Updated at 3:15 p.m. – A global research and consulting firm that has long called downtown Bethesda home will move to an office park in Rockville.
Abt Associates, which has had an office at 4550 Montgomery Ave. in Bethesda since 2004, confirmed it will take over the entire 151,000-square-foot, eight-floor office building at 6130 Executive Blvd. in April 2018 when its current lease expires.
The Executive Boulevard building is co-owned by Monument Realty of Washington, D.C.
The Washington Business Journal first reported the news.
Real estate experts and county officials have held up the stretch of mostly vacant office buildings on Executive Boulevard as an example of how older, more suburban-style office parks are dying and how companies are instead seeking space closer to major transit hubs such as in downtown Bethesda.
The county Planning Department is working on the White Flint 2 Sector Plan that will likely address the area with new zoning and land use recommendations.
Monument Realty Executive Vice President Doug Olson acknowledged the trend at a Bisnow event in February, pointing out that his company has two buildings on “probably the largest block of vacant space in Montgomery County.” Monument also owns the next-door office building at 6120 Executive Blvd.
The National Cancer Institute vacated the 6130 Executive Blvd. building in 2013.
But at the same February event, Olson expressed optimism that lower costs for tenants, a $10 million renovation of the two buildings and momentum from the nearby Pike & Rose project would help some of the Executive Boulevard buildings make a comeback. He announced those factors helped lure an unnamed tenant to sign a letter-of-intent. That tenant turned out to be Abt Associates, which signed a lease Friday.
Richard Small, executive vice president and CFO of Abt Associates, said in a prepared statement provided to Bethesda Beat the company chose the Executive Boulevard building because “the new space will allow the company to grow and will incorporate state-of-the-art design amenities.”
The statement also referred to the building as in “the Pike & Rose district of Rockville.”
"The extensive revitalization of the White Flint area makes Executive Plaza an increasingly attractive option for Maryland businesses and it’s now evident that demand will only increase with these positive changes to the neighborhood," Monument Principal Michael Darby said in a statement.