Research and Development

Repurposing Commercial Space for Life Sciences and Biotech

Building Metrics Must Be Carefully Considered for Suitability

Published 6-22-2022

Funding for life sciences is booming, causing a space demand surge in already tight markets across North America. Companies that are ramping up production or spinning out of university labs often lease space in new or in-progress buildings but can have trouble finding the perfect fit. Commercial building inventory, both built and under construction, consists mainly of office space with systems that are incompatible with modern research missions. Outside of a few biotech-focused cities—Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle, for example—it’s hard to find a developer that understands lab space needs, so a life sciences company might hire an architect to work with developers on a redesign. Space considerations include zoning constraints, floor-to-floor heights, minimum floor plate, and electrical capacity.