Change is afoot at City Garage.
The former city bus garage in Port Covington was transformed into a maker hub in 2015, and its next act will be as a home for life sciences companies.
The massive building is set to be outfitted with 100,000 square feet of lab space over the next decade, with 75,000 square feet of that set to be built out next year. That’s according to Kevin Plank-backed Sagamore Ventures and Rockville-based real estate investment firm South Duvall, which announced a partnership last week that’s centered around the biotech initiative.
In particular, the aim is to attract growth stage life sciences companies. It answers one oft-voiced call in Baltimore: More lab space is needed to keep up-and-coming companies being formed out of the city’s healthcare-centered research institutions, like Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
“Baltimore is home to many world class institutions, but there’s been a true need for space built for research and development,” said Matthew Brown, director of acquisitions at South Duvall, in a statement. “City Garage and Port Covington will be the perfect place for the innovative life science community to grow in Baltimore.”
Along with labs, Brown said that they will be adding utility services, amenities and shared services that are in-demand from life sciences companies. Still, City Garage is already an active hub for companies, so the announcement begged the question — who will be moving out?
One answer is Under Armour. The apparel company has had a manufacturing innovation space called UA Lighthouse in City Garage since 2016. But now, the company’s 67,000-square-foot block will be vacated in early summer 2022, Brown said.
In response to questions from Technical.ly, a message from Under Armour’s media relations team said the move is in line with Under Armour’s plans to move its entire headquarters to a separate space in Port Covington over the next three years. The company announced in April that it expects to build a five-story office building, renovate an existing building and create an athletic complex. The implied message is that UA Lighthouse will be located there.
“The new campus is designed to serve as a cutting-edge innovation center,” Under Armour said. “In order to facilitate further enhanced collaboration between our product and innovation teams, we are moving them all to our new campus.”
Brown said other areas of the building will be converted for life sciences as they are vacated.
It’s part of a wider effort to attract life sciences in Port Covington. On the other side of Port Covington, life sciences companies are among a mix of innovation and entrepreneurship-focused tenants developers are aiming to attract as they construct new buildings. Last year, life sciences developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities started marketing a 170,000-square-foot laboratory building for Port Covington.
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