Seizing on Chicago’s rapidly expanding biotech industry, two prominent construction companies, San Francisco-based GCI General Contractors and Chicago-based BIG Construction, announced the launch of a new joint venture, Helix Construction. The arrival of Helix comes at a prime time as the city and region see a surging demand for lab space and the potential to become a key biotech hub.
“Chicago is experiencing impressive growth in the biotech industry,” says Tony Iannessa, Co-Founder of Helix and CEO of BIG Construction. “As of last year, companies were seeking 658,000 square feet of lab space in the Chicago area, up from 175,000 square feet the previous year, and we expect that growth to continue exponentially. As Helix, we are incredibly excited to meet this growing demand by advancing the availability of new and retrofitted spaces in the Chicago region.”
Recently ranked among the top ten cities for biotech by Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Chicago is emerging as a thriving hub for the life sciences, with the Midwest seeing billions of dollars of investment to accelerate innovation and research. This year alone, the state of Illinois gave more than $15 million to five universities and three ventures to build or renovate lab spaces in the Chicago area. Already a fast-growing sector in recent years, the COVID-19 crisis has only accelerated the need for both funding and available lab facilities, with life sciences companies seeking more than three times more lab space than in previous years.
“We are thrilled to combine our expertise under the Helix umbrella to support this important sector here in Chicago,” says Jon Helman, Co-Founder of Helix and President of GCI General Contractors. “We know that Helix Construction will play a key part in making the Chicago region an important player in the life sciences industry.”
By joining BIG Construction’s local real estate knowledge with GCI’s extensive experience in building cutting-edge lab facilities, the two companies bring a combined 34 years of successful project execution to Helix Construction.