Photo of City Garage in Baltimore

South Duvall and Sagamore Ventures Team Up to Bring High-End Lab Space to Baltimore’s Port Covington

It’s no secret that Baltimore is home to world-class research institutions and some of the smartest minds in the world, with many biotech companies spinning out as a result. However, Baltimore hasn’t seen nearly as much life science growth compared to other national hubs, largely due to one major problem – lack of laboratory space.

While many companies begin in Baltimore, they quickly outgrow their current lab spaces and find they have no place to go to scale. Competition for existing wet lab space is fierce, with any vacancies quickly filling. As a result, these growing companies must move elsewhere to grow, typically either out-of-state to San Francisco or Boston or to the nearby Montgomery County/I-270 corridor. Local real estate companies are working hard to find solutions to address this high demand, with the hopes of keeping more top talent in Baltimore.

Last week South Duvall and Sagamore Ventures announced that together they were answering this call, forming a partnership to bring more than 100,000 square feet of high-end laboratory space to City Garage in Baltimore’s Port Covington over the next ten years. Approximately 75,000 square feet of space is set to be delivered in the next year alone.

City Garage started with humble beginnings, originally built as a city bus repair depot in 1965. The Sagamore Ventures team purchased the building in 2015 and, with that, gave the building a major glow-up. Currently the building is home to six tenants, including co-working space Betamore and medical device accelerator the LaunchPort.

BioBuzz chatted with Matthew Brown, Director of Acquisitions at South Duvall, to learn more about the plans for this City Garage expansion and what this partnership means for Baltimore life sciences.

“I like to think that City Garage has three lives – the first life was the bus depot, the second is the current space after the exciting renovation performed by Sagamore in 2015, and now we’re entering into this exciting third life where we’re able to really blow out its life science capabilities,” said Brown.

Right now South Duvall and Sagamore are making sure that the building has the right utilities in place to support the incredibly high demands of research labs. From there, they are planning to build out other attractive amenities such as a gym, lab support rooms, and conference rooms.

So why should up-and-coming biotechs be keeping an eye on City Garage?

“There will be clear benefits to building your business in City Garage, including 20 ft high ceilings that can easily house manufacturing equipment, abundant utilities, plenty of parking, and great shipping/loading capabilities. City Garage is also immediately off I-95, making it extremely accessible no matter if you’re coming up from Silver Spring or if you’re coming south from Pennsylvania. You don’t see that with other lab spaces,” said Brown.

“Beyond that, I think it’s also pretty rare to have laboratory space with a top-notch waterfront view, beach volleyball courts, and a great running trail all in close proximity. The Port Covington area is also very family friendly, with plenty of activities that people of all ages can enjoy,” said Brown.

“Fulton Bank sees the South Duvall acquisition as good for Baltimore and Maryland. Every day we are talking to companies across the State, and quality wet lab space is a constant in those discussions,” said Bret Schreiber, Vice President of Life Sciences and Technology at Fulton Bank in a statement. “The ability to build out this type of space, especially space that is equidistant between the UMB BioPark and the Johns Hopkins Life Sciences and Technology Park, and just down the street from the new development from Port Covington, will be a major catalyst for the industry and Baltimore City.  We are very excited about what’s next for this site.”

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Sarah Ellinwood

Managing Editor at BioBuzz | Workforce Genetics
Sarah Ellinwood is BioBuzz's Managing Editor. A scientist by training and a science communicator at heart, Sarah specializes in making complex concepts understandable, engaging, and exciting. She received her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology with a focus in infectious disease immunology from the University of Maryland and is passionate about all things related to scicomm, peer mentorship, and women in STEM.