San Diego: The Rising Star as a Hub for Lab Space

San Diego, once known primarily for its beautiful beaches and perfect weather, has emerged as a prominent hub for laboratory space in recent years. This phenomenon has piqued the interest of many researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors alike. In this blog post, we will explore the factors that have contributed to San Diego’s meteoric rise as a premier destination for lab space and the resulting impact on the biotech and life sciences industries.

Thriving Biotech Ecosystem

San Diego’s robust biotech ecosystem forms the bedrock of its success as a hub for lab space. The region is home to some of the world’s leading research institutions, including the renowned University of California San Diego (UCSD) and the Scripps Research Institute. These institutions attract top-notch talent, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. The proximity of such prestigious research centers to the lab spaces has created a unique environment that encourages knowledge sharing and advancement.

Government and Private Investments

The city of San Diego, along with the state of California, has made significant investments in supporting research and development within the biotech sector. Generous tax incentives, grants, and funding opportunities have attracted startups, biotech companies, and multinational corporations to set up their research and development operations in the region.

Additionally, private investors have recognized the potential of San Diego’s biotech industry, pouring capital into lab space infrastructure and technology. These investments have led to state-of-the-art facilities with cutting-edge equipment, which further attracts top talent and companies seeking to conduct high-impact research.

Access to Talent

San Diego’s allure extends beyond its breathtaking scenery. The city boasts a highly educated workforce with a strong focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Graduates from UCSD, San Diego State University, and other prestigious institutions are drawn to the numerous job opportunities within the thriving biotech sector.

Furthermore, San Diego’s quality of life and family-friendly environment have made it an attractive destination for professionals seeking a better work-life balance. The availability of skilled talent has played a pivotal role in attracting biotech companies to establish their lab spaces in the area.

Collaborative Culture

Unlike the cutthroat competition seen in some biotech clusters, San Diego’s biotech community fosters a collaborative culture. Companies and research institutions often form partnerships to share resources, expertise, and knowledge. This synergistic approach allows for faster breakthroughs and accelerates the development of life-changing technologies.

In addition, the presence of various networking events, conferences, and industry-specific meetups facilitates meaningful interactions between scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors. This dynamic exchange of ideas nurtures innovation and has undoubtedly contributed to the growth of lab spaces in San Diego.

Supportive Infrastructure

San Diego’s rise as a hub for lab space can also be attributed to its supportive infrastructure. The region boasts world-class research parks, incubators, and accelerators specifically tailored to the needs of biotech startups. These facilities offer not only state-of-the-art lab spaces but also business development support, mentorship, and access to potential funding sources.

San Diego’s transformation into a hub for lab space has been a culmination of several key factors. Its thriving biotech ecosystem, government and private investments, access to a talented workforce, collaborative culture, and supportive infrastructure have all played essential roles in attracting companies and researchers to the region.

As the biotech and life sciences industries continue to evolve, San Diego is poised to remain at the forefront of innovation. The city’s commitment to nurturing scientific breakthroughs and its reputation as a collaborative community bode well for its future growth as a leader in the global biotech landscape. As more discoveries are made within the walls of San Diego’s lab spaces, the world can look forward to witnessing the positive impact of this vibrant and ever-expanding biotech hub.

5 Key Factors for laboratory site selection

If you are thinking of building a new lab or expanding your existing one, you might face some challenges with finding the right site. Below are the 5 Key Factors to Think About When Choosing a Site for Your Lab Project or say 5 key factors for laboratory site selection. Different locations have different advantages and disadvantages. To help you make a smart decision, here are five things you should think about before selecting a site.

Below are the 5 key factors for laboratory site selection

Key Factor 1. Location

The first key factor for laboratory site selection is Location affects site selection in various ways. One of them is the availability of existing space. There are many pharmaceutical and biotech start-ups on the East and West coasts, but not all of them succeed. This means that there might be some lab spaces that you can reuse. However, in the Midwest, these spaces are harder to find. On the other hand, the Midwest might offer some benefits, such as lower living costs. If you cannot find an existing lab space or afford to build a new one, you might have to convert to another type of space.

Another factor is the type of science you want to do in your lab. When you compare different sites, think about how they support your scientific goals and how they affect your transportation logistics. For example, if your lab does testing, where will the samples come from? Do you need to be close to an airport or a package delivery hub? If your testing is time-sensitive, location can be crucial for site selection. Also, consider the available workforce. Do they have the skills you need or are there training centers nearby to develop those skills?

Key Factor 2. Size

The second key factor for laboratory site selection Size is another important consideration for site selection, whether you are building a new lab or renovating an existing one. When you decide how big of a space you need, try to plan ahead, not just for your current operation. Will this space still meet your needs in five years? Can you add more workstations or testing capabilities? Sometimes, multi-tenant space can be a good option for size flexibility because you might have the first chance to take over an adjacent space in the building.

Size and cost can be tricky to balance. A large open space like a warehouse might have a low cost per square foot, but it might require more upfront investment to upgrade the site utilities and structural supports. On the contrary, choosing a smaller space that might need less initial investment might not be enough for your long-term needs. Moving to another facility too soon can be more costly than choosing a site that has room for growth but needs more initial investment. It depends on when and how you want to invest in your facility.

Key Factor3. Site Utilities

The third key factor for laboratory site selection Lab functions usually needs more complex and powerful utilities than a normal building provides. For this reason, buildings that are or have been renovated for labs can help you save a lot of money. These savings can give you more flexibility for tenant improvements.

A large amount of equipment in a lab places a very high and critical demand on electrical systems. Also, clean power might be needed for highly sensitive instruments because a voltage spike can damage expensive equipment. Sample and supply inventories might also need a strong emergency power system so that the storage equipment works without interruption to prevent damage or loss caused by an outage. To bring most existing facilities in line with these demands, they will need increased electrical service and possibly a new or additional emergency generator.

Commercial plumbing systems are usually designed to accommodate an average number of restrooms and sinks in areas such as breakrooms or kitchens. Labs use many more plumbing fixtures such as lab sinks, handwash sinks, glass wash equipment, emergency eyewash/shower stations, and floor drains, all of which increase supply and drainage needs. In addition, some labs even produce waste that needs a separate drainage system. These can be either biological or chemical in nature and are not allowed in the local or city system. Changing or adding an entire plumbing system can be very disruptive. It will likely interrupt the building’s services and potentially require extensive demolition of the concrete slab.

Depending on the nature of the science and the class of the lab, the requirements of the mechanical system may be more complex. Clean rooms and isolated testing need a complicated air supply system that can affect other areas of design. For most labs, floor space is considered “prime real estate” and it might not make economic sense for it to be used for major mechanical equipment; therefore, the best option for housing mechanical equipment is usually above the ceiling or on the roof. This places extra demand on the building’s structural system.

Key Factor 4. Structural

The fourth key factor for laboratory site selection While a large open space may be ideal because of the amount of available floor space, several of those building types will need a reinforced structure to support roof-top mechanical equipment. If the space has high ceilings, installing a mezzanine level can be a cost-effective solution. Maintenance needs and ease of access to the facility’s MEP equipment will heavily influence the choice between the proposed locations.

Bringing the facility up to the current building code can create a significant cost impact. Once a small percentage of the existing structure is modified, the code requires the entire structure to be upgraded to current standards. Current code standards will always have more stringent structural requirements for earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.

Neighboring tenants can also affect the structural environment of a potential space. Excessive noise and vibration caused by another tenant’s business operations can introduce new variables and disrupt sensitive equipment. You don’t want to build a testing lab with sensitive equipment next to an auto body shop. Measures can be taken to manage these complications, but for some operations, this is a considerable risk.

Key Factor 5: Long-term planning and projected growth

The fifth key factor for laboratory site selection, At San Diego Lab Spaces we recommend using a data-driven planning approach to site selection. Our method determines potential growth scenarios and outlines the priority of specific criteria to facilitate the site selection process. If you don’t consider how your operation will need to expand or fully understand its lifespan before selecting a facility, you could end up investing too much money in space. Think about your operational procedures: Will you need more lab or office workspace in two years; how about five years? What about storage? Will you need to grow multiple inventories at different rates? If they need to be stored within a controlled environment onsite growing these inventories will impact your utility demand and size needs.

We believe that long-term planning and projected growth are so important to the success of your facility that we have consulting team focused on it: Our Strategic Facility Planning (SFP) team helps clients analyze their current operations and then provides a roadmap for accommodating their growth: SFP works with each client understand their unique situation whether they are planning for three-years five-years or their unique growth horizon: We help our clients take proactive approach creating best space their operation by defining their needs preparing road map get there:

Ready to begin laboratory site selection?

No matter where are site selection process taking these five things into consideration will help make an informed strategic decision regarding your laboratory project: Even though there is no such thing perfect site San Diego Lab Spaces can provide design services to make what need: We here help define what looks make function your current long-term needs.

Do you know? Demand for Lab Space Increased 280% in San Diego During Pandemic

Need lab space in Boston or Cambridge? Good luck.

An Updated Look at San Diego’s Lab Space Market Heading Into 2019

San Diego is number three nationally in lab space as we close out 2018, with further growth expected heading into 2019. San Diego continues to see booming growth in biotech lab and life sciences sectors, which are becoming the biggest drivers of the city’s economy.

Much of the growth in these sectors is due to the young talent in the area, thanks to several research institutions located in and around San Diego. University of California at San Diego, Scripps Research Institute, and Salk Institute for Biological Studies all inject talent into the San Diego workspace, helping it become one of the leading hubs for biotech in the nation.

Data from Yardi Matrix showed that biotech office and lab vacancy was at 12.5% in the third quarter of 2018. However, when looking at spaces that work for lab space tenants, that rate drops to under 7% vacancy. Simply put, there is a lack of available space in San Diego’s biotech lab market, which the building of new space being too slow to accommodate many firms looking for facilities that are move-in ready.

Current Trends

Over the past few years, firms are increasingly looking for a campus-style environment with a variety of perks and amenities that will help make them more attractive for employees, both in terms of recruiting new talent and retaining current talent. While this manifests itself in various ways, new designs have a distinctly creative feel, putting greater emphasis on spaces that encourage flexibility and collaboration.

Landlords can benefit from this demand by offering move-in ready options for firms, which will help them grow and expand as their firm grows. There also been a large amount of capital put into developing on-site amenities including fitness centers, restaurant, and conference centers, which are attractive to firms and employees alike.

The Community

San Diego is known for a biotech community that is primarily focused on research and development. While both early and mid-0stage companies are in the market, much of the growth has been driven by early stage companies which has benefited from a large amount of venture capital resources in the area. This has led to many developers either building or retrofitting spaces to meet changing demands, usually in the 2,000 to 10,000 square foot range.

The main heart of the San Diego biotech and life science community is situated in University Towne Center (UTC), Torrey Pines, Sorrento Valley, and Sorrento Mesa, with approximately 15 million square feet of space between them. These four submarkets are located within five miles of each other, and have received new construction or lab conversions on more than two million square feet of space over the past few years.

Many of the future projects are likely to be located in the UTC, Torrey Pines, and Sorrento Mesa submarkets. One example is a 113,000 square foot project by Alexandria Real Estate Equities in the UTC area. Called GradLabs, this facility will feature furnished suites with high-level amenities and services.

The Bottom Line

While direct vacancy rates sit under 7% for lab spaces, even that low number may be inflating the amount of space that is truly available. Many of the vacant spaces are second-generation spaces that are either obsolete, or shell space that needs to be built out (a process that can take 8-10 months for design and construction). The dearth of move-in ready spaces is a big impediment for continued growth in the short-term.

In the long-term, with large amount of capital investment into the life science sector, demand should remain very strong into 2019 and the future. Trailing only Boston and San Francisco as a life science community, the city is growing thanks to six major universities and dozens of research institutions. In total, more than 600 life science companies are located in San Diego, which lead to almost $15 billion in economic impact each year. With everything from an impressive talent pipeline to established companies, the city’s lab space market will continue strong.