Collage depicting 1450 Research Blvd building, an image of the exterior, and the South Duvall logo

1450 Research Boulevard to Bring 45,000 Square Feet of Amenity-Rich Lab Space to Rockville

South Duvall, the Rockville-based life science real estate investor, is set to convert an office building at 1450 Research Boulevard to 45,000 square feet of lab space. The Rockville building, which South Duvall submitted plans for earlier in January, will be flush with amenities and suitable for one or multiple tenants.

Matt Brown, the director of acquisitions at South Duvall, said the company learned a lot from their project at 704 Quince Orchard and is applying those lessons to this new project. 

“We have stepped it up another level in terms of amenities that we’re providing,” Brown explained. “We took a lot of our inspiration on the outdoor amenities from boutique hotels. We created a back patio that’s going to have wrought iron pergolas and fire pits to create this cool communal exterior amenity package that is unique to the area.”

The hotel-like amenities don’t stop outside, either. Inside, South Duvall plans to outfit the bathrooms in state-of-the-art wares, including basin sinks, back-lit mirrors, and tiled walls. And the location of 1450 Research Boulevard itself is an attractive amenity to both employers and employees. It’s located right off I-270 and is within walking distance of retail and restaurants such as Chick-Fil-A, Tasty Nook Cafe, and Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant.

“Creating a space where they can actually step out of the lab and unwind without going home, it’s just very attractive to these types of employees,” Brown said. “And from an employer perspective, these companies want to be in places where they can recruit the best talent.” 

But South Duvall has also left no stone unturned when building out the labs themselves. The labs will share amenities such as an autoclave, glass wash, and ice maker. Having these amenities ready-to-go helps tenants cut down on the high upfront costs of buying new equipment. 

Plus, the interior will feature a nine-foot-tall freight elevator with a 5,000-pound capacity. Its generator will run on natural gas rather than diesel to be more environmentally conscious. 

South Duvall is working with Scheer Partners, a leading commercial real estate firm in the Biohealth Capital Region, to lease out the building. Brown said they are hoping to deliver three move-in-ready spec lab suites ranging in size from 2,800 to 3,700 square feet by 2022’s fourth quarter. The building will also feature two full floors with 15,000 square feet each suitable for tenant fit-out. Brown explained that the two larger floors would most likely be leased by a more established biotech or life science company, while the flexible spec lab suites offer more flexibility for smaller companies.

“As of right now, we have flexibility. We think this would be a great headquarters for a stabilized research company that needs 40-45,000 square feet,” Brown said. “They can take the whole building, get prominent signage and really create this as a home for the next 10 years.” 

But on the other hand, each individual floor could be an excellent home for a Series B research and development company. And the bottom-level spec suites could be suitable for start-up companies that might not even exist yet.

“They might have a piece of technology and they might form their company and start looking for space in September looking to move in immediately,” Brown commented. “So tracking that demand is tricky.” 

However, the overall demand for life science and biotech space on the I-270 corridor is almost always surging these days. Adding more lab space to Rockville will help bring more supply to meet the demand. And if South Duvall hadn’t already proven it with 704 Quince Orchard, this new project at 1450 Research Boulevard shows just how powerful of a role conversions play in the Biohealth Capital Region.