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Report: Amid COVID, demand for lab space surges, leading to higher rents

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Report: Amid COVID, demand for lab space surges, leading to higher rents

Demand for Boston-area lab space is surging, but the supply is scant, leading to soaring rents, according to a new report.

Demand is far outpacing available space in the Boston area, with a record number of large biotech and drug companies seeking 100,000 square feet amid a global race for new drug development, according to the report from CBRE, a Dallas-based commercial real estate services and investment firm.

“The Boston lab market is expanding at an unprecedented pace,” said Jonathan Varholak, the firm’s vice chairman. “With over $9.3 billion of venture capital funding having flowed into Boston area life science firms in the first three quarters of this year, demand from startups is at an all-time high. We’re seeing record-setting rents and historically low vacancies as a result.”

The vacancy rate for existing lab and research and development space is just 1.1% in the Boston-Cambridge market, as average asking rents soar, jumping 7.5% to $94.62 per square foot in September compared to March 2021.

In Boston and Cambridge, where vacancy is 0.1% and 0.3% respectively, the average asking rents are now $100.00 per square foot in Boston and $112.79 in Cambridge, according to CBRE. The leasing of lab space has been pushed into the suburbs, including Watertown and Route 128 West.

“As we see in housing, space is scarce,” said Joe Boncore, CEO of the industry group MassBio. “But as we add more space to the economy, we expect the price of lab space to level off.”

Ten million square feet of lab space is under construction in the Boston area, which includes 9.3 million square feet of “spec” construction, where developers broke ground with no tenants signed at the time, the report said. Six million square feet is expected to deliver by the end of next year, and 3.2 million square feet is being converted from other uses such as office or warehouse space.

In Boston, life sciences employment has grown faster than the U.S average over the past 15 years, although Boston has only about a sixth of the life sciences employment as Middlesex County, including Cambridge, Waltham, Lexington, among others. Yet Boston has grown more rapidly over the past year: 7.5% vs. 5.2%, according to CBRE.

“Life sciences labs quickly have become a highly sought-after property type for both tenants and investors,” said Ian Anderson, CBRE’s Americas Head of Office Research. “This intense demand for lab space is the natural result of a global push for new medicines begetting strong funding and hiring in the life sciences sector.”

Global demand for vaccines for COVID-19 and viruses like it has led to initial public offerings for life sciences companies in the on pace for a record year, raising roughly $13 billion, according to CBRE.

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Opinion: Colorado must address workforce age discrimination

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Opinion: Colorado must address workforce age discrimination

We have a paradox going on in Colorado: employers are desperately looking for talent, and older adults are desperately looking for work. But workforce age discrimination makes it difficult for older Coloradans to fully contribute to the labor market.

For years, older workers from every corner of the state have told me their frustrating and often heartbreaking stories of age discrimination that prevented them from landing needed jobs, that they faced once in the workplace, and that they felt as they were forced out.

Stories like these: a man who was a colleague of mine, a fundraising pro with decades of success who couldn’t get callbacks for development jobs; a former corporate marketing VP who was told that she lost out to a younger applicant because the hiring manager assumed she would not be social media savvy; a group of women in their 60s forced to live on small social security checks — this despite help-wanted signs in almost every store window in their Western Slope town.

Such age discrimination is common: studies from AARP and others show that 78% of workers over 45 have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace and over one-half of long-time, employees age 50 and over are forced to leave positions before they would voluntarily choose to do so. Once this happens, only 10% of them ever regain their previous economic status.

Nationwide, the country lost $850 billion in GDP due to age discrimination and that could grow to $3.9 trillion by 2050, reports the AARP.

Discrimination based upon age has especially harmful consequences for already economically vulnerable groups like women, people of color, and those with low incomes.

There are many reasons to work toward ending workforce age discrimination. There are ways to do it, and there’s no time to waste.

First off, ending age discrimination is good for business. Older adults provide numerous benefits in the workplace. Intergenerational teams create mentoring opportunities, improve team problem-solving, and increase creativity born from combining different perspectives and histories.

Keeping older workers on the job strengthens economies from Main Street to Wall Street. Ongoing paychecks mean more disposable income spent and more taxes paid, while tax-supported benefits can be delayed.

Older adults also need to continue working: the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 48% of households headed by a person aged 55 or older lack retirement savings. The median 401(k) balance for those between 55 and 64 is less than $15,000. For older adults who lack adequate savings, continuing to work past the traditional retirement age is an economic necessity.

Last, but not least, older adults want to continue working, and continued workforce participation may be connected to better physical and mental health for older adults.

When the legislature reconvenes in January, we can change our workforce discrimination laws so that our economy benefits from the experience and wisdom of older workers.

We must end requirements that job applicants write their high school graduation dates or other age-identifiers on application forms. Right now, it is illegal to ask someone their age, but not their high school graduation date.

And also, ensure that the penalties for age discrimination are commensurate with those for other forms of discrimination. Currently in Colorado, compensatory and punitive damages are allowed in race and gender discrimination cases, but not for age.

Make clear that Colorado’s age discrimination laws apply to hiring, and that the burden of providing age discrimination is not higher than for other forms of discrimination.

Some problems seem overwhelming and too big to solve, but this is one we can address. Certainly, we can’t legislate away ageism, but we can give older workers the same protections afforded to other groups — and we can help businesses get and keep the workers they need.

Janine Vanderburg directs Changing the Narrative, a Colorado-based campaign to change the way people think, talk and act about aging and ageism. The end game? To end ageism. You can read more about what they are doing to reduce workplace ageism.

To send a letter to the editor about this article, submit online or check out our guidelines for how to submit by email or mail.

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Dolphins Q&A: An early look at possible selections with late first-round draft pick

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Dolphins Q&A: An early look at possible selections with late first-round draft pick

Here’s the latest installment of our Miami Dolphins Q&A, where South Florida Sun Sentinel writers David Furones and Omar Kelly answer questions from readers.

Q: With the 25th pick of Round 1 … u select whom…? — Bob Witmer on Twitter

A: First, let’s clarify that the Dolphins’ place in the first round isn’t set in stone yet. With the Dolphins owning the San Francisco 49ers’ selection, Miami will select, at best, No. 25, but it could more likely be 26th or fall even further back.

If you go chalk in the divisional round, with the 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals losing at the respective top-seeded Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, it’s 26. If San Francisco loses and Cincinnati wins, it’s 25. If the 49ers advance to the NFC Championship Game, it will be drop into the final four selections of the opening round.

Essentially, we’re looking at what the Dolphins’ top possibilities will be late in the first round. Miami also now seems more likely to keep this pick with the team essentially ruling out a move for another starting quarterback this offseason and sticking with Tua Tagovailoa heading into his third NFL season.

Picking late in the first round, there are a few offensive tackles that are getting projected to go in that range. I would like to see the Dolphins add at least two offensive linemen this offseason that could serve as an immediate upgrade over what they currently have starting and at least one a veteran free agent. To throw out a couple of names, New Orleans Saints left tackle Terron Armstead or New England Patriots right tackle Trent Brown.

If Miami wants to go the route of getting another lineman with the late-first-round choice, general manager Chris Grier may be leaning on the next head coach’s expertise after the combination of he and ex-coach Brian Flores expended a first (Austin Jackson), two seconds (Liam Eichenberg, Robert Hunt), a third (Michael Deiter), a fourth (Solomon Kindley, a sixth (Isaiah Prince) and a seventh (Larnel Coleman) on linemen over the past three drafts with only one sure-fire NFL-caliber starter to show for it in Hunt at right guard.

A few names to look out for where the Dolphins will be selecting are Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere, Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann and Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning.

Petit-Frere (6 feet 5, 315 pounds) stood out at left tackle for the Buckeyes and opted out of playing in the Rose Bowl with his draft status already secured. He has experience at right tackle, as well, starting there in 2020, and could slide over if needed to protect the left-handed Tagovailoa’s blind side.

Raimann (6-7, 305) is considered a fast riser by Pro Football Focus for his overall blocking grades in 2021, making a significant leap from the previous year. The Austrian foreign exchange student in high school started his college career as a project tight end before growing into a left tackle, where he started playing in 2020.

Penning (6-7, 322) has experience at both tackle spots and guard while possessing the prototypical height, weight and length and being light on his feet at that size. Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard and UCLA’s Sean Rhyan are also some that could be considered.

You also want to see the Dolphins add a starting running back and a receiving weapon in the offseason. Unless a running back emerges between the Senior Bowl and scouting combine, none appear to be going in the first round. Maybe Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker remains available when Miami’s middle-of-the-second pick comes around. He possesses an exceptional ability to break tackles, as seen when he played at Hard Rock Stadium against the Hurricanes last September.

The Dolphins can also do their homework on several receivers, eyeing which one drops that they like between USC’s Drake London, Ohio State’s Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson, Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks or Penn State’s Jahan Dotson.

The free agent moves made in March will bring greater clarity on needs remaining going into the draft from April 28 to April 30, but it’s unlikely the offensive line is entirely fixed on free agency alone. So, it’s a good bet, especially given how many viable prospects are expected to go in this area of the draft, that the Dolphins go with a lineman there.

Have a question?

Email David Furones, or tag @OmarKelly or @DavidFurones_ on Twitter.

Previously answered:

Can Dolphins hire offensive coach, keep defensive assistants?

Does Zach Thomas get into Hall of Fame this year?

Why not throw downfield to Waddle more?

What do Dolphins think of practice squad rookie RB Gerrid Doaks?

What free agent receiver could Dolphins pair with Waddle?

What is with Jason Sanders’ misses?

What changes could come to receiving corps in offseason?

What offensive linemen should Dolphins target in free agency?

Can Tua still be a top-10 quarterback?

Does Austin Jackson’s move to left guard bring hope?

Did franchise botch Fitzpatrick, Tunsil, Tannehill trades?

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Nuggets’ Bol Bol undergoing right foot surgery following voided trade, source says

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Nuggets’ Bol Bol trade with Detroit is off due to physical, source says

Nuggets forward Bol Bol is undergoing right foot surgery following his voided trade to Detroit last week, a league source told The Denver Post.

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