STAT+: As scientific labs replace offices, pushback is mounting from wary neighbors

The rapid growth of biotech labs in Greater Boston might end up saving the region’s commercial real estate market, if not its entire economy, from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean everyone wants one next door.

A common complaint revolves around the hefty HVAC systems that lab buildings need. They can be noisy and tall, sometimes 30 feet or more on a rooftop, an intrusive change for some neighbors. Some critics say they worry about safety in spaces where potentially hazardous materials are handled. Others dislike the labs’ round-the-clock operations, with foot traffic and lights at all hours.

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