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BOSTON-The state’s emerging med-tech industry is turning to high tech to solve its space needs. In the next three years, an industry survey estimates, the fledging industry will add 5,000 jobs and gobble up an estimated 2.5 million sf of office and flex space in the Bay State. And they’re finding that space in the high tech sector.

Offices and industrial properties that once housed Massachusetts’ booming high-tech industry are discovering new life as med-tech conversions. “There’s no question we’ve seen an uptick in deals in the last 18 months,” Michael Mike DiGiano, executive vice president with NAI Hunneman Commercial in Boston, tells GlobeSt.com, adding that in the next few weeks he expects to close on two more med-tech deals.

Buildings left vacant after the state’s high-tech bubble burst several years ago are particularly attractive to the fledging industry because they contain office space, warehouse facilities and loading docks, all suited for businesses that are self contained says James Boudrot, also with NAI Hunneman Commercial. “Because a lot of the life cycle of a product happens within four walls–research and development, manufacturing, sales and distribution–they need multi-functional buildings,” he says, noting that the Route 128 beltway skirting Boston, once home to the region’s high-tech powerhouses, is offering up some of the best potential for med-tech firms.

Growth in the field is already evident. According to a survey conducted by NAI Hunneman in conjunction with Mass Medic, a group that advocates the integration of medicine and innovative technology, the med-tech industry expects to add 5,000 employees to the state’s work force and take an estimated 2.5 million sf of space in the next three years alone.

The Route 128 West area is already starting to see the impact. DiGiano says many med-tech firms have either moved into that area west of the city or are eyeing space there for future growth.

“These 5,000 new jobs can translate into 2.5 million sf over the next few years, which can move the vacancy rate down a few points and that is pretty significant,” he notes, adding that suburban vacancy rates for that sector of the market currently stands at 17%. “It won’t have a monumental impact,” adds Boudrot, “but it will help lower vacancy.”

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