Recently, Mike Weber spoke with Catherine Carlock of the Boston Business Journal regarding the rise in Office-To-Lab Conversions within the Boston/Cambridge Construction Market. This cover story also featured Steve Lynch of King Street Properties and Bob Coughlin of JLL Boston.
Due to increased life science tenant demand, many building owners are making the jump to lab space in submarkets that were not historically known as lab hotspots – including Kenmore Square, Fort Point, Allston, and Watertown.
Additionally, an office-to-lab conversion requires significant planning, budget considerations, and a review of building infrastructures to be sure that a conversation is feasible.
From the article:
“Labs require redundant power sources, sophisticated HVAC and mechanical systems and higher floor-to-floor ceiling heights than a standard offices, which can make it difficult to convert an older building,” said Mike Weber, a principal at Gaston Electrical in Norwood. It’s also common for biotech tenants to rapidly grow in their physical space needs once they have a commercial product, or receive FDA approval for their work.
“We’ve done a job for a customer in a 10,000-square-foot lab area, and two years later, we’re doing 200,000 square feet,” Weber said.
Boston Business Journal / October 1, 2021
To read the entire article. please click here. And to learn more about our recent Life Sciences Projects, visit our portfolio page here.
In his new role, Scott will develop and lead growth strategies for the Low Voltage Division – fostering new industry relationships and partnerships, while ensuring the success of existing accounts and clients. His addition to the team represents the ongoing growth and depth within Gaston’s Senior Leadership Team, and goal to become the preferred electrical and low voltage service provider in the region.
“Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in today’s built environment. From tenant connectivity requirements to building security, and the internet of things – buildings are smarter than ever before,” commented Mike Weber. “As we expand and strengthen our services, we’re assembling the most-talented professionals in the market who operate at the leading-edge of their respective disciplines. Scott has just the right mix of industry and product knowledge, management background, and proven sales success to deliver tailored solutions for our clients and end-users.”
Hall brings over 15 years of professional experience to his role, having worked for top telecommunication and distribution companies during his career. Most recently, he led a regional sales team, where he developed Master Sales Agreements with large end-user clients in the healthcare, broadcasting, and high-tech sectors.
“Having come from the distribution side of the telecommunication business, I’m excited to bring my industry knowledge and relationship network to complement and grow Gaston’s busy Low Voltage Division,” said Hall. “I look forward to working with my talented Team members as we expand Gaston’s footprint in the Greater Boston market.”
Recently, Gaston Principal Bill Weber joined NECA “Innovation Overload” Podcast hosts Amanda Harbison and Tauhira Ali for a discussion coving topics such as construction innovation, best practices for coordination, the importance of peer groups, and building company culture within the Electrical Industry.
Recently, Gaston Principal Mike Weber sat down with Joe Kelly of the Mass Construction Show Podcast to talk about Construction Marketing, Prefabrication, Efficiency, and Continuous Improvement (among other topics). In this return visit, Mike and Joe take a deep dive into construction trends, leading/emerging technologies, LEAN construction, and the importance of relationship-building in the construction industry.
Recently, Bill Weber, Jr. joined Lonnie Cumpton of NECA National and Tauhira Ali of Milwaukee Tool to discuss offsite prefabrication, pre-planning, and the push for greater efficiency in construction during the “Innovation Studio” podcast.
During the discussion, Bill talked about the history of prefabrication at Gaston Electrical, the hard work to build the division, and the benefits seen on the jobsite today. He also offered advice and best practices for other electrical contractors who may be in the process of establishing their own prefabrication division.
To learn more about Gaston’s Prefabrication Division, you can visit our website by clicking here.
Recently, John “Buck” Buckley , Gaston Service Division Manager, spoke with Boston Business Journal Real Estate Editor Catherine Carlock about the steps that building owners and managers are taking to make facilities safer, more attractive to tenants, and ready for increased energy requirements. Topics included the importance of ample lab space in the Boston and Cambridge markets as well as the financial hurdles involved with office to lab conversions.
Some hospitals and health-care facilities are already planning to improve their facilities systems in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, said John Buckley, service division manager with Norwood-based electrical contractor Gaston Electrical Co. Inc. Whether that extends to the commercial office side remains to be seen.
Converting an office building into something that can handle life-science type systems is neither easy nor cheap, Buckley said. The facilities would go from basic infrastructure — cooling, heating, hot water, and data for computers — to running continual power, installing emergency generators so the power never goes out, and upgrading ventilation and exhaust systems.
“It’s mammoth, on the mechanical side, when you got to a life-science type operation as opposed to an office building,” Buckley said. “It’s a lot of design, and it’s expensive.”
Some area landlords have converted a floor or two to life-science standards, versus an entire building, which Buckley said there could be more of in the future.
In the wake of Covid-19 contractors, are faced with new challenges regarding workplace productivity, scheduling, and worker safety. With a lot of communication and planning – leading construction firms have been able to adapt to new guidelines, and develop new protocols for a safe return to work.
Recently, Mike Weber and Greg Skalaski, Executive Vice President for Shawmut Design and Construction’s western division spoke with Kim Slowey at ConstructionDive.com – sharing industry insight and best practices.
On June 10th, The Boston Preservation Alliance announced the winning projects for their 2020 Achievement Awards. This list of winners includes some amazing renovation/rehabilitation projects including The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Graves Lighthouse, The Revolution Hotel, and our project with Shawmut Construction – Boston University Myles Standish Hall.
The Myles Standish Hall Project was a 14-month renovation/rehabilitation of the well-known Kenmore Square landmark building. The Gaston Team provided full electrical services upgrades for the building systems, common areas, and student units as well as a new electrical service, all new lighting, fire alarm and power throughout.
Below is the project and award description from The Boston Preservatiuon Alliance website. Click here to visit the site directly.
Myles Standish Hall, formerly the Myles Standish Hotel, stands on the corner of Beacon Street and Baystate Road in the Kenmore neighborhood. Designed by Arthur Bowditch, the architect behind Paramount Theater (2010 Alliance Preservation Achievement Award winner) and constructed in 1925, it housed VIPs such as Babe Ruth and the Yankees. It hosted everything from grand social events like society weddings and balls to two basement level speakeasies during Prohibition. To house an influx of soldiers entering college under the G.I. Bill after WWII, Boston University purchased and transformed the hotel into the Myles Standish Hall dormitory, where a wide variety of notables graced its halls from Howard Stern to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over time the exterior of the building began to deteriorate due to the dampness of the alcoves of the E-shaped floor plan. Significant water infiltration led the University to undertake a major renovation of the 90-year-old building. As much as 65% of the exterior masonry required careful replacement with matching materials and an entire exterior wall required re-building; repointing and cleaning the masonry not replaced was required as well. Extensive granite repair, cast stone replacement, and rebuilding of the facades at the first and second-floor walls were required to restore the storefronts which had been removed in 1949. Most of these materials were re-used in the construction process, and the entire building was made more energy efficient. The main entrance on Beacon Street and secondary entrance on Bay State Road were re-constructed to reflect the original entrance design, complete with a canopy. The interior of the building was also updated to create a contemporary and accessible space for students. The surrounding intersection and sidewalks were upgraded to create a safer area for pedestrians. Bike paths and a park plaza were added to create outdoor space for residents and neighbors to enjoy the historic surroundings.
“The fact that Boston University took on this restoration project rather than argue for replacement, particularly within a neighborhood undergoing dramatic change and loss of historic fabric, makes an important statement about the importance of preservation and about sustainability,” says Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “Older buildings such as Myles Standish Hall are ripe for transformation, retaining the history that happened within their walls and holding firm to the historic context of the surrounding neighborhood while meeting the university’s needs.”
With construction beginning a slow restart in the Boston market, industry leaders are focused on a safe return to work for their employee teams and project partners. Recently, Gaston Principal Mike Weber chatted with Catherine Carlock of the Boston Business Journal about enhanced safety measures and the importance of communication in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Below is a screenshot of the article and you can read the full article by clicking here (with BBJ subscription).
About Gaston Electrical
For over 80 years, Gaston Electrical has provided expert electrical contracting services to the commercial, institutional, life-sciences, hospitality, and retail markets in New England.