DivcoWest: We would like to propose a building in Northpoint.
City of Cambridge: Great, is it a boxy, sort of glassy, sort or pre-cast 10 story thing that looks like everything else in Kendall Square?
DivcoWest: Errm, no. It is a 40-story, Herzog & de Meuron tower. We think it will be a great addition to Cambridge, an iconic structure.
City of Cambridge: Let me repeat myself. Is it a boxy, sort of glassy, sort or pre-cast 10 story thing that looks like everything else in Kendall Square?
DivcoWest (head hanging low): Yeah...here is our alternate plan... 10 stories, boxy, you got it.
City of Cambridge: Perfect!!
It gets very expensive, very quickly to do a tall lab building. Believe me, I am generally a height fan (and would love to see Cambridge make max. use of the precious few parcels around Kendall and in East Cambridge).The Center for Life Sciences (3 Blackfan Circle) at 18 storeys and just about 300 feet, has been there for almost 10 years at this point. At some point we need to get past this, labs only go 10 storeys or less thought process. It's said on here so many times, that it would seem most take it as gospel.
There is no reason labs can't got tall. The Vertex buildings are both 18 storeys including penthouses, but are a bit shorter at about 250 feet. We recently completed Alexion's HQ in New Haven, at 14 storeys (and awarded LEED Platinum recently.)
There are added costs for things, especially if doing heavy chemistry like at Vertex. But, not impossible.
As I've mentioned before. Put the labs on top, so you don't need all that HVAC shaft space on office floors, and go even taller. Get creative, don't just spout the same old, labs don't go tall mantra. If we keep building short boxy labs only, I'll have to turn into Odorono Cambridge style, and say we're running out of space.
Thank you for the chuckle. But from the looks of the renders, this is clearly a biotech building w/ associated mechanicals and chemical vent stacks. You don't generally do biotech structures at > 10 stories. I think, in part, we just have to accept that this is the primary greater-Kendall office market right now.
Something similar (to your waiting suggestion) is happening. By building the area immediately surrounding Northpoint Common, they are delaying action on the surrounding plots (which represent a band nearer to Charlestown) while they evaluate the health of speculative building projects planned for the next 5-7 years....
when what they should be doing–is leaving 3 or 4 lots open until the very end. ....and go very tall on each of them!