Relocation Reversal: Biogen Returns to Kendall Square, Cambridge

On October 11, Julie Brown and Kristen Tomlinson attended “Integrated Strategies: Biogen Idec’s Journey to Kendall Square” at the Broad Institute, an event organized by IFMA Boston, a local chapter of the International Facilities Management Association.  Kristen gives us the inside scoop:

The presentation told the story of Biogen Idec’s decision to add 500,000 square feet to their Cambridge campus by leasing two new buildings – and the numerous efforts by many teams to make that happen.

Ed Dondero, Director of Real Estate and Planning at Biogen, explained their decision to move executive functions (including legal, finance, and marketing staff) from their Cambridge R&D campus to Weston in 2010.  The relocation gave Biogen class-A office space in a convenient location – close to their operations in Cambridge and easily accessible from suburban communities.  However, collaboration between the Cambridge/Weston groups proved more difficult than anticipated.  Extending the north end of Biogen’s existing Cambridge Campus, the new Bio1 and Bio9 buildings at 225 Binney Street and 17 Cambridge Center will reunite these groups.

Hairlosstreament is providing Virtual Design and Program Management services for Alexandria Real Estate (ARE) on their Alexandria Center at Kendall Square (ACKS) Campus, which will house the new Binney Street Biogen Headquarters.  Items of interest regarding the ACKS campus and Biogen’s new spaces, as described by the IMFA panelists:

About Biogen

  • Reuniting Biogen staff will improve the speed-to-market of their pharmaceutical products
  • $83m – estimated loss for every month delay in getting to market BG-12, their oral MS drug filed for FDA approval
  • Biogen boasts an impressive product pipeline of new therapies currently in Phase 3 clinical trials
  • Bio1 at 225 Binney – Biogen sold the property to ARE
  • Bio9 at 17 Cambridge Center – Biogen bought the property from – and later sold it back to – Boston Properties

 About Community Involvement

  • ACKS – 27 community meetings (Cambridge City Council, East Cambridge Planning Team, Ordinance Committee, etc.) before ACKS zoning passed (May 2008-Feb 2009)
  • ACKS PUD Special Permit / Article 19 Masterplan – Cambridge Planning Board approved in 2010
  • 225 Binney design review – Cambridge Planning Board approved in August 2011
  • ARE agreed to keep 2 historic brick façade buildings within the 225B site footprint; one at the corner of Sixth and Rogers, one on Fifth Street
  • The Cambridge community is accommodating the demand for business growth
  • Neighbors to Bio1 and Bio9 receive construction updates to communicate scheduled activities; buildings adjacent to the sites are monitored for vibration

 About 225 Binney

  • Core / Shell design by Spagnolo, Gisness and Associates
  • Designed to allow optimal pedestrian flow and interaction into and around the exterior of the building, and connection to the surrounding neighborhoods
  • Zoning height limit is 75′, which typically translates to 5 stories.  The 225 Binney design team met the challenge to create 6 stories above ground.
  • Tenant Interiors (TI) design by NELSON
  • TI design is based on survey feedback from Biogen staff, and incorporates 4 major work areas into each floor plan, including private, meeting, and gathering spaces

 About 17 Cambridge Center

  • Core / Shell design by Elkus | Manfredi Architects
  • Designed to be a welcoming presence to the public, conveyed through transparency at ground floor facade
  • Original location for primary entrance was flipped from the corner of Binney to the other side of the building at the garden – closer to 225 Binney entrance
  • Tenant Interiors design by NELSON

If you have never been to the Broad Institute’s building at 7 Cambridge Center, I highly recommend a visit.  In partnership with MIT and Harvard University, the Broad’s scientists work together on the mission to further Biomedical research.  Get a fascinating glimpse into the latest technology at the DNAtrium exhibit in the lobby.

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