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BOSTON-The Bay State’s biotech industry will consume about 1 million sf of office and lab space within the next few years as life science firms expand at a booming pace, an NAI study shows. Greg Larson, a biotech expert with NAI Hunneman Commercial tells GlobeSt.com that the strong demand for space is due to both the clustering of life science firms in Boston and Cambridge and the region’s strong venture capital sector investing in biotech firms.

“Clustering is magic,” says Larson, who helped develop the report. “You have life science companies and the people who finance them, all within a very tight geographical range and that really creates combustion.”

Leading the wave in the biotech space grab is Cambridge, with more than 100 medical research, biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical firms competing for space. This year alone the market for class A and B biotech lab and office space in that city increased by more than 1 million sf, according to the study. Lab space in Cambridge alone increased from 7 million sf to 7.5 million sf in the past year, with the proportion of lab space in that market rising from 42% to 44%. Lab space is expected to soon become 50% of the total Cambridge inventory, the report states.

In Boston, the growth is equally strong. The Center for Life Science Boston, which is still two years away from completion, will add 702,940 sf of life science space in the Longwood area, is already 80% leased. And on Albany Street, Boston University Medical Center has plans to add another 194,000-sf biotech laboratory.

Chris Landers, a biotech expert with GVA Thompson Doyle Hennessey & Stevens, tells GlobeSt.com that as life science firms fill up the existing space in Boston and Cambridge, the boom will move to the suburbs. Lexington and Waltham are already seeing signs of that emerging trend and even Devens, about 35 miles northwest of the city, will see a boom when Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. builds a 750,000-sf biologics manufacturing facility there.

Even more life science space is planned for the future. Larson says at least 750,000 sf of biotech space is currently being planned for Boston and Cambridge.

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