by Mike Hoban
RevistaLab, a new platform launched by healthcare real estate information provider Revista, recently hosted a two-day event designed to introduce the new service to the life science market. Held at the Encore Boston Harbor on Oct. 13-14, the conference presented a deep dive into the Boston, San Francisco and San Diego markets as well as a comprehensive overview of the national life science market by RevistaLab principals Hilda Martin and Mike Hargrave, and also featured panel discussions with local and national life science experts and investors.
The conference kicked off with Martin and Hargrave presenting data on the three leading life science markets, with special attention given to Boston. Despite a recent drop-off in VC funding from record levels last year, it remains strong, and according to a December 2021 survey from HR consulting firm AEON, 71% of bioscience firms indicated they were going to increase their workforce. “If you’re in R&D or manufacturing, obviously you can’t work from home, so this translates into a big need for space,” said Martin.
That demand has pushed overall vacancy in Greater Boston to below 10%, with space in the East and Mid-Cambridge submarkets virtually nonexistent (less than 1% direct space available). This has driven an unprecedented surge in construction and conversion activity – with good reason. In place rents for Boston’s existing 61 million square feet (MSF) of inventory average $64.27, compared to San Francisco (35 MSF) $52.69, and San Diego (23 MSF) $44.58 through Q3 2022.
Boston’s life science inventory is expected to increase by 52% over 2021 levels by the close of 2024, with 28.8 MSF set to deliver over three years. The new product will be evenly divided between new construction and conversions. By comparison, San Diego (10.0 MSF) and San Francisco (7.5 MSF) will add a combined 17.5 MSF during that time period, further cementing Boston’s reputation as the top life science market. There is also over 40 MSF in the planning stages in Boston, which would double the current inventory – assuming it all gets built.
For those concerned about overbuilding, Hargrave says that “much of what is hitting the market in 2022 and spilling into 2023 is mostly leased, so the (product) that is going in here now is mostly meeting pent-up demand.” RevistaLab research indicates that 83.3% of space that will be completed in 2022 is already leased, and approximately one third of the projects that will deliver in 2023 and 2024 are also pre-leased.
The RevistaLab event attracted investors, analysts, and press outlets. While Revista focused on the three largest life science markets of Boston, San Francisco and San Diego, the platform will roll out data for additional geographic markets during the coming months. “We feel our initial RevistaLab conference went really well,” said Hargrave. “It was intimate, so we got to interact with pretty much everybody there. We got a lot of great feedback about the data, and we’re confident that the next conference will go as well as it has for our other medical data platforms.”
Mike Hoban covers AEC and real estate industry news in New England.