By contrast, the largest Massachusetts project under construction is the $900 million pair of 18-story buildings being built for Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Vertex will rent about 1.1 million square feet under a 15-year lease to start when the space is completed, expected to occur in late 2013, at a cost of $72.5 million. Vertex can renew its lease for 10 additional years. The company is temporarily leasing 56,000 square feet near one of the two new locations for accounting support and information systems functions.
Biogen Idec is also developing new headquarters. It will sublease the headquarters it opened in the Boston suburb of Weston, MA, just two years ago and move its HQ to two Cambridge office buildings totaling nearly 500,000 square feet. Both broke ground in October.
The relocations of Biogen Idec and Vertex could, but may not, benefit smaller companies long hard-pressed by the region’s dearth of available space. “Up until a few months ago, 2014 was viewed as a little bit of a relief valve year,” Brendan Carroll, svp of research for Boston commercial real estate firm Richard Barry Joyce & Partners, told GEN. “It’s still two years away, and there’s a lot of organic growth that’s likely to occur between now and the time that those sites will actually become available. It does seem like good new product to be able to have online, but at the same time it’s difficult to see that as a benefit to tenants that are space-constrained today.”
Another Cambridge project has Novartis developing a $600 million, 550,000 square foot addition to its Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research. The project consists of two lab-office buildings above a common underground foundation with a 400–450 space parking garage and other facilities. Site excavation and removal of existing building foundations began last week. Novartis’ construction manager, Skanska USA, is also self-financing a nearby $70 million 120,000 square foot lab-office building, which broke ground in September.
Also in Cambridge, Broad Institute will nearly double its lab and office space when it completes construction in 2014. The new roughly 250,000 square foot building will consist of 12 floors, six of which will connect to floors in Broad’s existing building. Broad funded the construction through $353.4 million in bonds issued by MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency.
Another project breaking ground last year was the 240,000 square foot building where Pfizer plans to lease 180,000 square feet over 10 years for its cardiovascular, metabolic, endocrine diseases, and neuroscience research units. The cardiovascular and neuroscience units will move there this year from Groton, CT, from where the other units moved last year. Pfizer is also testing the real estate market in Massachusetts as a potential seller. The company recently placed for sale one of three buildings it inherited after acquiring Wyeth for $68 billion in 2009.
Beyond Cambridge and Boston, Shire is increasing its production capacity for Vpriv eight-fold, following approval from EMA to produce the drug for type 1 Gaucher disease at its new manufacturing plant in Lexington, MA. The $200 million, 200,000 square foot plant boosts capacity from the 1,000 L capacity of its other facility in Cambridge to 8,000 L. However, Shire has yet to win FDA approval to produce the drug for U.S. patients.
The plant is one of five buildings Shire occupies at a 96-acre Lexington campus it purchased for $165 million in 2010. The campus consists of the plant, three buildings built before Shire’s arrival, and a 170,000 square foot fourth building completed last year. The manufacturing facility will also handle purification of Replagal, the only human-cell-line-derived form of enzyme replacement therapy for long-term treatment of Fabry disease, and production of all pipeline products, Shire spokeswoman Jessica Cotrone told GEN.
Additionaly, Shire along with Abbott and Bristol-Myers Squibb assisted Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in facility planning and curriculum design for its $32 million Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center (BETC), a 10,000 square foot commercial-scale pilot plant now under construction at Worcester’s Gateway Park. All three BETC partner companies have manufacturing operations: Abbott’s Bioresearch Center is in Worcester, while BMS completed a $750 million bulk biologics manufacturing site in 2009.