Our roundup of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Life science lab space proposed
The boom in converting office space into lab space has been expanding outward from Boston and Cambridge into the suburbs, now including Wellesley.
The Wellesley Planning Department in January received an application for a project of significant impact at 93 Worcester St. (Rte. 9) to convert part of an office building into biotech lab space. The Boston Business Journal reported this week that real estate firm Beacon Capital Partners seeks to use 40,000 of the building’s 273,000 sq. ft., for life sciences operations.
The Wellesley Gateway complex, once known as the Harvard Pilgrim complex, currently houses insurance, finance, and other businesses.
In order to support lab space, the property owner would need to invest in HVAC and other infrastructure upgrades, including work on the roof that would be noticeable to the public.
While the building is nestled between Rte. 9 and Rte. 95, it’s also adjacent to a Wellesley neighborhood including Duxbury Road, Maple Road, and Lantern Lane.
The building proposal is only now coming to the attention to the broader community, and more awareness will come once it comes before the Planning Board sometime soon. Neighbors have been aware of it for a least a couple of months and are looking into what its potential impact could be for them.
There could be safety concerns depending on what sorts of work is conducted at the site. “These labs always sound good… as long as they’re not in your backyard,” one neighbor told us.
Greg Reibman, president of the Charles River Regional Chamber, wrote this week in the Chamber newsletter that 93 Worcester St. may not have the only life sciences lab action here: “But, wait, there’s more: A second Wellesley lab facility could land just next door at 96 Worcester Street, site of the recently downsized Sun Life, with Nordblom the likely developer there.”