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Life Sciences VC Firm Expands To Boston, Signs 58K SF Lease With Beacon Capital

A rendering of Beacon Capital Partners' proposed expansion of its Southline project in Dorchester.

A Chicago-based life sciences venture capital firm is expanding to the Boston market, signing a lease at the redevelopment of the former Boston Globe headquarters. 

Portal Innovations plans to occupy 58K SF of lab and office space at Beacon Capital Partners' Southline development in Dorchester, it announced Wednesday. The company plans to initially move into 22K SF as the rest of the space is being built out and will fully move in during the first half of 2024.

"We are excited to bring our unique business model to an emerging part of the Boston life science ecosystem," Portal Innovations CEO John Flavin said in a release. “Portal is eager to support entrepreneurs and founders by providing its Crafted Capital model of seed capital investment, access to strategic lab space, and management expertise to de-risk these early-stage ventures.”

Portal will work with ZoE Life Sciences and Beacon Capital to build out the space and invest in more life sciences companies. This is Portal's first location in the Boston market, with two other spaces in Atlanta and Chicago.

The lease announcement comes after Beacon filed plans Friday for an expansion to the project, a redevelopment of the former Boston Globe headquarters on Morrissey Boulevard. The developer proposed a new six-story, 305K SF lab and office project right next to Southline, with an elevated pedestrian walkway that will connect the two, the Boston Globe first reported.

Portal isn't the only venture capital firm at Southline. VC firm Flagship Pioneering became the building's first major tenant, occupying 45K SF along with apparel brand Nobull, which signed a 96K SF lease in February 2022. Prior to Portal, the building was 20% leased, the Boston Business Journal reported.

Beacon has also partnered with life sciences trade organization MassBio to set up a 4K SF workforce training center that is set to open early next year. The center will address the skills gap the industry faces and will help individuals in the neighborhood receive certificates that will help them obtain jobs in life sciences.

The Morrissey Boulevard area is seeing its own life sciences cluster begin to form. Accordia Partners proposed 4M SF of lab and office space at its Dorchester Bay City project, and Center Court Mass LLC's 35-75 Morrissey Blvd. Master Plan calls for four life sciences buildings.