New York City is doubling its investment in the life science sector. Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Economic Development Corporation launched LifeSci NYC, a program to establish the city as a leading life science market, with an initial investment of $500 million. This week, the city announced that it would increase its investment to $1 billion.

The city will make this investment over the next decade, and the initiative is expected to generate 40,000 jobs. The increased funding will allocate an additional $200 million to construction of commercial lab space and incubators; an additional $300 million to nonprofit research initiatives; an additional $5 million for the Life Sciences Expansion Fund; and an additional $5 million to invest in the LifeSci NYC Internship program.

Mayor Bill de Blasio noted the importance of investing in emerging industries like life sciences, particularly following the global pandemic. “This expansion will accelerate the growth of local researchers and businesses inventing the cures for whatever comes next. It’s the key to our economic and public health recovery, and it will produce more effective and more equitable health outcomes for New Yorkers across the five boroughs,” he said in a statement.

The city is also executing an RFP for commercial research and development projects related to life sciences, including medicine, medical devices and diagnostics. The city will provide $112 million to support one or more innovation projects. Chosen projects will receive up to $20 million each.

The city isn’t alone in committing to New York City’s future as a leader in life sciences. In March, Georgetown Co. launched the redevelopment of a 200,000-square-foot property to create a laboratory, research, clinical and biomedical facility. The property is already fully leased to Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine and to designer, scientist and inventor Neri Oxman. The property is expected to catalyze a life science hub on the far west side of Manhattan.

In the same month, Taconic Partners and Nuveen Real Estate secured $393 million in construction financing to redevelop 125 West End Ave. in Manhattan’s West Side life science cluster. The project will convert an existing 399,309-square-foot office building into a research and laboratory complex featuring floorplates ranging 37,000 to 53,000 square feet, 15’9″ heights, industrial grade floor loads, direct loading access on multiple floors and gated shipping and receiving points.

In 2020, the life science leasing market was active despite the pandemic, a sign of the industry’s strength. According to a market report from CBRE, Protara Therapeutics leased 10,000 square feet at Deerfield Management’s Cure, located at 345 Park Avenue South; and ReOpen NY signed a 18,000-square-foot lease at Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ redevelopment of the Bindery Building.

This year, leasing activity is surpassing the most aggressive expectations. Already this year, there have been a record of more than 257,000 square feet of new life science leases through May. Major deals include Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s 165,000 square foot lease at 787 Eleventh Avenue and C16 Biosciences’ 19,000 square foot lease at the Hudson Research Center.

Venture capital is fueling the growth of this market. In 2020, VC funding reached its second highest total on record at $942 million, and in the first quarter of the year, VC funding reached its highest quarterly total at $393 million, according to research from CBRE. The second quarter looks just as promising with approximately $144 million raised in the first two months. Overall, VC funding for the year-to-date is already 60% of the 2020 total.