CGMP Construction



Demand for CGMP facilities is on the rise as pharmaceutical, medical device, and biomedical manufacturing companies look to gain greater control over their supply chains and keep manufacturing, packaging, and distribution processes close to laboratories and R&D facilities, especially in mature Life Science markets like Boston and San Diego.

Because of the complex needs of CGMP tenants, there are several key design and construction elements that should be addressed in a project’s earliest stages to ensure a successful development.

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There are many structure types that can be utilized when building a CGMP facility. Most commonly, a steel structure is utilized as it offers the ability to easily achieve a high-end appearance that end-users often seek. However, tilt-up concrete is also a viable option. Compared to steel, tilt-up is a much more cost-effective solution. Design elements can be incorporated to elevate its appearance while still maintaining the cost benefits. Both steel and tilt-up can be utilized with various facades such as composite metal panel, insulated metal panel, and curtain walls.

Steel Structure

Tilt-Up Concrete


There are several well-informed structural upgrades that developers can make to a speculative development to make a facility adaptable for CGMP end-users. Increased roof loads, mechanical penthouses, and specific bay spacing can all be incorporated to accommodate the needs of future CGMP tenants. Accommodations for hanging equipment from the building structure should also be considered. While mezzanines don’t necessarily have to be included in the initial speculative build, setting up the structure with increased footing and column sizes to efficiently add them on retrofit is advised.

Watson Marlow


Compared to traditional speculative industrial buildings, CGMP facilities require advanced MEP design to support tenant operations. Greater electrical service is needed to support advanced HVAC systems for temperature and humidity control, as well as tenant manufacturing equipment and processes. Therefore, in a speculative build, the infrastructure should be in place for multiple future electrical services. Additionally, flexibility for increased water, sanitary, and gas services should be incorporated.


Because of the unique needs of each tenant, design flexibility is crucial for speculative CGMP developments. Designs should allow for equipment and manufacturing components, as well as necessary utilities, to be easily implemented and updated without the need to make adjustments to the fixed infrastructure. Strategic design decisions such as leaving out areas of the floor slab for future plumbing and strategically locating knockout panels in exterior walls to accommodate future openings can maximize flexibility and decrease time on retrofit. Future tenant amenities such as lobbies and offices should also be considered in the initial design so that they can be achieved during retrofit.


Lincoln Property Company

120,600 SF Speculative Advanced Industrial Facility

ARCO is currently partnering with Lincoln Property Company to build a 120,600 SF speculative advanced industrial facility in Marlborough, Massachusetts, designed to support the manufacturing needs of potential GMP and R&D tenants. The facility features bay spacing to allow for installation of cleanroom PODs, increased footing sizes for future mezzanine installations, electrical service upgrade accommodations, a roof vapor barrier, and more.

Scannell Properties  |  Watson-Marlow

150,109 SF Manufacturing Facility

In addition to speculative builds, ARCO is working with developers to deliver build-to-suit GMP facilities. ARCO is currently partnering with Scannell Properties on a GMP manufacturing facility for end-user Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group, a manufacturer of peristaltic pumps, tubing, fluid path solutions, and BioPure components. The project is located near Boston’s thriving Life Science hub and features eight ISO14644-1 Class 7 cleanrooms with HEPA filtration, warehouse space with three 2.5 ton capacity cranes, a two-story office, compressed air, nitrogen, and vacuum process piping, and more.

Camber Development

294,000 SF Two Building Speculative CGMP Campus

ARCO is currently partnering with Camber Development to bring two speculative CGMP buildings totaling 294,000 SF to Bedford, Massachusetts. The facility features increased footing sizes for future mezzanine installations, vapor barrier accomodations for future tenant MEP equiptment and dunnage, and outdoor amenity space.


By partnering with the right contractor, developers can offer speculative facilities that CGMP and advanced manufacturing clientele seek without the risk of overspending on design and construction. ARCO’s design-build approach allows developers to make decisions about potential CGMP upgrades in a project’s earliest stages with full knowledge of their impact. Because we work directly with the architect, design can be developed with budget in mind. Throughout the design process, the ARCO team is simultaneously estimating construction costs and can accurately conceptualize the completed project before significant dollars are spent. ARCO’s industry knowledge and expertise result in solutions and alternatives that save valuable development dollars while still making a space suitable for future CGMP tenants.