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LEXINGTON, MA-A community becoming known as a destination for life-sciences companies has scored another victory, as Concert Pharmaceuticals extends its occupancy at One Ledgemont Center for seven years. The firm is also expanding substantially, reportedly taking 40,000 sf in the building after previously leasing a fraction of that amount.

“That’s a done deal,” one source tells GlobeSt.com, although no official acknowledgement has been issued. Broker John Boyle of DTZ FHO Partners referred calls to the Beal Cos., owners of Ledgemont Center, which were not returned by press deadline. Boyle and DTZ FHO colleague Kimberly Roop reportedly represented the landlord. Concert Pharmaceuticals broker Neil Schneider of McCall & Almy also did not respond to inquiries from GlobeSt.com.

The source tracking the lease negotiations notes that it removes one of the last remaining blocks of existing laboratory product in the Route 128 Central belt. Led by the defection of Shire Pharmaceuticals from Cambridge into approximately 400,000 sf at the Lexington Technology Park, other major life sciences deals signed in the submarket in recent months include Altus Pharmaceuticals leasing 85,000 sf at 610 Lincoln St. in Waltham; ImmunoGen Corp. securing 88,000 sf at 830 Winter St. in Waltham; and Microbia taking 40,000 sf at 60 Westview St. in Lexington. In its just released Biotech REview report, Colliers Meredith & Grew says nearly 750,000 sf of laboratory space has been leased or is about to along the Route 128 corridor since last summer.

CM&G puts the overall vacancy rate for 5.1 million sf of suburban laboratory space at 9.1%, down sharply from 17.1% at mid-year 2007. The defection of Cambridge companies has been a big reason, as tenants seek to escape tight supply and rents running up to $70 per sf. While suburban pricing has risen, CM&G estimates that space in that market ranges from $25 to $43 per sf, depending on age, location and quality.

Although the surge of activity has been unprecedented in the past year for Route 128 lab space, the concept is nothing new to Ledgemont Ctr., which is considered one of the first suburban alternatives for life sciences companies. The Beal Cos. has been promoting such a use since acquiring Ledgemont Center in the 1980s, feeding off the park’s close proximity to Cambridge.

Financial terms of the Concert Pharmaceuticals lease were not available. Beal has secured several other deals there recently, with medical device concern Tepha Inc. taking 20,000 sf at One Ledgemont Ctr. and Pulmatrix leasing 15,000 sf.

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