“The life science industry in the North Bay is gaining momentum fast. As the technology and entertainment industry continues its growth in Menlo Park and Mountain View, many early stage life science companies are getting squeezed out by rapidly increasing rents,” says Haden Ongaro, SVP and Managing Director of Newmark Cornish & Carey, noting that San Francisco Metro commercial rents are up to 38% higher than in the North Bay and are steadily increasing.
“The good news is companies are relocating to the North Bay not just to to save money, but to offer their existing employees and potential new hires an improved quality of life - the opportunity to send their kids to great schools, purchase larger homes, enjoy open space, and have proximity to beaches and wine country.”
As a result, the pre-existing North Bay biotech cluster has grown significantly in the last 18 months. The presence of well established companies like BioMarin encourages the creation of smaller spin-offs and the area is beginning to see the emergence of new start-ups. Haden and other North Bay Life Science Alliance officials are taking this opportunity to establish a biotech incubator in Marin, to further attract start-up businesses that are looking for a more affordable home.
Haden is not alone in his thinking: Cassidy Turley’s 2015 Bay Area Commercial Real Estate report confirms that the North Bay is becoming increasingly more attractive to life science companies, describing the region as “a biotech hot spot”. The report predicts a continued sharp increase in life science tenants through 2015, concluding that “... the trend will continue and will help to drive local growth (in the North Bay)”.