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Houston, TX, February 10, 2021 – On the heels of a top 5 ranking on the list of national emerging clusters; multiple planned local and regional developments in the sector; and the area’s largest deal of the year in the product type—which was completed by Houston-founded and -headquartered commercial real estate firm NAI Partners—Houston has affirmed its reputation as among the most appealing destinations in the United States for the Life Sciences product type.

Life Sciences

“According to recent research conducted by the real estate industry, Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego head up a list of the Top 13 Life Sciences Clusters in the U.S.,” said Holden Rushing, a Senior Vice President on NAI Partners Life Sciences & Healthcare Services team, and who is also a member of the MD Anderson Advance Team, an advisory board of young leaders with a passion for promoting awareness of, and raising funding for, MD Anderson Cancer Center’s mission to Make Cancer History.

Added Mr. Rushing, “That same survey ranked a second tier of 10 cities (after the top 13) under the heading ‘emerging,’ and on that list Houston is #2 out of the U.S.’s Top 10 Emerging Clusters for Life Sciences—behind only Pittsburgh—and ahead of #3 Austin and #6 Dallas/Ft. Worth.”

“Every cluster ahead of Houston on these rankings is on a coast, making Houston the essential location for top-tier forward-thinking Life Sciences companies interested in expanding into new geographies,” said Mr. Rushing.

Houston’s growing appeal as a Life Sciences hub is further enhanced by the fact that multiple major Life Sciences and innovation developments are currently in the works throughout Houston, including TMC3, which is owned by the Texas Medical Center; Rice University’s The Ion project; Hines and 2ML Real Estate Interests’ Levit Green; and Medistar Corp.’s Innovation Tower, as well as the forthcoming Texas A&M Innovation Plaza development, which will include medical office and lab space.

NAI Partners, one of the top five largest privately held and independently owned full-service commercial real estate firms in Texas, has been working with Life Sciences companies for years. The company’s Life Sciences & Healthcare Services team has grown substantially as it augments the service delivery it has already been providing to national companies in that sector looking to further expand their footprints to Texas—specifically in the Greater Houston area.

Among recent client success stories is a deal completed by NAI Partners’ Life Sciences & Healthcare Services’ Dan Boyles, a Partner in the firm, and NAI Partners’ Managing Partner Jon Silberman—the sale of the former Lexicon Pharmaceuticals campus, consisting of five buildings totaling 260,950 sq. ft. at 8800 Technology Forest Drive, located in The Woodlands, TX—just north of the city of Houston. The Class A office property features state-of-the-art laboratory space and a one-story flex property with lab and office space, as well as two special use testing facilities.

The sale was the single-largest commercial real estate sales transaction in the Life Sciences sector in the Greater Houston area in 2020.

“We’ve been seeing Life Sciences real estate activity ramping up in and around the Greater Houston area in a big way,” said Mr. Boyles. “When we initially listed the property, we thought it might have more broad appeal as a redevelopment opportunity, but in the end a user purchased the building and will re-use most of the existing infrastructure, further underscoring Houston’s growing appeal as a Life Sciences hub.”

Even amid a pandemic Houston has remained a highly attractive city for relocation, given its affordability, amiable climate, and booming medical center, among other attributes.

“The most diverse city in America is a prime landing spot for Life Sciences companies looking to plant their flag in Texas,” said Travis Rodgers, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of NAI Partners. “Between its highly-educated talent pool, nationally-regarded healthcare industry, and business-friendly environment—including being one of the few states without a personal, state or corporate income tax—Houston’s cost-effective tax structure makes it a choice location for any company looking to establish a presence or expand their current footprint. Plus, the personal tax burden in the Houston area consistently ranks among the lowest in the nation, which makes it an attractive place for people of all backgrounds to live and work.”

While there are opportunities aplenty in the city of Houston proper—notably in Houston’s world-renowned Texas Medical Center—many Life Sciences and healthcare organizations are also discovering the space they require is available at favorable prices in some of Greater Houston’s communities, including The Woodlands, Pearland, Sugar Land, League City, Conroe and Galveston.

“Now that the Highway 288 toll road is completed, it’s very easy to get in and out of the Medical Center into Pearland. And you’re getting the agglomeration effect of the workforce in that geography,” said Zach Leger, Life Sciences Specialist in NAI Partners’ Life Sciences & Healthcare Services “I think Pearland would be No. 1 on a lot of Life Sciences companies’ lists—it’s relatively inexpensive, and close to the Medical Center.”

To that end, earlier in 2020, NAI Partners’ Life Sciences & Healthcare Services’ Joe Bright and NAI Partners’ Partner Griff Bandy represented HCA Houston Healthcare in its 48,000-sq.-ft. lease for the HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement, a new, state-of-the-art training center in Pearland, Texas, housing high-fidelity hospital simulation labs, connected classrooms and de-briefing rooms, where the health system’s nearly 7,000 nurses receive ongoing clinical education and training.

Other recent life science transactions in the Greater Houston area include Mr. Bright and Mr. Bandy representing Castle Bio-Sciences, a developer of diagnostic and prognostic tests for dermatologic cancers, in a 21,760-sq.-ft. lease for medical office space at 505 S Friendswood Dr in Friendswood, Texas.

And VGXI, Inc., a highly regarded contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) supporting the gene therapy and DNA vaccine industries, broke ground this past November in Conroe, Texas—just north of Houston’s city limits—on its new greenfield manufacturing facility, a  project expected to comprise 200,000 sq. ft. of facilities to manufacture compounds for clinical research. The initial phase of the project will quintuple the company’s current production capacity. Located in Deison Technology Park in Conroe, the new headquarters will have two levels providing much needed space for laboratories, purification, filling, packaging, warehousing, and process support. It will also provide measurable office and conference space with associated amenities to accommodate VGXI’s recent and future growth.

Simply put, Houston—home to the headquarters of 23 Fortune 500 companies—has long been a hub for global innovation, and offers leading Life Sciences companies a deep bench of healthcare, digital and corporate talent to drive success, and represents the ideal location for top-tier forward-thinking organizations interested in expanding into new geographies.

For more information about NAI Partners’ Life Sciences & Healthcare Services practice, click here: https://www.naipartners.com/lifesciences/, download the team’s brochure here, or contact Larry Koestler, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications, at 713.629.0500.

About NAI Partners
NAI Partners is one of the top 5 largest privately held and independently owned commercial real estate services firms in the state of Texas. NAI Partners was founded and is headquartered in Houston and has offices in San Antonio and Austin; offers the geographic expertise to complete real estate transactions throughout the state; and can leverage the power of the NAI Global network to arrange deals in any location around the world. NAI Partners employs more than 150 real estate professionals, and arranges more transactions than any of its competitors, completing over 700 commercial lease and sale arrangements every year. NAI Partners is a full-service firm offering client leasing and sales solutions in the areas of Office Tenant Representation, Office Project Leasing, Industrial Tenant Representation, Industrial Project Leasing, Retail Tenant Representation, Retail Project Leasing, Landlord Services, Property Management, Investment Sales, Valuation and Advisory Services, Partners Facilities Services (PFS), and Project Management, among other lines of business. The company also has an investment fund platform called Partners Capital, and a development vehicle called Partners Development, both of which are wholly owned subsidiaries of NAI Partners. NAI Partners is the top Houston-based full-service commercial real estate firm on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America; the 5th-largest Houston-Area Commercial Real Estate Brokerage and #1 Mover of Square Feet among leasing and sales brokerages in Houston per the Houston Business Journal; the only commercial real estate firm on the Houston Business Journal’s Mid-Market 50 list; a top 12 largest San Antonio Commercial Real Estate Brokerage per the San Antonio Business Journal; and a top 20 Property Management Firm by square feet under management in Houston per the Houston Business Journal. NAI Partners has been named a Best Place to Work by the Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal and Austin Business Journal; and is among the University of Houston’s Cougar 100 Fastest-Growing Companies. Visit us on the web at www.naipartners.com.

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