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Biotech Firm Inks Lease In Baltimore's City Garage

City Garage in south Baltimore is a former makers' hub turned life sciences laboratory space.

Biotechnology firm Haystack Oncology Inc. has signed a lease in the City Garage Science & Technology Center at the recently rebranded Baltimore Peninsula mixed-use development.

Haystack, which describes itself as developing personalized cancer diagnostics with the potential of leading to proactive clinical interventions, said it's moving into a 20K SF lab space in City Garage at 101 West Dickman St. by this coming summer. 

The company is moving from Baltimore's Remington neighborhood, where its workspaces are above Seawall Development's popular R. House food hall. 

“We’re looking forward to building out a state-of-the-art clinical laboratory at City Garage to support the innovations in precision medicine that Haystack Oncology is delivering to the clinic,” Haystack Oncology CEO and President Dan Edelstein said in a statement.

Mark Deering, a partner at MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services partner, represented Haystack. Nate Crowe of Scheer Partners represented the landlord. 

City Garage — a former city bus depot — was transformed into a manufacturing hub in 2015. Its overhaul was among the first projects completed as part of the redevelopment of what was then called Port Covington. 

Late last year, City Garage's owner, Sagamore Ventures, said it was partnering with developer South Duvall to reposition the building and replace the makers' hub with 100K SF of lab space.

Repurposing City Garage moved the building to the front of the line to provide much-needed lab space in Baltimore.

Creating a thriving life sciences industry in Baltimore has been a significant focus for city economic development officials for years.

Those endeavors have started to show results. A growing number of local life sciences companies began in Baltimore as startups decided to remain as they grew and matured. 

Yet Baltimore's life sciences industry still faces significant challenges in meeting the demand for lab space in Baltimore.   

While still not on the same level as Boston or San Francisco, a JLL report released this fall found the combined Baltimore and D.C. region ranked as the No. 4 life sciences market in the country.  

Baltimore provided about 28% of the life sciences space in that combined region, according to the report. 

“One of the reasons companies leave Baltimore is the inventory for their space needs hasn’t existed in the past,” JLL Executive Managing Director Pete Briskman, co-head of the firm's Mid-Atlantic life sciences practice, told Bisnow last month. 

City Garage's lab space is delivering at an opportune time, as demand is expected to outpace supply for the foreseeable future. But some projects, like the $320M 4MLK project in West Baltimore, are expected to add significant lab inventory soon.  

The addition of Haystack also shows growing momentum for leasing on the Port Covington peninsula.

The development team behind Baltimore Peninsula announced the project’s first office tenants in September. Earlier this week, MAG Partners CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin said they're close to landing two more significant leases for 2455 House St. that would make its 212K SF of office space fully occupied.