Zoning Changes In Pasadena Set To Boost Life Science Industry

PASADENA, Calif.— In a move to bolster innovation and economic growth, the City of Pasadena unveils strategic zoning changes aimed at expanding and growing the City’s bioscience industry. These changes are poised to take Pasadena to the next level, as a thriving hub for life science research and development.

The revised zoning regulations, unanimously approved by the City Council, encompass adjustments that streamline the process for establishing and expanding life science facilities in the City. With eased restrictions on parking and conditional use permit requirements and greater allowances for building heights and the use of roof space for equipment, these changes aim to facilitate the creation of state-of-the-art research centers, laboratories, and biotech facilities, fostering an environment for scientific breakthroughs and job creation. The changes also simplify the current definition of research and development (R&D) in the City’s zoning code, removing distinctions between office and non-office uses, which will be key to life science companies, whose facilities commonly combine labs, offices, and other research spaces together to fulfill their unique business needs.

These changes come after months of collaboration with local industry leaders like Xencor, Protomer, Huntington Medical Research Institutes and Doheny Eye Institute; nonprofit industry advocates, Biocom California; and architecture and real estate experts, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, JLL and Gensler. These latest approvals continue the City’s momentum in reviewing policies to support industry growth, like the October 2022 revision of the City’s stringent hazardous materials reporting requirements to bring them in line with California state requirements. The revamped regulations prioritize flexibility and efficiency, providing incentives for companies to set up research and development facilities, while ensuring compatibility with the city's urban landscape and community needs.

Economic Development Director, David Klug expressed enthusiasm about the transformative potential of these adjustments, stating, "The adoption of these zoning changes underscores our commitment to fostering innovation and supporting the growth of the life science industry in Pasadena. We aim to attract top-tier talent and innovative companies, positioning Pasadena as a leader in life science in Southern California."

“Xencor recently relocated our laboratories and offices to Pasadena, in part because Pasadena has the necessary resources and capacity to support growing life science companies like us,” said Bassil Dahiyat, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Xencor. “A key ingredient to attracting and retaining companies that create leading technologies is to stay competitive with regard to regulations.”

“This package of land use changes sends a message to the life science industry that Pasadena is a top destination for our companies to locate and grow. Making small changes to how we define research and development as well as rooftop and parking requirements can go a long way for biotech facilities that operate under tight regulatory guidelines,” said Dan Gober, Executive Director of Biocom California’s Los Angeles office. “Biocom California is proud to have worked on this legislation with city staff in Pasadena over the last year, and we appreciate the councilmembers’ affirmation that this will help create additional high paying jobs in Pasadena for people of all backgrounds.”

As Pasadena embraces this pivotal moment, the City anticipates new investments, job opportunities, and groundbreaking discoveries, propelling the life science industry to new heights while cementing Pasadena's status as an innovation-driven city.

If you’re looking to locate your life science business to Pasadena, contact the Economic Development Division at EconomicDevelopment@CityOfPasadena.net or (626) 744-4660.

Visit CityOfPasadena.net for more details on the approved zoning changes.

Visit Bit.ly/PasadenaScienceTech for more information on Pasadena’s science and technology companies.

For more information and to stay connected with the City of Pasadena, please visit our website at CityOfPasadena.net, follow us on Twitter at @PasadenaGov, and find us on Instagram and Facebook at @CityOfPasadena. For inquiries, please contact the City Service Center during business hours at (626) 744-7311.