Distressed Rockville Office Building Hits the Market, Ripe for Conversion

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The 145,491-square-foot Rockville Metro Center is on the market, and the office building is ripe for multifamily redevelopment or life sciences conversion, according to Transwestern, which is marketing the property.

“It is a distress sale by the lender,” Gerry Trainor, executive managing director of Transwestern, told Commercial Observer. “Currently vacant, Rockville Metro Center is ideally positioned for immediate redevelopment, providing a buyer optionality on the uses.”

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There is a 2 percent vacancy rate for life sciences in the area, and the building’s asking price can make a conversion work, Trainor said. He would not disclose the asking price.

For those choosing to go the multifamily route, Trainor noted it would not be a conversion, but would involve razing the old structure and building new. 

“The multifamily market is very strong in Rockville Town Center, and this particular location would be highly sought after because it is next to both the Metro and the amenity base of the town center,” he said.

Last year, a $34 million loan on the office building went delinquent by owner Essex Capital Partners, after Montgomery County terminated its full-building lease on June 30, 2021, according to a report from CMBS tracking firm Trepp, cited by Bisnow. The lender was not disclosed. 

Rockville Metro Center is at 255 Rockville Pike, within Montgomery County’s flourishing I-270 biotech corridor. The building is just minutes from downtown Washington, D.C., allowing investors to enter the high barrier to entry market where land and conversion options are scarce.

The building features 18-foot ceilings, 65,000-square-foot floor plates, 30-by-30-foot column spacing, a loading dock, five elevators and an oversized freight elevator. It is zoned PD-RCI, which permits residential and commercial developments with approval.

The two-story building also offers 2.5 levels of below-grade parking, sky bridge access to the Rockville metro station, and direct commuter access via Rockville Pike, I-270 and I-495.

Office conversions are happening more and more throughout the D.C. region. Just last month, Longfellow Real Estate Partners acquired 1 Preserve, a 191,000-square-foot office building in Rockville, with plans to turn it into life sciences space.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.