High Real Estate Cost, Competition With Housing Developers is Pushing Growing Science Firms Out of Pasadena

47 companies have left one Pasadena incubator space to expand elsewhere
Published on Nov 17, 2021

Pasadena City Hall courtesy City of Pasadena’s Facebook

City councilmembers were asked recently to consider allowing appropriate commercial space for biotech and life science companies when they consider the proposed specific plans for future developments in Pasadena.

During an Economic Development and Technology Committee meeting, city economic development manager Eric Duyshart highlighted the challenge being faced by science firms, specifically on finding space for future expansion.

He noted that with the cost of the real estate, there is shallow opportunity for laboratory growth in the city.

Duyshart pointed out that while the industry is “slow moving,” it is integral to the city’s economy.

“Even when those groups are successful and want to grow, we’ve been unable to provide the next stage laboratory space that allows them to grow deeper roots.”

“Even though they want to invest in a laboratory, they have a lot of competition between housing developers and other commercial activity so ultimately, we want it reported to you in the context of updating some of these specific plans and the codes that the Planning Department is bringing in in the next few months,” said Duyshart.

During the meeting, Robert Bishop, President of Pasadena Bio Collaborative Incubator, a non-profit organization which provides cost effective incubator facilities with shared equipment and office space for start up science companies highlighted the need for bigger spaces for firms.

“More than half of the 47 companies that have left Pasadena Bio have done so to get bigger,” said Bishop.

Committee chair and councilmember Tyron Hampton commented upon the importance of the discussion considering that the city is now in the process of updating specific plans for future developments.

Just this Monday, the City Council discussed the Lincoln Avenue Plan Specific Update.

“We do have to have a balance of housing and opportunities for jobs and growth in our city,” he said.

“I think having a good and growing research and innovation ecosystem is in the best interest of the city,” Vice Mayor Andy Wilson said. “I’m really excited to have this topic on our agenda.”


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