Office Building on Sunoco Site Will Be Designed To Draw Bioscience Companies to Bethesda

Developers say proximity to Walter Reed, NIH will attract life science companies


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Rendering of the project at 8280 Wisconsin Ave.

Via Donohoe/StonebridgeCarras

Developers say the office building they’re planning for the site of a Sunoco gas station will bring life sciences employers to downtown Bethesda.

StonebridgeCarras and The Donohoe Cos. on Tuesday released a rendering depicting the roughly 175,000-square-foot building proposed for 8280 Wisconsin Ave. The location is well-positioned to attract a life sciences user because of the site’s proximity to the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Douglas M. Firstenberg, a principal with StonebridgeCarras, said in a prepared statement.

“We recognize the opportunity to develop a premier life sciences building at this Bethesda location,” Chris Bruch, CEO and president of The Donohoe Cos., added.

The project by Donohoe Development Co. and StonebridgeCarras is part of Woodmont Central, a three-part redevelopment effort. Woodmont Central includes an existing luxury apartment complex, Gallery Bethesda, and another complex, Gallery Bethesda II, slated for completion in the fall. 

For the bioscience-focused building, the developers are partnering with EwingCole, an architectural and engineering firm that has worked on the United Therapeutics complex in Silver Spring, and the Scheer Partners team, which has “decades of experience” leasing space to companies in bioscience fields, the release stated.

“8280 Wisconsin will bring to Bethesda a visionary project equivalent to the top lab clusters in the country that have developed facilities in urban locations close to major scientific installations and been able to recruit and retain top talent because of it,” stated Matt Brady, principal and senior vice president of Scheer Partners.

Firstenberg said the goal is to get development approval by this fall and begin construction in the second half of 2019. With that timeline, the roughly 145-foot-tall building could be finished by summer 2021.

About three quarters of the D.C. region’s commercial lab space is located in Montgomery County’s I-270 corridor, and David Petr, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., says there’s still not enough to meet the demand.

“The development of Bethesda Bio by StonebridgeCarras and Donohoe’s project not only addresses this critical shortage, but it allows Montgomery County to compete with other urban markets such as Cambridge in Boston and the East Bay in San Francisco to provide an urban option located next to the largest support and driver of bio research in the world at NIH,” Petr said in the release.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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