Co-Working Goes Viral in SoCal

BioLabs San Diego is expected to become a premier co-working space for life science startups in California.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

BioLabs San Diego
BioLabs San Diego

San Diego—A new co-working space is making its debut in the San Diego market—the San Diego life sciences market, that is. BioLabs, a membership-based network of shared lab facilities, and life sciences industry trade association Biocom recently introduced BioLabs San Diego, a co-working laboratory and office destination for startups in a city that holds the distinction of being one of the country’s leading life sciences hubs.

“It’s very clear that there’s a real need for this kind of premium facility designed specifically to serve the needs of life science entrepreneurs in the Southern California market,” Johannes Fruehauf, founder of BioLabs, told Commercial Property Executive.

The proof of demand is in the numbers. According to a Cushman & Wakefield report, in San Diego the life sciences sector accounts for a whopping 22 percent of office tenant demand, the largest percentage of all the industries tracked in the report.

“San Diego is home to a growing life science entrepreneurial community, and we continue to need real estate to accommodate that growth,” Joe Panetta, CEO of Biocom, told CPE. Biocom is acting as founding partner of the San Diego BioLabs site.

“The city is well-known as an engine of early-stage company formation,” he continued. “The more we invest in the infrastructure that gives the industry the specialized space it needs, the more it can grow, strengthening San Diego’s position as one of the top life science clusters in the country.”

Not only is the latest BioLabs location in the right city, it’s in the right spot. BioLabs San Diego is located within Phase 3 Real Estate Partners’ 300,000-square-foot GENESIS at Campus Point complex in the prominent University Towne Center submarket. BioLabs San Diego has set up shop in the 65,000-square-foot building at 10210 Campus Point Dr., offering an initial 16,000 square feet of co-working space for as many as 15 tenants, with the option of expanding to more than 30,000 square feet.

“Biolabs San Diego will help entrepreneurs in the process of getting started by removing key obstacles that companies face at their inception. Primarily, we remove the need for huge capital expenses while the science is still unproven,” Fruehauf said. “Our labs are fully equipped and fully permitted, and scientists can get to work right away. Often times they will run their first experiments on the day after they move into our labs!”

Honing in on the distinctive needs of life sciences startups, BioLabs facilities are amped-up, specialized versions of the traditional co-working destination. After all, it’s not every office user that requires microscopes, centrifuges, tissue culture rooms and the like.

In addition to premier office space, state-of-the-art lab accommodations and the typical amenities that come with co-working locations—concierge service, technical and administrative support, collaboration zones, private telephone areas, etc.—BioLabs facilities provide support in the form of industry-specific programming, as well as networking and social events. BioLabs San Diego is open to locally or internationally based companies, but not just any startup will find a home here. Admission to the facility is merit-based and applicants are judged on such criteria as teams, business plan and funding situation. Options for space are flexible, starting with something as simple as a single lab bench to private office and lab suites. However, all occupants will have access to the property’s wide array of amenities, including a café area, lap swimming pool and a restaurant.

Cushman & Wakefield is marketing the space at BioLabs San Diego, which will welcome its first tenants in fall 2016. The facility’s impact is likely to extend beyond the hungry new companies that will make the facility their first home base. “We believe that BioLabs San Diego will play a key role in further developing the local entrepreneurial eco-system. San Diego is a very productive environment already and one of the hot-spots for developing academic science into viable businesses,” Fruehauf noted.

BioLabs also has locations in the life sciences hubs of Cambridge, Mass., New York City and Durham, N.C.  Details on a number of projects presently in the works are not yet being disclosed, but what isn’t being kept under wraps is the 2017 opening of BioLabs North Carolina’s larger interim facility. And there will be more to come. Fruehauf added, “We hope to be making additional announcements by the end of the year.”