Why biotech is a bright spot on Chicago’s real estate scene now

It’s a pretty bad time to be a landlord in Chicago, but not if you’re hunting for life sciences tenants.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to crush owners of most types of commercial property, four growing biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies have announced deals for new lab spaces in the city over the past six months, belying an otherwise frozen downtown leasing market. The latest one, Chicago-based injectable drugmaker Xeris Pharmaceuticals, is so bullish on the future of the local life sciences scene that it’s relocating its research and development team from San Diego to a Near West Side site wholly unproven for scientists doing lab work.