Opinion: BIO Convention an opportunity for the life sciences sector in the city center to shine

RaDD building
A rendering of a building designed in the downtown R&D district. Courtesy IQHQ

The best biotech companies, investors and industry talent from around the world will take to the San Diego waterfront for the first time in five years when the BIO International Convention returns live and in person this week.

In addition to serving as a sign that we are returning to normal, the BIO conference demonstrates the positive impact of the burgeoning biotech sector on the San Diego economy, as well as a transformative life sciences district taking shape down the road, one development that is poised to make San Diego the next iconic life science market in the United States.

According to Biocom California’s Economic Impact Report 2021, the San Diego life sciences industry is part of a growing industry that is having a “profound impact” on our economy, employing 72,000 people and generating 27.7 billion. dollars in gross regional product and $ 47.8 billion in total sales. in 2020 alone. In addition, the report found that life sciences were responsible for nearly 178,000 jobs with total earnings of $ 16 billion in San Diego County alone.

With an 82% increase in life sciences employees over the past decade, San Diego is already the third largest life sciences market in the United States and increasingly competitive with the likes of Boston and San Francisco. Given rapid growth, San Diego is experiencing a dramatic increase in demand for new Class A offices, lab space and scalable campus sites that can accommodate cutting-edge and growing businesses in a way that has never been offered before. .

To meet this growing demand, the $ 1.6 billion San Diego Research and Development District, RaDD for short, on the city’s waterfront will further power the region’s economy and accommodate continued industry growth. of life sciences. In addition to 1.7 million square feet of life science offices, labs and retail space, the development will feature 1.5 acres of open green space that will be accessible to the public.

RaDD will also create tens of thousands of jobs. Indeed, the project is already creating union construction jobs right now that are stimulating the local economy and helping to drive recovery from the pandemic. This first phase of RaDD, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, is expected to host at least 4,000 employees.

In addition to attracting new life science companies to the San Diego market that will employ local and diverse talent, the site’s retail and other services will provide additional employment opportunities. Additionally, the city’s leading research institutes and leading colleges and universities mean new employers will have access to a vast pipeline of diverse talent and resources.

We believe biotech, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies will continue to invest in the downtown area to access expanding clusters of diverse young talent. There are over one million millennials in San Diego, which boasts the fifth highest concentration of millennials in the nation. A recent demographic study by the Downtown San Diego Partnership found that the number of downtown residents working in the life sciences sector has more than tripled in the past two decades.

To support this dynamic and growing concentration of young workers, it is essential to develop work environments that meet the changing needs and expectations of the job. This was reinforced by the changes we saw during the pandemic, which made it clear that both tenants and talent want dynamic districts and workplaces as companies return to work in person.

As noted in the Downtown Partnership study, young professionals living downtown with high-paying jobs appreciate the walkability and access to lifestyle services. The ability to build more complete communities depends on our ability to attract people to both live and work in the market. Therefore, the development of premier districts such as RaDD will stimulate and drive sustained growth in downtown San Diego, attracting the best employers and employees to scalable campuses that offer easy access to premium transportation, accommodations, restaurants and services. .

As 11,000 attendees from over 3,000 businesses around the world visit and walk the streets of San Diego this week, they will see firsthand what we all know: San Diego is the premier market to live, work and play in. it also has access to world-class talent, state-of-the-art services and offers a high quality of life.

In addition to embracing the many benefits that live and in-person events have to offer, BIO attendees will enjoy sharing our waterfront transformation – a transformation that will propel the vital life sciences industry, spur further development and fuel change. and positive growth in downtown San Diego.

Tracy Murphy is the president and co-founder of IQHQ. Joseph Panetta is the president and CEO of Biocom California.

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