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BEDFORD, MA-A scarce commodity for suburban Boston just got a little harder to find, as a growing life sciences company has leased 23,000 sf of laboratory space here in a building repositioned for that use by Alexandria Real Estate Equities. But while the opportunity at 45-47 Wiggins Ave. has disappeared after being scooped up by VisEn Medical Inc., Alexandria is reportedly preparing to deliver more space at a nearby property acquired last week for $2.84 million.

“Supply is very tight right now,” Colliers Meredith & Grew EVP Joseph Flaherty acknowledges of suburban laboratory product. A series of well-publicized defections from Cambridge in the past three years, such as Shire Pharmaceuticals to Lexington and Praecis Pharmaceuticals to Waltham, has eroded the inventory to the point that contiguous blocks of any heft are hard to secure, and Flaherty says high-end laboratories with modern systems and above average ceiling heights are especially lacking.

VisEn is expanding from 10,000 sf occupancy at its current headquarters in Woburn, and Flaherty says the tenant should be in 45-47 Wiggins Ave. by the end of the summer. Flaherty and CMG VP Tucker Hansen represented the tenant in lease negotiations, while Daniel Cordeau and Tyler Spring of Jones Lang LaSalle brokered the deal for Alexandria in their role as exclusive leasing agents of 45-47 Wiggins Ave. Constructed in 1976, the single-story building has 38,000 sf total and is among several that Alexandria owns in the Bedford/Lexington area, including the most recent addition at 3 Preston Ct.

While not involved in the sale of 3 Preston Ct., Flaherty says Alexandria is expected to take a similar path as the REIT did at 45-47 Wiggins Ave. in taking an outmoded flex building and upgrading it for laboratory use. Efforts to contact Alexandria to discuss its plans were unsuccessful, while calls to the building’s leasing agent at Richards Barry Joyce & Partners were not returned by press deadline. RBJ reportedly negotiated the off-market sale of 3 Preston Ct. to Alexandria on behalf of the 30,000-sf building’s former owner, Suffolk Advisors of Lexington.

Flaherty says he anticipates other developers will consider suburban laboratory construction in Greater Boston, but also relays that 2008 has been slow on demand for space, both within and outside Cambridge. “We are in a little bit of a lull right now,” he says, with possible reasons being the shaky economy and a lack of venture capital funding for the life sciences sector.

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