By Mike Ruhl, Vice President, BioMed Realty

Our lexicon has certainly evolved in the last year. The pandemic has greatly impacted everyone in one way or another. As COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out with greater distribution, many of us are now allowing ourselves to think about a safe “return to office” strategy. We are optimistic about how the world will look by the end of 2021, but we are also mindful that we need to be prepared for the possibility of future airborne pandemics. 

Commercial real estate developers were already innovating ways to create “healthy buildings” before most of us had ever heard of COVID-19, but we have a peaked interest in the subject today. BioMed Realty promotes sustainable operations for biopharma tenants focused on innovative research and drug discovery. With a portfolio of 13 million square feet today and another 3 million square feet in development, we are a global leader in developing and maintaining lab and office space for life science, research and development, and technology companies.  As a result, we are always looking for ways to minimize our environmental footprint in every way imaginable from ventilation to lighting to design.

From an engineering standpoint, Dexter Yard has advanced mechanical systems with building controls that can be optimized for a healthy environment driven by an incredibly robust system

BioMed Realty’s Dexter Yard in Seattle’s South Lake Union was strategically designed with building features and infrastructure that will undoubtedly create a healthy and safe work environment. A 500,000-square-foot office building currently under construction and on track to deliver the core and shell in Q4 this year, Dexter Yard is a center of technology and scientific excellence and embodies the next generation of healthy buildings, in 2021 and beyond.  

Given BioMed Realty’s experience with developing award-winning life science buildings that excel at all key industry benchmarks, we already planned to have socially distant spaces within Dexter Yard, including separate restrooms, larger floor plates and larger elevator cabs. But we can now provide tenants with the ability to add specific building systems on a floor-by-floor basis which can neutralize airborne viruses at an increased level. 

Four large outdoor decks were already in the design plans at Dexter Yard as an amenity but they importantly now serve as a natural air option for dining, gatherings and meetings. At street level, we have The Field House, a one-of-a-kind 5,500 square foot multi-use space offering the ability to play, entertain and learn, with garage doors allowing for abundant fresh air. And not surprisingly, the design and square footage per person throughout the building will provide for more open space. 

As an example, we are offering needlepoint bipolar ionization, based on the tenant’s needs. The ions travel through the duct system and eliminate bacteria, mold and viruses in the air and on the surface. 

Also, a unique rooftop space allows room for additional ventilation infrastructure. Dexter Yard can deliver a healthcare-grade filtration system that captures 85 percent of harmful particles such as smoke and exhalation. And the above-grade ventilation exceeds minimum code of outside air of 41 percent versus the LEED-certified standard of 30 percent. 

Driving this level of innovation requires a coordinated and proactive effort with our engineers, designers, and contractors. This would not have been possible without the collaboration with OAC Services, Turner Construction, MacDonald-Miller, Cochran and SkB Architects, and a host of valued service providers and subcontractors on the job. 

The BioMed Realty platform continues to establish and advance important Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives across the business, including meaningful reduction metrics for energy consumption and emissions, as well as social and governance objectives. ESG is gaining a lot of attention of late as it speaks to the long-term wellbeing for tenants and the overall resilience of a property. We will continue to promote sustainable operations for biopharma and technology tenants who are focused on life-changing and innovative research and development, and look forward to supporting Seattle’s thriving innovative community by completing Dexter Yard later this year and showcasing the benefits of a healthy building.

We’d love to show you around the space. Please let us know when you may be able to come and visit us. Please contact Laura Ford at Colliers to arrange a tour.