Demand for life sciences space has jumped in recent years, creating challenges to meet the need, as Lab vacancy in many top markets is less than 4%. According to CBRE research, the Lab and R&D vacancy rate in greater Seattle is just 8.6% compared to office vacancy which stands at 16.6%.
“When vacancy rates of lab space are half that of office, investors start to seriously consider the idea of an office-to-lab conversion, but not every building is a good candidate,” said CBRE’s senior VP and life sciences specialist Marcus Yamamoto. “Life Sciences companies have very specific facility needs that can be expensive to build out.”
Puget Sound owners and developers are working to meet the demand. Greater Seattle has two office-to-lab conversions underway which constitute 405,000 square feet, or 43% of life sciences space under construction. In addition, a pair of new ground-up projects will add 537,000 square feet, plus there is 2.4 million square feet of planned developments in the next two to four years.