Solar Energy Firm Takes 17K SF in First DC-Area Deal 

The company chose a spot in the University of Maryland’s Discovery District

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Freedom Forever, a Temecula, Calif.-based solar energy company, has signed a 17,499-square-foot lease at St. John Properties5650 Rivertech Court in Riverdale, Md., marking its first entry into the region.

The company, which installs residential solar energy systems, plans to move into its space in April. The 57,120-square-foot, single-story flex/R&D building is located in the 150-acre Discovery District at the University of Maryland

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“The Discovery District offers unmatched proximity to retail amenities, a pipeline of talent from the University of Maryland, and flex buildings with delivery bays, high ceilings and flexible floor plates for a variety of uses,” Sean Doordan, St. John Properties’ senior vice president of leasing and acquisitions, told Commercial Observer. “Freedom Forever represents the most recent example of our ability to attract emerging companies in the technology, life sciences, and government contracting industries to the business community.”

The move comes as Freedom Forever recently entered the North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida markets, and is part of the firm’s broader strategy to pursue aggressive growth along the East Coast corridor. 

Freedom Forever plans to use the space at 5650 Rivertech Court to house its team of site surveyors, construction professionals and installation personnel, which will complete rooftop solar energy panel installations and home energy conversions. A portion of the space will also be utilized for the storage and warehousing of solar panels and materials.

“Maryland is an extremely solar-friendly state full of customers who are eager to save on their utility bills,” Danny Rubin, Freedom Forever’s vice president of field operations, said in prepared remarks. “The building provides us with the open space we need to store and stage materials, as well as access to highways and the Metro D.C. area. A significant factor in our decision was the opportunity to be part of the Discovery District, which we believe to be extremely innovative, energetic and close to amenities.”     

The 5650 Rivertech Court building offers 16-foot ceiling heights, dock and drive-in loading capabilities, and a free surface parking lot.

The property is situated less than a mile from the University of Maryland College Park campus, adjacent to the College Park Metro/MARC train station and the proposed Purple Line.

Notable tenants in the Discovery District include such federal agencies as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the College Park Academy charter school. St. John Properties has developed approximately 160,000 square feet of LEED Gold space within the area.

“Freedom Forever represents an example of our ability to attract high-profile companies with strong growth potential to the Discovery District,” Doordan said. “They have a proven model that has been successful throughout the country, and we are glad they’ve selected the Discovery District as their home base as they expand into the Maryland region.”

Jared Ross, first vice president with CBRE, represented the tenant in the transaction. The landlord represented itself in-house.