Adaptive Reuse: Carving a Warehouse Into a Leased Lab Facility

Ron Edwards, Affiliated Engineers
Diego Rozo, Perkins&Will

Trinity Capitol, the developer, subdivided an existing 500,000 SF building into four buildings. The developer's intent was to re-purpose the warehouse areas as leased labs. As time is money, the base building work required the existing buildings be split up and renovated simultaneously with the tenant fit-ups. The first tenant was GRAIL, Inc., a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early.

GRAIL utilizes 170,000 SF of lab, office and warehouse area for their operations. With the start of an empty warehouse in March 2020, the teamwork by the owner, designers, developer, and contractors allowed the completion of the project in 13 months.

The owner had clear objectives: Get the project open and provide future space and capacity for an unknown amount of product. This not different than many projects, however the project schedule elevated every decision and question to the critical path.

The identification of these critical path items became important as the team realized that resolution at a later date meant missing the deadline. The early critical path items included: site infrastructure; building envelope requirements; preferred mechanical and electrical systems based on costs, redundancy, and speed of construction; integration of landlord and tenant infrastructure; client's needs within existing building footprint; lab humidification; structural limitations; utility service coordination; and space planning/flexible design.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about integration of the owner's design criteria, construction costs, and project scheduling;
  • Learn about coordination among design team, owner, and contractors;
  • Learn about identification and coordination of the tenant and the developer requirements simultaneously; and
  • Understand the constrains and opportunities of an existing building when converting to a lab facility.


Ron has served as Project Manager/Lead Mechanical Engineer on a variety of state-of-the-art science facilities including facilities with programs for Chemistry, Biology, Math and Physics, Marine Biology, Chemical, and Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing.

Diego is an Architect with over 20 years of experience in Science & Technology projects. His experience includes laboratory planning, Design and Construction of large facilities for institutions, and universities throughout the U.S.


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