Denver, CO

Competition is stiff in metro Denver for laboratory, R&D space

Margaret Jackson

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By Margaret Jackson / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Life sciences is hot in metro Denver, but companies looking for laboratory and research and development space struggle to find it.

Nationally, lab vacancy hit a record low in the first quarter at 5.3%. In metro Denver, vacancy decreased from 4.2% in the fourth quarter to 1.7% in the first quarter.

There are 33 active tenants searching for 1.3 million square feet of lab and research and development space across metro Denver. But at the end of the first quarter, the metro area’s supply stood at 180,319 square feet — not including the CoRE project being developed in Broomfield Lincoln Property Co. and FCP that will add 450,000 square feet.

“Life sciences companies are coming to Denver for many of the same reasons tech came in a strong way — highly educated and skilled employee base, low cost of living, ability to attract and retain talent and ability to scale and grow,” said Erik Abrahamson, first vice president of CBRE.

Life sciences drawing new investors

Abrahamson noted that some investors who haven’t previously worked in life sciences are looking at the sector or considering office-to-lab conversions. But because of the specific buildout requirements, conversions don’t work for every property, he said.

Life sciences companies looking for lab space should find a landlord who understands how to manage and build it out because their requirements vary greatly from traditional office users, said David Saad, executive vice president with CBRE.

Saad also noted that life sciences companies benefit by being surrounded by their peers.

“Multitenant buildings and campuses that cater to life sciences are a breeding ground for innovation and knowledge sharing,” he said.

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I'm a Denver-based business writer with expertise in commercial and residential real estate as well as general business news.

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