GRAIL to Open $100M Lab in Research Triangle Park

With the help of Newmark Knight Frank, the cancer biotech firm selected Durham, N.C., for its new research facility, which will also feature office and warehouse space.
Image courtesy of Discover Durham

GRAIL Inc. has decided to establish its first production facility outside the Golden State in Durham, N.C. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based health-care company, which is pioneering a test that will detect more than 50 cancers in a single blood draw, will open the approximately $100 million laboratory facility in Research Triangle Park.


READ ALSO: Coronavirus Underscores Demand for Life Sciences Space


GRAIL relied on Newmark Knight Frank’s Global Strategy team in its nationwide quest for the most suitable city and site to accommodate its scalable commercial laboratory. “This location in North Carolina was selected for its large pool of skilled and passionate science and engineering talent, logistical efficiencies for shipping samples and materials and great commercial property options,” Robert Hess, vice chairman with Newmark Knight Frank, told Commercial Property Executive. Hess and Global Strategy colleagues Alan Reeves, Joe Gioino and Ramya Sannananjegowda advised GRAIL on the site selection.

In addition to a commercial laboratory focused on sample processing, GRAIL’s state-of-the-art facility will feature office and warehouse space. Neither GRAIL nor NKF has divulged additional details about the project, but according to a WRAL TechWire article, the building will encompass 200,000 square feet. NKF’s brokerage team of Jay Phillips, Wayne Kumagai, Ben Stern and Doug Brock spearheaded the real estate transaction on GRAIL’s behalf.

Life sciences in RTP

The life sciences market is booming and GRAIL’s site choice will put the company in the middle of it all, as RTP is the largest research park in North America, boasting 10 million square feet of life sciences inventory at the beginning of 2020, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield. RTP started off the year with a vacancy rate of 10.7 percent, leaving large users with little opportunity to land cutting-edge space. “The supply of new lab space has been stagnant over the last 10 years, but the outlook remains positive due to rapidly increasing demand and market conditions tightening,” according to the Cushman & Wakefield report.

Notable RTP leases over the last 12 months include LabCorp’s lease of 111,000 square feet at Parmer Innovation Centers’ Parmer RTP campus. However, some tenants with major needs are building their own space. Earlier this quarter, Eli Lilly announced it had selected RTP over sites in Indiana and Pennsylvania for its $474 million integrated life science manufacturing facility. GRAIL plans to take occupancy of its new facility in the first quarter of 2021.