The remarkable expansion of the life sciences industry in recent years has not only propelled development to record levels, but also created dynamic change. Namely, top-tier biotech clusters have expanded due to industry demand, while younger markets have embraced industry paradigms, such as partnerships with research universities. Looking forward, 2023 will likely see the growing industry trend of biotech-focused adaptive reuse, while life sciences companies continue to seek the connectivity of the campus.

So, using CommercialEdge research data, we analyzed where the largest projects were nearing completion and put together a list of the top 20 life sciences projects coming to fruition in 2023.

Boston Life Sciences Projects Claim 6 Places in Top 20

Big pharma continues to drive the world’s largest life sciences cluster, as seen in the biggest projects due to be completed in 2023. These companies are electing to consolidate talent and move into new and larger biotech-focused developments within the local ecosystem. At the same time, demand for office and lab space in greater Boston has led to market expansion.

Boston’s Seaport Welcomes Largest Life Sciences Project of the Year

Home to 2023’s largest project — 400 Summer St. — South Boston’s Seaport District is an industry hotspot that’s benefitting from the recent move of large pharma companies into the city.

Specifically, the property at 400 Summer St. is a 610,00-square-foot, 16-story, new build that will serve as the headquarters for one of Massachusetts’ largest life sciences companies — Foundation Medicine, a subsidiary of Roche that focuses on cancer care. The deal is the largest life sciences lease in Boston in the last decade.

The building’s design is a nod to the ubiquitous 19th-century brick warehouses found throughout the area and forms one-half of a twin-building project with Boston’s WS Development, which includes the adjacent 350 Summer St.


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The recent surge in Seaport life sciences construction also includes Necco Street, which stands to be the 11th-largest nationally. The 12-story, state-of-the-art facility is the result of Eli Lilly (the second-largest pharma company in the U.S by market capitalization) investing $700 million to house its Lily Institute for Genetic Medicine.

Cambridge Crossing Campus Home to 3rd- & 8th-Largest Life Sciences Buildings of 2023

Staying in the greater Boston area, we return to the traditional epicenter of the market to find both the third- and eighth-largest life sciences developments for 2023: The two buildings — 250 Water St. (#3) and 441 Morgan Ave. (#8) — will be located on the new mega campus Cambridge Crossing (CX). As the final remaining infill development in the area, the 45-acre property located at the intersection of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville was purchased by DivcoWest in 2015 for $291 million — one of the priciest land deals ever in Boston at the time.

With 2 million square feet dedicated to office and lab space across five buildings, the project has already attracted two of the biggest names in biopharma: Sanofi — the largest life sciences employer in Massachusetts — and Bristol Meyers Squibb.

Clearly, the greater Boston area projects reflect the metro’s ability to scale, while decades of investment have created an ecosystem that can support the growth of the largest life sciences companies. And, with nearly 2.5 million square feet, the six greater Boston developments accounted for roughly 35% of life sciences space provided by the 20 largest projects this year.

Yale University Anchors 2nd Biggest Life Sciences Delivery of the Year

In collaboration with universities, emerging life sciences clusters have access to ample research resources, in addition to providing a workplace for future talent.

To that end, the second-largest life sciences project to be completed this year will open in New Haven, Conn., the home of Yale University: 101 College St. will be a 10-story life sciences facility featuring Yale as an anchor tenant, with the university leasing 125,000 square feet of office and lab space throughout three floors. Yale has also committed funding to a 48,000-square-foot incubator lab space in the building providing lab space for local biotech start-ups.

What’s more, 101 College St. will also connect and partner with New Haven Public Schools, Gateway Community College, and Southern Connecticut State University to train young people for jobs in life sciences.

Another university-anchored life sciences development is Houston’s TMC Helix Park Campus. Here, Baylor College of Medicine signed on as a tenant at One Dynamic, the 10th-largest delivery for 2023. The first of four life sciences buildings planned for the 37-acre campus, the futuristic, 12-story tower will also feature retail and restaurants.

Not to be outdone, the final university-powered life sciences development — The Pelotonia Research Centre — is the 12th-largest life sciences project scheduled for completion this year. The property will support The Ohio State University’s College of Medicine efforts in cancer research. Named in recognition of Pelotonia’s philanthropic support for Ohio State research, the new, five-story lab research facility in Columbus, Ohio, will be located in the University’s Carmenton Innovation District — a 270-acre, mixed-use, multi-billion project.

San Diego Claims 2 Spots in Top 10 Largest Life Sciences Projects

Meanwhile, in San Diego, the limited supply of life sciences space around the research institutions in La Jolla and University City has forced the market to expand downtown: The fourth-largest life sciences building, The Vida, will open along downtown’s Embarcadero waterfront. The property is located within the Research and Development District (RaDD) — an eight-acre, $1.5 billion project from local life sciences real estate specialist IQHQ. The Vida is a seven-story, 405,000-square-foot property featuring 33,000 square feet for retail, in addition to state-of-the-art lab and office space in San Diego.

Less than a mile from The Vida is the seventh-largest life sciences building — Building 100, which will rise 10 stories to provide 389,000 square feet of dedicated office lab space. Building 100 is part of a large conversion project from Stockdale Capital Partners that will transform the former Horton Plaza shopping mall into a 10-acre, mixed-use campus set across seven city blocks.

NYC Gets Creative with Adaptive Reuse for Life Sciences

Despite its inherent challenges, property use conversion is a great solution to real estate demand outweighing available space. Plus, conversion to lab and office space in New York City is crucial to fulfill the demand for real estate in a metro that has one of the largest employment bases, but precious little space left undeveloped. In response, the City of New York has created a $1 billion initiative — LifeSci NYC — which includes $530 million for lab and incubator space construction. Accordingly, NYC expects to see 2.6 million square feet of life sciences space delivered in the next five years.

New York’s entry in the top 20 and the sixth-largest 2023 project nationally is West End Labs, located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Proving suitable for lab space, the eight-story, core-and-shell conversion project from Taconic and Nuveen Real Estate has ceiling heights up to 16 feet. The new interior also features a spiraling automobile helix — a remnant from the building’s former use as a showroom and repair facility for Chrysler Corporation that has been redesigned to promote a collaborative working space.

Alexandria Real Estate Behind 5 of Top 20 Largest Life Sciences Projects for 2023

With origins in developing the biotech hub of San Diego, Alexandria has since gone on to become a major name in the life sciences real estate market. Notably, the developer is behind one-quarter of the top 20 projects set for 2023. That includes a project in Seattle designed to meet LEED Platinum certification standards, as well as the iconic 15 Necco St. in Seaport, as well as three additional projects on the East Coast.

In particular, one life sciences cluster that has benefited from Alexandria’s investment in the industry is South Lake Union in Seattle. Here, Alexandria has developed 1 million square feet of Class A laboratory and office space, in addition to opening the Alexandria Launch Labs, which nurtures biotech start-ups.

One beneficiary of this launch lab initiative is start-up Cajal Neuroscience, a drug discovery company that recently signed on as a tenant in the soon-to-open life sciences building from Alexandria. The building — dubbed Eleven50 after its address at 1150 Eastlake Ave. in South Lake Union — is also the 14th-largest life sciences project this year. The property, which will include office and lab space, has also been designed to strategically block noise from the adjacent highway, while also providing lake views.


All property data — including square footage, asset class and projected completion — is courtesy of commercial real estate research and listings platform CommercialEdge. The data was extracted on March 24, 2023.

The study included properties listed as having life sciences offices and labs as their primary use type, with mixed-use properties also included. To make the list, a property had to have a projected completion date between January 1 and December 31, 2023.

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