Greater Boston’s life science market has been thriving and will continue to. Growth has occurred all over the region, creating opportunities throughout the market. Demand for space is coming from large and small tenants alike, from build-to-suits to incubators. We recently talked with COO Gary Kaufman at ABI-LAB about his insights on the life science incubator market.
Gary, can you give us a bit of background on yourself and your business?
I serve as Chief Operating Officer at ABI-LAB. We are a bio-incubator located in Natick, MA, where we like to say, “You can move in today and start your science tomorrow.” Along with my partners, we are not just building operators but are also angel investors in biotech ventures. We take a very long-term approach to investing and truly care about the success of our residents. Regarding my own background, I have been an entrepreneur for over 30 years, with expertise in consumer-related businesses ranging from residential and commercial real estate to automotive and consumer vending. In addition, I co-founded and serve as vice chairman of the Metrowest Life Sciences Network, an organization whose mission is to foster awareness of and promote professional networking opportunities among the region’s scientific and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Metrowest region. I have a BS in Management Science from Bridgewater State College, with advanced studies at Tel Aviv University and Harvard University.
What are you hearing from clients today?
Our residents want to get back to operations full–time. During the crisis we never closed, but many companies went to 50% staffing, which delayed many of their research results. We have had a few folks sign leases recently, leaving Cambridge not just to save on rent but to allow their team to spread out and do their research.
How is ABI-LAB set up to adapt to a post–COVID-19 working environment?
We have been ahead by two weeks of most of the new operating procedures being implemented by many companies now. We have had zero positive cases due to our aggressive cleaning and sanitizing of our buildings, as well as our visitor and delivery policies, which were implemented in early March. Of course, when all of your residents are highly trained scientists, you get up to speed very quickly on the virus and how to stop it.
What options are available to tenants today and in the future?
Our ecosystem starts at eight-foot bench rentals and allows residents to move to small dedicated spaces, or larger dedicated spaces all the way up to 15,000 SF customized buildouts. We help customers grow and be successful. Here are a couple of short videos you may enjoy watching:
Do you expect there to be a fundamental shift in demand going forward?
Yes, we expect the crowds in Cambridge and the Seaport to gravitate to the suburbs quickly as their leases run out, or maybe when the buildings can’t open fully due to new rules, they may break their leases and look elsewhere to lease space so that their employees can distance while doing their experiments. Lab work can’t be done at home on the laptop in your basement.
How can people get in touch with you?
My email is: Gary@abi-lab.com