Montgomery County’s I-270 life sciences corridor is running out of room

First, the good news: Montgomery County’s life sciences industry is expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future, says a new survey from Rockville-based commercial real estate group Scheer Partners.
The bad news? The renowned I-270 corridor is running out of room for those life sciences companies to grow into, said Matt Brady, a vice president who specializes in office, research and development, and industrial leasing for Scheer.
Novavax opened a new 54,000-square-foot research and development facility in Gaithersburg this summer. Scheer Partners warns growth among life science companies could be stymied in the I-270 corridor due to low amounts of available lab space for these companies.
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Novavax opened a new 54,000-square-foot research and development facility in Gaithersburg… more

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In the recent survey of more than 100 biotech and life sciences companies in Greater Washington — the majority from Montgomery County — 87 percent indicated plans to hire in the next 12 to 24 months. Six in 10 said they planned to expand their lab space by 5,000 square feet in the next 12 to 24 months.
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“Incubators are starting to say, ‘It’s time to get out on your own,'” Brady said about life sciences companies on the smaller end of the spectrum. At the same time, mid-size companies are starting to ramp up growth and larger companies such as Novavax Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline have been taking larger pieces of real estate.
Nearly half of those surveyed by Scheer indicated they believe there will be a shortage of wet labs — laboratories for handling chemicals and other materials that require direct ventilation and specialized piped utilities — in the region.

The vacancy rate for lab space in the I-270 corridor is 7.8 percent, which represents approximately 605,000 square feet of available lab space in a 7.6 million-square-foot-market. This is down sharply from January, when the vacancy rate was more than 12 percent with 970,000 square feet available.
“We need more landlords with access to capital to build these spaces who also have a risk threshold that will accommodate a biotech,” Brady said, referring to the deficits life sciences companies often run in their growth stages.
The major life sciences real estate transactions in the third quarter included MacroGenics Inc.’s expansion into125,000 square feet at the J. Craig Venter Institute, and Novavax leasing 50,000 additional square feet. Scheer Partners anticipates an additional 50,000 square foot space will come on the market in late 2016, but declined to specify the space.
Tina Reed covers health carefor the Washington Business Journal.

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http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/2015/10/montgomery-county-s-i-270-life-sciences-corridor.html