Houston is moving up the life sciences ladder.
In October, commercial real estate services company CBRE ranked Houston second on its list of the top emerging clusters for life sciences in the U.S. Pittsburgh took the No. 1 spot, while Austin sat at No. 3.
Now, commercial real estate services company JLL also is giving Houston's life sciences sector some love. JLL recently issued a report identifying Houston as one of the top emerging markets in the U.S. for life sciences.
Among the markets covered in the JLL report, Houston ranked seventh for the number of STEM degrees among people 25 and older (409,354). The gives Houston an edge in terms of life sciences talent.
JLL puts Houston at No. 8 in another life sciences category: wage positioning. This refers either to wages above the industry average that entice life sciences talent or wages below the industry average that attract cost-conscious employers.
"Traditional top life science markets will likely retain their positions; however, it's encouraging that Houston, home to one of the world's largest medical centers, continues to rise on the list of markets for further advancements in the life sciences sector," JLL says.
According to the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston has more than 1,760 life sciences companies, hospitals, health care facilities, and research institutions with a workforce exceeding 320,000. Houston's major corporate employers in life sciences include Abbott, Bayer, Fisher Scientific, Merck, Mylan, Novartis, and Philips.
Of course, the Texas Medical Center — the world's largest medical complex — plays a critical role in the region's life sciences sector. The medical center's TMC3 life sciences hub, set to open in 2022, promises to lift Houston's life sciences profile even more. The 30-acre, 1.5-million-square-foot TMC3 campus is projected to create 30,000 jobs and generate an economic impact of $5.2 billion.
Houston-based real estate developer Hines also is getting in on the life sciences game. It is leading establishment of a 52-acre life sciences hub, Levit Green, adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.
In February, commercial real estate firm NAI Partners pinpointed these as the Houston area's current and potential hotspots for life sciences:
- 1,345-acre Texas Medical Center complex
- 4,200-acre Generation Park mixed-use development
- League City
- New Caney
- Sugar Land
- The Woodlands
NAI Partners noted that life sciences clusters ranking above Houston in the CBRE report sit on the East Coast or West Coast. That makes Houston "the essential location for top-tier, forward-thinking life sciences companies interested in expanding into new geographies," says Holden Rushing, senior vice president of NAI Partners and a member of its life sciences and health care team.
NAI Partners says Houston has affirmed its reputation as one of the most appealing places in the U.S. for life sciences properties.
"Between its highly educated talent pool, nationally regarded health care industry, and business-friendly environment — including being one of the few states without a personal, state, or corporate income tax — Houston's cost-effective tax structure makes it a choice location for any company looking to establish a presence or expand its current footprint," says Travis Rodgers, chief operating officer and executive vice president of NAI Partners.