Boston Properties Inc. has signed a 138,000-square-foot lease with Translate Bio at 200 West St. in Waltham, Mass., an office property the REIT is currently converting to include laboratory space. The therapeutics company’s commitment to the entire lab portion of the building brings the approximately 260,000-square-foot, suburban Boston property‘s lease level up to 100 percent.
Located 13 miles west of Boston, 200 West made its debut in 1999 as one of Boston Properties’ Class A office projects. In September 2019, following a few years of planning, the company commenced the redevelopment of a 126,000-square-foot segment of the four-story structure into lab facilities. It was a prescient decision. “I remember being astounded several years back when I learned of Boston Properties’ plans to convert 200 West Street. It certainly seemed like a major gamble at the time. I mean it wasn’t like this was some tired office complex that was in need of a total makeover; it was a prestigious first-class asset that was thriving,” Dean Blackey, managing director with R.W. Holmes Realty Co. Inc., told Commercial Property Executive. “BP recognized the trend, took a calculated risk and is seeing it through. It clearly looks like a stroke of genius today.”
Translate Bio’s new home at 200 West will encompass cold rooms and pilot labs, chemistry and biology labs, a pH neutralization room and chemical storage. The new tenant will also be able to avail itself of 200 West’s selection of amenities, including a full-service café, a fitness center and conference facilities. Translate Bio will relocate its headquarters to 200 West from its current home base several miles away in Lexington. JLL represented the landlord in the lease transaction.
Waltham may not have the status of a global life sciences mecca like Cambridge, but the city in the Route 128 submarket is certainly moving up on industry players’ radar—and fast. “Waltham continues to develop into a premier life sciences cluster for the Greater Boston suburbs,” Elizabeth Holmes, director of corporate services with R.W. Holmes Realty Co. Inc., told CPE. “While there have been several large, notable life science firms in the area for a long time, we’re now also seeing an increase in demand from early-stage and high-growth firms choosing to establish roots in Waltham.”
The increasing life sciences demand has resulted in a bevy of new ground-up and conversion projects in Waltham, including Lincoln Properties’ 140,000-square-foot speculative office and lab project at 300 Third Ave., which got underway several weeks ago in September, and Hobbs Brook Management’s 500,000-square-foot 225 Wyman St. office and lab project, which topped out in October. Additionally, Boston Properties completed a lab conversion at 195 West St., which shares acreage with 200 West, during the second quarter of 2020. “Waltham was always the next logical step in the industries’ wildfire-like migration along 128,” Blackey added.