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Construction begins at new 197K square-foot life sciences building in Seattle near Space Needle – GeekWire

Rendering of the new life sciences building under construction in Seattle. (CBRE Image)

Ground broke on Wednesday at a new 197,000 square foot life sciences building under construction in Seattle at the foot of the Space Needle.

The building, at the site of a former McDonald’s in the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood, is slated for completion in early 2024. The space will help ease the high demand for lab space in a sector that has boomed over the last few years.

The number of life sciences researchers in the Seattle area grew 24% from 2015 to 2020, and venture capital funding reached all-time highs in 2020 and 2021 in the city and nationally.

Twenty-five life sciences companies in Seattle are looking for a home and lab vacancy rates are at 6.6%, according to real estate firm CBRE. Nationally, lab vacancy rates are at an all-time low.

CBRE is serving as a leasing advisor for the new project, a joint venture between Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation and LPC West, which owns and operates more than 5.5 million square feet of life sciences facilities on the West Coast.

The building is designed for research with dedicated emergency power, side-loaded floors to support heavy equipment, and outside air exchange. The blueprint calls for a 10,000 square-foot outdoor view deck, with a coffee shop and evening bar in the initial plans. CBRE is in discussion with potential tenants, according to a spokesperson.

The building will anchor a mixed-use area on the block expected by 2023 that will include 224 apartments and 50,000 square feet of shopping and commercial space.

Biotech stock values have taken a beating recently, but industry observers say there’s reasons to be optimistic that the life sciences will prosper in the coming years.

Venture capital funding for the life sciences hit record highs in 2021, but the first quarter of 2022 still showed a strong showing at $6.5 billion — the second-highest first quarter total on record, according to a recent report from CBRE.

Life sciences employment also nationally increased 5.4% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same quarter in 2021, with biotech R&D increasing 13.4%.

The new building is located at 222 Fifth Avenue, and is designed by the global architect firm Gensler, which also is designing a life sciences building at 1150 Eastlake.

Existing lab space in the Seattle region totals 9.2 million square feet, with 5.8 million in the city itself.

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