatives and will be in the forefront of racial and economic equity.” “I think the Pavilion is a great example of where planning meets real world needs while also meeting Massport’s D&I initiatives,” adds Brown. “And then you have the life science industry’s needs for space and talent, and both are at a premium right now.”
Development Services Life Science Scott Brown