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SEATTLE-A new report on the local life sciences real estate market finds that while the overall office vacancy in the Puget Sound is in the 16% range, the overall vacancy rate for lab space is less than 7%, and under 3% when sublease space is removed from the equation. The regional report is part of a new national publication by Colliers international called “Alchemy” that was introduced this week during the BIO 2004 Convention in San Francisco.The inaugural regional report is more of an overview of the market rather than an analysis. According to the report, the Puget Sound area has over 175 biotechnology and medical technology companies occupying some 3 million sf in the region. The vast majority of these companies are split between Seattle and the greater Eastside, with most based either in Downtown Seattle or in Bothell. “We are in the middle of a new development cycle which targets biotech,” says Matt Christian, a vice president with Colliers in Seattle who has been representing high-tech companies in Seattle for the past decade. “Even though space is tight right now, we will continue to closely track lab space as we anticipate explosive industry growth which will create new projects.” The region’s biomedical research activity dates back to the founding of Genetic Systems and Immunex, both established in the early 1980′s. Seven of the 10 largest biotech firms are now located in Seattle and most new development is occurring in Seattle due to the proximity of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington.

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