Civic News

Take a peek at the 500K square foot lab buildings coming to UM BioPark

4MLK, for which construction begins in October, will house 160,000 square feet of wet-lab capable space. These renderings offer insight into the appearance of this eight-story building — and another to be added in the project's second phase.

A side-facing rendering of 4 MLK.

(Courtesy image)

The project’s simple name — 4MLK — belies the strength of the impact it will have on the University of Maryland (UM) BioPark‘s already significant presence at the edge of downtown and West Baltimore.

That impact is made more evident in renderings of the future building that UM BioPark and project developer Wexford Science & Technology recently made publicly available. 4MLK, which was first announced back in 2019, will offer 250,000 square feet of biomedical facilities in an eight-story building at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Baltimore Street. According to a statement and a UM BioPark spokesperson, 4MLK will build on the research park’s current web of biomedical innovation-supporting facilities by offering the following:

  • 160,000 square feet of wet lab space for tenants and commercial partners
  • About 40,000 square feet of flex lab, office and support space “to accommodate startup and early stage companies”
  • 16,000 square feet of facilities for networking and educational events
  • An adjacent public plaza with retail, beverage and food vendors along the aforementioned streets

4MLK at dusk. (Courtesy image)

The wet lab space is particularly important, given the shortage of such facilities that local tech ecosystem leaders have said forces companies in the booming life sciences market to leave or stymie growth. Jim Hughes, the BioPark’s president and University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) chief enterprise and economic development officer, told Technical.ly via email that 4MLK “will help address the tremendous pent-up demand” for wet and other kinds of lab space.

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“In the last two years, UMB has created 18 start-up companies and collaborated with over 200 companies around the world,” he said. “4MLK will enable these companies to locate in the heart of the UMB campus, creating hundreds of jobs and developing medical products that will change lives. I expect that these companies will grow quickly and expand into future buildings in the BioPark and throughout Greater Baltimore.”

Construction is expected to begin this October, with a launch event taking place Oct. 14.

An aerial rendering of 4MLK. (Courtesy image)

The spokesperson noted that principals plan to house both UMB’s entrepreneurial staff and the Maryland Momentum Fund in 4MLK.

While neither UM BioPark nor Wexford could immediately provide renderings of 4MLK’s interior, the former entity did send interpretations of how the location will appear when Phase II of the project — another adjacent 250,000-square-foot building — is complete:

A rendering of 4MLK and the adjacent building after Phase II of the development is completed. (Courtesy image)

A UM BioPark spokesperson explained that the exact function of the second building, while “envisioned to house similar lab and office uses to Phase I,” will be subject to what the market calls for.

“While we’ve done some initial conceptual design work and designed site infrastructure to accommodate a future building, the timing and specs will be determined and driven by market demand,” the spokesperson said via email.

The first tower is expected to open by summer of 2024. In total, according to the Baltimore Business Journal, the project costs around $320 million.

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