- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 4, 2003

Drug development and a rise in life sciences research are sparking demand for new laboratory space nationwide, a survey of scientists says.

About 80 percent of American scientists believe their organizations will need to expand their lab and research space, according to the survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, a British group representing real estate professionals worldwide.

About 45 percent said their organizations planned to build new space within the next two years.

Reed Business Information conducted the survey on behalf of RICS and Building Design and Construction magazine. It polled 224 life sciences researchers from universities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals.

“Research lab construction has been an area of explosive growth over the last four to five years in the private, government and higher education sectors,” said Simon Taylor, chairman of the U.S. division of RICS and vice president of Hascomb, Faithful & Gould, an Atlanta-based project consulting firm.

The explosion of lab space is apparent in the Baltimore-Washington area, home to a host of biotechnology companies and universities. Since the collapse of the technology sector in 1999, many biotech and pharmaceutical companies simply moved into space vacated by bankrupt tech firms.

But some organizations found that real estate investors perceived biotechnology firms as a risky investment, because their success often is based on the success of one product.

Most organizations found they had certain requirements — such as higher ceilings and extra space for equipment — that traditional office space couldn’t provide. Many companies have since expanded beyond the original space, and have moved into new headquarters.

Advantis Pharmaceutical held a grand opening of its 62,000-square-foot headquarters in Germantown yesterday, and Human Genome Sciences plans to fully move into a massive new corporate campus in Rockville by 2005.

John Hopkins University has broken ground on a 115,000-square-foot building at its Shady Grove campus to accommodate expanding biotech research.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission estimated last year that the Washington region’s bioscience work force could grow from about 20,000 to more than 100,000 by 2020. Such growth would require nearly 42 million square feet of new space.

In other news

• The Freedom Forum broke ground yesterday on the Newseum complex to be built three blocks west of the U.S. Capitol. The $400 million project is scheduled for completion in 2006 and will feature a large section of the Berlin Wall and a 74-foot-high tablet featuring the First Amendment.

• Boston Properties bought 1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW for $112 million, or about $350 per square foot. The building’s biggest tenant is the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

• Metro awarded Hensel Phelps an $85.2 million contract to design and build two parking garages at the New Carrollton and College Park Metro stations. The Greeley, Colo.-based group also will perform renovations to the stations.

Property Lines runs Fridays. Tim Lemke can be reached at [email protected] or 202/636-4836.

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