San Diego-based BioMed Realty held its grand opening on Tuesday for its newly renovated laboratory space, located at Seattle’s downtown waterfront on the second floor of the Omeros Building. The Labs @ Elliott is a state-of-the-art facility with five new spaces of various sizes, ranging from 3,818 to 13,288 square feet, which offer the flexibility for growth that is appealing to a smaller-sized or start-up life science company.
Even though the building’s tenants are small companies, according to Mike Ruhl, the vice president and Seattle market lead for BioMed Realty, their research it still as critically importantly as large companies in 100,000-square-foot laboratories. “The part of the life science market that is not being met involves the small tenants, those who find funding for a new certified science that has recently become authenticated and is ready to either go to market or explore it. That is why these spaces have to remain fairly generic and fairly flexible, because these tenants are going to be moving in and out. We understand that.”
The part of the life science market that is not being met involves the small tenants, those who find funding for a new certified science that has recently become authenticated and is ready to either go to market or explore it
Located at 201 Elliott Avenue West and originally built in the early 1900s, the building provides a total of 151,000 square feet that was initially renovated in 2008, bringing it from a Class A life science office space to today’s research and development laboratories.
The recent updates to the general building, along with the five new laboratory and office spaces, include a two-story lobby, landscaped courtyard, fitness center, cafe, four conference rooms and a shared glass wash and autoclave. “Our idea was that we had 40,000 square feet of vacant space that we wanted to turn into rentable space,” said Ruhl. “A lot of thought was put into this. We wanted to be as efficient as possible in each one of the suites, so they are strictly lab and office spaces.”
The renovation project began last November, when Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins + Will began designing the space. GLY Construction, out of Bellevue, began construction on the infrastructure in January and was finished within a four month period.
“This works really well for start-ups that are either spin-offs from UW (University of Washington) or Fred Hutchinson (Cancer Research Center) that are two to three people,” said Kay Kornovich, a principal and managing director for Perkins + Will in Seattle. “They have their science developed, but they need a place to start to work. By not having to build all of the expensive infrastructure and what we call lab support, such as the glass wash, it is really a big benefit to them. So getting these move-in ready was important to us.”
Each individual module available for lease has its own lab and office space, as well as access to building common areas, where tenants in the building can gather in order to promote creativity and collaboration. “It was all about trying to find the sweet spot for all that we were trying to do,” added Bryce Taylor, a project executive from GLY. “There was a lot of investigation back and forth determining room sizes, as well as HVAC and gas connections, in order to figure out what would be required.”
Ruhl says the Omeros building is 65 percent leased. A letter of intent has been signed to lease 25 percent of the second floor.
According to Kidder Mathews’ most recent Seattle Life Science report from the third quarter of 2015, there will be a shortage of office lab space for the next several years because pre-occupied space is not available and there is a limited amount of unencumbered new space coming to the market in 2016. Tenants requiring space in 2016 and 2017 will have to plan well ahead to lease unencumbered shell space currently under construction or backfill previously occupied space vacated by expanding companies or firms moving out of the area, says the report.
“Most everything that has recently come online has been absorbed,” said Ruhl. “Not a lot of larger tenants are moving out and leaving big vacant spaces, so it’s hard to find any space in the market. I think the big piece here is that developers don’t build space speculatively, like with commercial office buildings. The market moves much slower than that.”