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New York City Drops $1B On LifeSci NYC, Doubling Previous Investment

The city is investing $1B as part of LifeSci NYC

After last year’s record-breaking leasing year for lab space in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking to further catalyze the sector by investing $1B in life sciences.

The mayor and the New York City Economic Development Corp. made the funding announcement this week as part of LifeSci NYC, an initiative announced five years ago aimed to drive lab space development and generate jobs. Originally, the city was investing $500M.

“New York City can do more than just fight back COVID-19. We can invest in fast-growing sectors like the life sciences to stop the next pandemic before it starts — and become the public health capital of the world,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This expansion will accelerate the growth of local researchers and businesses inventing the cures for whatever comes next. It’s the key to our economic and public health recovery, and it will produce more effective and more equitable health outcomes for New Yorkers across the five boroughs.”

Over the next 10 years, the city says it will also spend $200M to help with building commercial lab space and incubators and will spend $300M of the city’s money helping nonprofits run new research. A total of $5M will go to help early stage companies and $5M will be set aside for an internship program to spur the talent pipeline.

Leasing activity for lab space in the city reached a record 156K SF in 2020 while office leasing slowed to its lowest pace in decades. The city has already broken last year's record, and this week, Black Diamond Therapeutics Inc., an oncology medicine company, inked an 18K SF office lease at the Alexandria Center for Life Science at 430 East 29th St., according to CBRE.

Still, many have predicted that the nascent sector will take years to blossom; New York has long played second fiddle to places like Boston and San Francisco, but both the state and city governments have worked to beef up the industry by pushing forward with a slew of incentives and funding. Companies like Silverstein Properties, Taconic Partners, GFP Real Estate, King Street Properties and Deerfield Management have all in recent years moved forward with life sciences developments in the city.

“New York is second in the country in National Institute of Health grants, Columbia University is the highest producer of graduate degrees in biomedical, bioengineering and biological sciences,” Jerry Salama, principal at The Janus Property Co., told Bisnow earlier this year. His firm is developing the Manhattanville Factory District — a 1.1M SF mixed-use development in Harlem that runs from West 125th Street up to 128th Street.

“We have an enormous concentration of life sciences talent in New York and no available space for those users.”