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Developers Aim To Bring Booming Life Science Market To Downtown Bethesda With New Lab Building

A rendering of the Bethesda lab building StonebridgeCarras and The Donohoe Cos. are planning at 8280 Wisconsin Ave.

Montgomery County's life science market has been red-hot along the Interstate 270 corridor, but some developers see Bethesda as an untapped market. 

StonebridgeCarras and The Donohoe Cos. plan to tap into it with a $100M lab building at 8280 Wisconsin Ave., the companies announced Tuesday. 

The developers filed an application last month for the project, a 14-story, 175K SF commercial building on the 0.44-acre site of a Sunoco gas station at Wisconsin Avenue and Battery Lane. The team hopes to break ground in Q3 2019 and deliver the building in 2021. 

“It represents one of the most attractive, untapped markets to locate life sciences near two world-class institutions at the northern edge of the Bethesda CBD — the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Medical Center," StonebridgeCarras principal Doug Firstenberg said in a release. 

The developers have retained Ewing Cole as the architect and engineer for the project and Scheer Partners to lease the building. Scheer's latest market report shows that the I-270 corridor contains 75% of the Washington region's 10.7M SF life science market, and it currently has a 2.8% vacancy rate. 

With such low availability, the county's lab market has a shortage of space and needs new construction to continue to grow, Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. CEO David Petr said. 

"The development of Bethesda Bio by StonebridgeCarras and Donohoe not only addresses this critical shortage, but it allows Montgomery County to compete with other urban markets such as Cambridge in Boston and East Bay in San Francisco," Petr said.