The Seaport: Boston’s next life sciences frontier

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From Don Domoretsky
EVP, Life Science Practice

“As a real estate developer, we look for growth oriented markets because that’s how you create value,” so says Stephen Faber, Executive Vice President at Related Beal. “You have an insatiable appetite from a community of people that are motivated to invest in life sciences. And we here in Boston have particularly benefited from the growth in that industry because we have ‘it’, and in my mind ‘it’ is MIT.”

Thanks to MIT and many other factors, there is no argument that Greater Boston is the premier life sciences market in the U.S., and perhaps the world. Across the region, there are currently over 2,000 life sciences establishments, and 13,000 jobs have been added within the industry in the last decade. We boast the highest volume of lab space, the most NIH funding and the 2nd highest volume of VC funding.

Thus, everyone wants to be in Greater Boston, and particularly, in the nucleus of the cluster, East Cambridge. But with average asking rents above $75/psf and vacancy at just 2.9%, you can’t always get what you want (or, maybe you can, but it’s going to come at a pretty penny), and that goes for tenants and landlords.

“For us, we have to look at what’s the next frontier? Where can we find that growth, because today, that’s not in East Cambridge. So where do we go now?” says Faber.

“In our opinion the most fertile location to go is the Seaport. Why? Because it still maintains an urban location in which we believe life science firms will be able to attract and retain the best talent. It is located a Silver Line connection from the Red Line which is critically important. And, it is part of the fast-growing submarket in Boston and yet it has a small basis in life sciences and high tech which in our opinion can only flourish and grow,” added Faber.

iSQ Seaport

Count Faber and Related Beal among those looking to make the Seaport an attractive and viable option for life sciences companies. Their properties, including the 375,000 SF development project iSQ and nearby 27 Drydock, will only help to bolster what is already a burgeoning submarket.

“If you were a Cambridge company being forced out of Cambridge, your very first stop of where you would typically want to go in our opinion would be the Seaport,” said Faber. “We think this is a growing cluster. We don’t think there is a huge jump between tech and life sciences. Like-minded doesn’t always have to mean biology or chemistry. Like-minded R&D, engineering and tech are all intertwined and growing closer together rather than further apart.”

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