Thursday, August 12, 2021

Finch Therapeutics Picks up 61,000 Square Feet in Charlestown at $75 per Sq ft.

 By David Gross

Somerville, MA -based Finch Therapeutics, a developer of microbiome therapeutics, is expanding nearby in Charlestown for $75 per square foot with standard 3% annual rent escalators.  The deal also gives Finch a ROFR (right of first refusal) on additional space nearby on Rutherford Drive.

Finch has a $176 million deal with Takeda to develop an orally administered ulcerative colitis therapeutic.  That drug is currently preclinical, but Takeda is going to be taking over the development to accelerate time to and through the clinic.  Finch went public earlier this year, but is down about 1/3rd for its IPO price with a market cap of approximately $650 million.  

Friday, July 30, 2021

bluebird bio Could Sublease to Facebook in Kendall Square

By David Gross

With life sciences companies paying rents anywhere from $10 to $30 per square foot higher than other tenants, many outside the industry are moving out of core clusters in Kendall Square, Torrey Pines, and South SF to let biotechs have the expensive markets to themselves.  CRM software developer Pegasystems, for example, recently announced it would expand outside its long time home of Kendall Square, taking on 130,000 square feet in Waltham. 

Facebook, however, appears to be bucking that trend, and is reportedly in talks to sublease some of the 267,000 square feet bluebird bio agreed to lease at $99.95 per foot two years ago in a separate sublease from Aventis.  The social media company already has 130,000 square feet down the street at 100 Binney Street, and doesn't appear to be phased by Kendall Square rents, which are some of the highest in the country.

Submarkets around downtown Boston, including the Seaport and Kenmore Square, are commanding rents in the 70s, and Alexandria is making a big push near Kenmore Square with its new Fenway development.  While some companies have headed west out of Kendall Square to Watertown or Waltham in search of cheaper space, the Kenmore/Fenway neighborhood offers urban amenities those submarkets can't match and is poised to see rents head towards $100 per sq foot.  Boston is already one of the hottest commercial real estate markets due to the presence of life sciences,  if more companies outside biotech decide to expand in the industry's core Boston submarkets, we could see commercial real estate renting for prices never seen anywhere in this country.

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