Dallas County is joining North Texas’ biotech boom with a 1.6-acre purchase on the north end of the Southwestern Medical District, where the county will develop a $52 million, 75,000 square-foot bio lab and life science building. It will be the new location of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Public Health Laboratory (PHL), which will be used to study infectious agents.
According to a Dallas County Commissioners Court Order, the land transaction between the county and TXRE Properties closed earlier this month. It will be located in the 1400 block of W. Mockingbird Lane next to a Dallas County-owned building in the 1300 block of West Mockingbird. The county is utilizing funding from the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLRFR) program to develop the land. SLFRF funding is meant to help local governments respond to and recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency. According to the County Commissioners court order, the land purchase and development cost is $52 million.
The PHL will be a part of the healthcare real estate development growth in that area of Dallas. It will be just up I-35 from Pegasus Park and BioLabs, which is way ahead of schedule for filling lab space, and will be around the corner from the $2.5 billion new pediatric campus launched by the joint venture between UT Southwestern and Children’s Health. In addition, a Dallas ISD biomedical science school launched in partnership with UTSW and the north campus of UTSW are also in the area.
A new CBRE report names Dallas-Fort Worth along with Atlanta and Nashville as three of the top emerging life sciences markets in the country. The life sciences labor pool has grown 17 percent since 2019 to more than 26,000 workers, which is higher than the national average of 13.7 percent. In research and development, DFW grew 44.5 percent since 2019, the third fastest in the nation. UTSW and University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth have received $406 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and moved DFW into the top 10 regions in the country in terms of biological and biomedical science graduates in 2022. In terms of investing, CBRE’s research found that the region brought in $1.6 billion in life science venture capital funding between 2018 and 2022, ranking eighth in the country.
The facility will seek to be a Bio-Safety Level 3 laboratory certified to study potentially lethal infectious agents or toxins transmitted through the air. ” The core diagnostic functions are, along with safety, related to identification, containment, security, and incident response to emerging and high consequence diseases,” the court order reads.
The purchase will centralize Dallas County’s testing, lab, and other Health and Human Services initiatives in a state-of-the-art facility leading the county’s emergency diagnostics and public health investigations. The space will be built from the ground up and be customized to the county’s specifications and requirements.
“The large-scale response required for COVID-19 demonstrated the need for the acquisition that will permit the continued support of the HHS efforts in response to the ongoing safety, containment, incident response to emerging and high consequence diseases that could operate at the peak of a crisis without hindering or being hindered by other County operations,” the order reads.
Page Southerland Page will design the building, and Beck Construction will be the contractor. Amber Infrastructure Group will oversee the new building with Integrated Project Solutions out of DeSoto.
The project is set to be complete in the 4th Quarter of 2025, with occupancy as early as January 2026.