top of page

MAI History

MAI Construction was founded in 1973 as MAI Industries Inc., with a focus on the Life Science industry. From the beginning, the company was committed to providing high-quality construction services to its clients. This dedication to excellence quickly earned MAI a reputation as a leader in the field.

In the 1970s, the life science industry was still in its early stages, and much of the construction involved building research and development facilities for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. These facilities were designed to provide specialized laboratory space for developing new drugs and treatments.

One of the key factors that contributed to this growth was the presence of major universities such as Stanford and UC Berkeley, which provided a strong foundation for scientific research and innovation. Additionally, the region's strong economy and proximity to venture capital firms helped to attract entrepreneurs and investors looking to capitalize on new opportunities in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

During this time, a number of influential companies and organizations were founded in the Bay Area, including Genentech, Chiron, Cetus, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. These companies played a key role in advancing the field of biotechnology, developing groundbreaking new therapies and technologies that continue to impact the industry today.

Overall, the 1970s were a period of rapid growth and innovation in the life sciences industry in the Bay Area, setting the stage for continued expansion and development in the decades to come.

MAI_70_0 6MAI_70_0 6_Edited.png

In the 1980s, the life science industry had grown significantly, and construction focused more on manufacturing facilities for producing drugs and medical devices. This involved building larger and more complex facilities, including clean rooms and specialized manufacturing equipment. Additionally, there was a growing focus on environmental controls, as the industry began to recognize the importance of reducing contamination and ensuring product quality.

Another difference between the two decades was the level of government support for the life science industry. In the 1970s, government funding for research and development was relatively limited. However, in the 1980s, there was a significant increase in government funding for the life science industry, which helped to fuel further growth and development in the sector.


Overall, the life science construction industry in the California Bay Area evolved significantly from the 1970s to the 1980s, with a shift towards larger and more complex manufacturing facilities, a greater emphasis on environmental controls, and increased government support for research and development.

In the 1990s, commercial construction in the Bay Area of California was booming, driven by a strong economy and a growing demand for office, retail, and industrial space. This period saw the construction of many new commercial buildings, particularly in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and other areas of high-tech industry.

During this time, there was also a trend towards "green" or environmentally sustainable construction, with the use of energy-efficient building materials and technologies. Additionally, seismic safety became a greater concern after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, leading to stricter building codes and seismic retrofitting of older buildings.

The rapid pace of commercial construction in the Bay Area during the 1990s also led to concerns about overdevelopment and the impact of new construction on the region's infrastructure and environment. These concerns led to increased efforts to balance development with sustainability and preservation of natural resources.

From 2000 to 2010, the Bay Area of California continued to experience growth in both commercial construction and the life science industry.

Commercial construction during this time was driven by the continued growth of the technology sector, particularly in Silicon Valley. Major commercial construction projects during this period included the construction of new office buildings, research and development facilities, and data centers for companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

During the Great Recession (2007-2009), the life science industry in the California Bay Area experienced a decline in funding and investment, which affected its construction activity. Many life science companies struggled to secure funding for their research and development projects, leading to a decrease in demand for lab and office space. As a result, construction activity in the life science sector slowed down significantly during the recession.

However, despite the economic downturn, the life science industry in the California Bay Area remained relatively strong compared to other industries, due to the continued demand for healthcare and medical research. In fact, many life science companies in the region continued to expand and grow, albeit at a slower pace than before the recession. This helped to cushion the impact of the recession on the construction of life science facilities in the area.

In the years following the recession, construction in the life science industry in the California Bay Area experienced a significant resurgence, with an increase in funding and investment leading to a boom in construction activity for new lab and office spaces. This time period saw: 

  1. Innovation Centers: In addition to traditional research and development facilities, there was also a surge in the construction of innovation centers in the Bay Area. These centers provide collaborative spaces for startups, researchers, and established companies to work together on new technologies and therapies. Notable examples include QB3@953, a biotech incubator in San Francisco, and BioLabs, a shared laboratory and office space provider with locations throughout the Bay Area.

  2. Increased Demand: The Bay Area's life science sector experienced increased demand for laboratory and office space during this time period, driven by a combination of factors such as the growth of biotech startups, the expansion of established companies, and the need for research and development of new therapies and technologies. This led to a significant increase in construction activity for new facilities.

  3. Renovations and Expansions: Many established life science companies in the Bay Area also underwent renovations and expansions during this period to accommodate their growing needs. For example, Genentech's headquarters in South San Francisco underwent a major expansion, adding more than 1.6 million square feet of new space for research and development.

  4. Public-Private Partnerships: The Bay Area also saw an increase in public-private partnerships aimed at promoting innovation and research in the life sciences.