The life science market in San Diego has grown rapidly over the past two decades, and today, San Diego is the third largest biotech hub in the country. Since 2000, the industry has grown five times as fast as the local economy and added 85,000 jobs, according to a report from Cushman & Wakefield. The report attributes this activity to the aging population—which has fueled growth in several top-tier life science markets across the country. By 2030, more than 20% of the population will be aged 65 or older.

“The life sciences industry is in global expansion, and certainly in the major life sciences hubs we are seeing gradual conversion of R&D and office projects to lab and life sciences related real estate,” Greg Bisconti, executive director, national life sciences practice group leader at Cushman & Wakefield, tells “As to the impact on the office and industrial areas, there are inherent functions within a typical life sciences user: office, lab, flex and/or warehouse space. The larger and more successful a life sciences company becomes, the more likely they are to take on conventional office and industrial space.”

This growth has had a significant impact on the real estate market, and several users occupy both office and R&D space. Companies like Illumina has gobbled up several hundred thousand square feet of class-A space, along with pharmas like Pfizer, Bristol Myers, Roche, Sanofi. “It’s significant, and will continue to be a driver in the office and industrial arena,” Bisconti. “As to the asset class, it’s almost exclusively class-A. One thing I would like to highlight is that, for both tech and life sciences, the labor market is tight, so users are especially focused on creating inspiring workplaces that retain, attract talent, and foster productivity and creativity. It needs to be cool, open, and light.” In San Diego, 2 million square feet of life science space has come to the market.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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