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Marcus Partners Breaks Ground On Seaport Life Sciences Project

Marcus Partners' Paul Marcus speaking at the groundbreaking.

Standing in front of a lab-converted Airstream Bus, Marcus Partners executives celebrated the start of construction Thursday on an adaptive reuse life sciences project in the booming Seaport neighborhood.

The development, branded as Foundry at Drydock, will transform a one-story manufacturing facility into an eight-story, 262K SF life sciences project. The building is fully leased to Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based cell programming platform headquartered nearby in the Innovation and Design Building. It is expected to be completed in 2024.

Located on Fid Kennedy Avenue, the project will be a part of the Boston Planning & Development Agency's Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in the Seaport. The project team includes John Moriarty & Associates, SGA and DREAM collaborative. The developer landed a $200M construction loan from Citizens Financial for the project. 

“The Foundry at Drydock is Marcus Partners' first project in this area,” Marcus Partners CEO Paul Marcus said at the event. “Due to some very smart planning over the years, as it is known today, the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park remains on the cutting edge of economic development for the city and we are happy to be a part of this constantly evolving ecosystem.”

At the groundbreaking, the team announced a new partnership with BioBus, a New York-based nonprofit that works with underrepresented school children to teach them about science and technology. The team plans to donate $200K to Biobus, in an effort to expand its educational services to Boston and the Greater New England region. The company works through converted Airstream buses that travel to different schools across the region. 

Marcus Partners celebrated start of construction at the site of the Foundry at Drydock, a new life sciences building in the Seaport.

The Foundry is also the first project in the Seaport to commit to Boston's Climate Resiliency Infrastructure Fund, created to provide financial support to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise and climate change for all tenants within the RLFMP.

The project has also responded to BPDA's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion requirements by partnering with Maven Construction, a BIPOC women-owned construction management company, and DREAM Collaborative, a BIPOC-owned architecture firm.

Ginkgo Bioworks went public with a $17.5B SPAC deal in September, and the following month it announced it expanded its lease at the Foundry project. 

“We expect this expansion will provide us with the important capacity we need as we serve our growing ecosystem of developers using biology to address the world’s most pressing challenges,” Ginkgo Bioworks co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Barry Canton said in the press release. “The cutting-edge technology deployed in the Foundry enables the groundbreaking and meaningful work our teams are carrying out each day to innovate industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food, materials and more."

The Seaport is the largest life sciences submarket in Boston with 2.4M SF of inventory, and it had 0.8% vacancy as of last quarter, according to Colliers. While some projects like the Foundry have landed full-building tenants before starting construction, others have broken ground on spec, such as 10 World Trade, a 555K SF project from Boston Global Investors that began in April.