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Massachusetts To Add 20M SF Of Life Sciences By 2024 After Record-Breaking Year Of Lab Construction

The rising Cambridge Crossing office and life sciences campus under construction in May 2021.

The Bay State’s booming life sciences market grew by 5M SF last year and has more than doubled in the past decade, according to a Massachusetts Biotechnology Council report released Wednesday.

There is now more than 40M SF of dedicated life sciences space in Massachusetts, a 117% increase from the state's 18.4M SF footprint in 2011, according to MassBio's report, which drew upon research from CBRE, Colliers and JLL.

While it took a decade to add 20M SF to the state's inventory, another 20M SF of lab and biomanufacturing space is expected to deliver by 2024.

The widespread development will be fueled by increasing venture capital funding that reached $5.5B last year and surpassed $4B in Q1 2021 alone. More than half of all funding is going to companies based in Cambridge, but its dominance is receding: Companies outside of Cambridge accounted for 43% of all initial public offering dollars raised in the first half of 2021.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for municipalities outside of Boston and Cambridge to continue to get a larger piece of the pie,” MassBio Vice President of Membership and Economic Development Ben Bradford said. “We’re starting to see new municipalities understand what it takes to be a good partner.”

Companies skipping the triple-digit rents in Kendall Square and rising asking rates in neighborhoods like the Seaport are shifting focus to Watertown, Waltham and Somerville. New destinations like Chelmsford, 30 miles north of Boston, and Newton, just 11 miles west of downtown, have drawn lab developers’ interest in the past 12 months.

Biomanufacturing requirements have also expanded their search for former warehouse space toward the North Shore and Central Massachusetts. Across the state, 87 cities and towns are designated by MassBio to be BioReady, or having favorable infrastructure and zoning for development.