Science Market Update

San Francisco East Bay Life Science Lab Buildings On the Rise, Near Zero Vacancy Rate

Posted by Jaimee Saliba on Mon, Mar 05, 2012

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the largest, most successful established biotech hubs in the US, thanks in part to the presence of 3 of the world's top universities: UCSF, UC Berkeley, and Stanford.  Strong on intellectual capital, the area has been notoriously short of real estate since developers were ordered to stop filling in the Bay back in the 60's.  Fortunately, as manufacturing waned, industrial land became available for redevelopment as high-tech R&D lab space, which is how UCSF's Mission Bay campus eventually came to be.  Across the Bay to the East, bayfront industrial property is seeing a similar repurposing, with particularly mushroom-like life science growth in the little city of Emeryville, though also in neighboring Berkeley and Richmond.

Emeryville covers only about 1 square mile of land just north of where the Bay Bridge touches down in the East Bay.  Berkeley is its neighbor to the north and Oakland to the east and south.  With its industry-friendly history, as well as its proximity to both San Francisco and UC Berkeley, the little city has become a life science haven, and the growth continues at a time when spec R&D construction nationally is at a virtual halt.

On the website for Wareham Development, a San Rafael company, there are no fewer than 24 facilities listed under the heading of Life Science Properties. All but two are in the East Bay, and of those, all 22 are along the waterfront stretching from Emeryville through Berkeley to Richmond (about a 7 mile stretch).  The latest Wareham life science building, near completion in Emeryville, is the 94,000 sf EmeryStation Greenway at 5800 Hollis Street.

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[Wareham's GreenWay Life Science Building in the heart of Emeryville in the SF East Bay]

Just over a mile away to the north, in West Berkeley, Wareham is developing the Garr Building at 740 Heinz Avenue, in the Aquatic Park Center (Berkeley's response to Emeryville's success).  740 Heinz will be a 92,000sf lab building and the eighth Wareham Aquatic Park Center life science building in about a three block radius.  According to a recent article by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance titled "Markets Tighten in U.S. Life Science Sector," bucking a national trend of low development and high vacancy, the SF Bay Area life science market has a near-zero vacancy rate in its high-tech lab R&D buildings like the ones Wareham continues to build.

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[Wareham's Garr Life Science Building in Berkeley's Aquatic Park Center]

Perhaps the biggest news in life science development to come out of the East Bay recently is Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's choice of UC Berkeley's Richmond Field Station as the location for consolidation and expansion of its bioscience programs.  UC Berkeley has long since outgrown its central campus and acquired, through purchase or lease, many other East Bay properties.  Its Richmond Field Station (RFS) is a 156-acre parcel (about one third wetlands) approximately 6 miles from central Berkeley.  Wareham has already built one facility there, the Region IX EPA Laboratory completed in 1992.  The future LBNL facilities at UCB's RFS property will be a boon to scientists, developers, and the City of Richmond.  In fact, the competition to win the LBNL contract was fierce in the East Bay, with 20 proposals submitted for consideration, narrowed to 6, representing 5 cities.  LBNL already lists locations in Emeryville and West Berkeley among its off-site locations. UC Berkeley's off-site locations are even more extensive.

In conclusion, all is well in the life science sector in the San Francisco Bay Area, and high tech research lab development continues to be especially strong in the East Bay, both from UCB and LBNL expansion as well as private on-spec builders like Wareham.

Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will be holding its 15th Annual Berkeley BioResearch Product Faire event on the UCB campus on June 6, 2012. Then on the following day, June 7, we'll be across the
Bay in San Francisco hosting our 21st semiannual UCSF Biotechnology Vendor Showcase on the Parnassus Campus. These networking opportunities bring life science researchers together with laboratory equipment suppliers to discuss the latest technologies in lab science in the biotech superhub that is the SF Bay Area. For information on exhibiting, click the buttons below:

san francisco researchucb research

If you are interested  in attending the UC Berkeley event  as an exhibitor or researcher register here.

Tags: UCSF, National Lab, New research facilities, California, CA, UC Berkeley, University of California Berkeley, University of California San Francisco, new construction, San Francisco, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco East Bay, Berkeley

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