Helping companies get to market quickly is a top priority for Progress Labs, which covers 2,000,000 sq. Ft. Of new specifications for biotech manufacturing.
Matan’s companies have chosen the right time to enter the life sciences real estate sector. The Frederick-based developer is on track to deliver on its promised 2 million square feet of production space. Progress Labs, a project exclusively dedicated to property specifications for life sciences industries along corridor I-270 from Frederick to Montgomery County.
Mark Matan, Director and Managing Partner, said the company is already well known for its warehouses as well as its laboratory facilities. But Progress Labs was specially born from the need for additional production space in the biotechnology and biotechnology sector in the metropolitan area… So, in essence, Matan combined two things that they were already experts at to target a niche market.
“The overall theme of this project is that there are many people who need it, not many of these buildings,” Matan said. “Another thing you have to remember about these buildings is that we take up more space, so as you get closer to the city, it’s harder to find green spaces for that.”
The company has provided 500,000 square feet of space to Progress Labs, with another 500,000 under construction. Matan said the company plans to start building the last million square feet of space within the next six months.
2 million square feet of floor space would equate to roughly 10,000 jobs on the I-270 technology corridor. And there is a demand for jobs; four of the 10 companies in Warp Speed’s operationthat helped develop COVID-19 vaccines were located on I-270.
Matan developed Progress Labs to help several different types of clients, including contract manufacturers, companies involved in FDA research, and companies affiliated with government.
“Because of their location, they are used either directly with the government or through their contractors; For example, Leidos runs production at Fort Detrick, so we work a lot with companies like Leidos, ”said Matan. “And then … There are so many FDA trials going on now, so we’re targeting new pharmaceutical companies.”
For these companies, speed to market is everything. This is why Matan builds 100% of all Progress Labs premises. And it has proven to be effective; EllumeThe Australian diagnostic company has almost completed the move to its premises at Center 85. after signing the lease in May… Matan said the company expects a start date on September 1. And so far, all the buildings that Matan built for Progress Labs have already been leased out.
“So speed to market is everything,” Matan said. “Whether it’s COVID-19 or you’ve just gotten an anti-TB drug approved, these companies will need it the next day.”
If companies wait until they need their spaces to develop them, it will take Matan at least 12-18 months to get the space up and running. Instead, they focus on their own folding buildings which are similar to their warehouses.
However, there are a few key differences when it comes to developing for a life sciences manufacturer. The company must provide all necessary entry points for utilities and delivery in the building. They also need to provide a floor on which everything above and below can be placed.
In addition, Matan considers it vital to make buildings aesthetically pleasing, with open spaces and lots of glass windows to keep the space well lit. Because these companies have many employees, Matan has made it his top priority to make buildings people-friendly, not just equipment.
“There is so much glass and amenities in the area and the landscaping, this is not a roadway building. It’s not that look, ”Matan said. “But we’re really focused on providing a big shell to these big bio companies, and then they kind of work with interiors.”
The company is confidently moving towards the lease of premises that have not yet been leased. More and more companies are coming to Maryland because there is enough space to build these vast projects.
“Boston is a traditional place, but it’s crowded and expensive, so they are moving to places like Raleigh, North Carolina and Atlanta,” Matan said. “So, to really attract these tenants, we are working with the local brokerage community in local municipalities to get out of the ground specs and this has been successful so far.”
However, Matan said the company does hope to expand to Raleigh-Durham-Carey. Research triangle and develop more vertical laboratory space in more densely populated areas such as Northern Virginia.
But Matan also has big goals for Progress Labs.
Erica Riley is a journalist covering topics such as business, real estate and economics. She lives in Frederick, Maryland.