Rendering of the planned 935 Prose Street building (Photo Credit: Gensler)
Federal Realty Plans to Offer Employers Amenity-rich Space at 935 Prose
Sponsored by DPR Construction
Pike & Rose, the 24-acre retail and residential multi-use development that has transformed North Bethesda, is set to welcome 260,000 square feet of lab and manufacturing space next year.
Federal Realty, the developers of Pike & Rose, recently announced the development of 935 Prose Street, a 10-story building right near the intersection of Montrose Parkway and Rockville Pike. The building adds to the company’s recent foray into the biotech space, with another project at Assembly Row in Somerville, Massachussetts. Ignoring the market demand for real estate in this sector the last few years was near impossible, said Federal Realty’s VP of Development, Jay Brinson.
Much of the demand in the I-270 life sciences corridor has been filled by flex spaces or conversion buildings rather than new constructions, Brinson said. Federal believes they can stand out from the crowd by offering purpose-built space at Pike & Rose. Considering the Biohealth Capital Region’s fourth-place standing in bioclusters nationwide, the demand is clearly growing.
“But the building supply is not reflective of that level of maturity in the marketplace,” Brinson said in an interview with BioBuzz. “And I think we’re now just starting to see that catch up with more and more new buildings being proposed.”
Federal has teamed up with leading real estate firm Scheer Partners to lease out 935 Prose. Currently, they are searching for a lead tenant who would use most of the building’s space. Brinson explained that they are not yet willing to go speculative on all of the space, but would be open to providing smaller spec labs in addition to the lead tenant’s offices.
Bringing employers competitive amenities
All of Federal’s neighborhoods, which include Assembly Row in Massachusetts and Santana Row in San Jose, are transit-oriented. Not only are they located for prime access to public transportation, but they also make parking easy, biking safe, and walking a no-brainer.
Having offices that are accessible via public transit and located in neighborhoods that include robust and desirable retail and restaurant options is a competitive amenity for employers to offer their employees, Brinson said. With so many companies hiring at intense volumes, it’s vital to get a competitive edge.
“We know that in the traditional office market there’s been broad acceptance of the type of amenities — metro accessibility and quality of building — that we deliver,” Brinson commented. “And we just don’t think it’s that big of a leap to offer that same thing to lab space.”
The building at 935 Prose Street is set to deliver several great amenities in and of itself, not just in the rest of the Pike & Rose area. Its website details plans for a rooftop terrace, cafeteria, and ground-floor retail.
Other lab spaces in the area are often tucked away in business parks or less developed areas, where there’s more space to build — but understandably less amenities.
“From that perspective, there’s nothing that has what we’re able to deliver at Pike & Rose,” Brinson explained.
The growing Montgomery County sub-market
When looking at the existing biotech and life sciences lab spaces in Montgomery County, Federal saw a leaning toward the northern end of the county, more in areas like Gaithersburg and Rockville proper. Pike & Rose is located further south in North Bethesda and is easily accessible via the newly renamed North Bethesda (formerly White Flint) metro stop on the Red Line. Brinson believes building lab space at Pike & Rose could help build the demand further south in Montgomery County.
“That whole area is primed to accept growth in office space and I think there are going to be a lot of other opportunities for lab development,” Brinson said. “I know there are other folks in the marketplace out there looking at that right now.”
The North Bethesda metro stop is only two stops away from Bethesda and the NIH, which is a huge draw for biotech companies. Easy access in and out of D.C. is also appealing for both employers and employees, whether they’re commuting from the city or needing to visit government agencies for meetings.
While Pike & Rose has been around since the early 2010s, Brinson said it has probably another 10 or 12 years to be completed, with over a million square feet of space to be delivered. While building space for biohealth companies was never part of the plan, Brinson said Pike & Rose’s flexible nature lends itself well to meeting new demands as they arise.
”Montgomery County’s been great to work with, with regard to being able to pivot to shifting market needs,” Brinson said.
Federal and Scheer Partners hope to find their lead tenant in the next few months.
“We are looking for the right type of tenant with the right type of vision who understands the value that is created in a hyper-competitive environment,” Brinson said. “You want to provide your employees the absolute best, and 935 Prose at Pike & Rose can do that.”
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