Guardian Realty Converting Germantown Industrial Building to Lab Suites


Guardian Realty Investors is transforming 20400 Observation Drive, a former industrial building in Germantown, Md., into a new life sciences lab known as Observation Labs. 

When complete, the 68,417-square-foot building will consist of approximately 15,000 square feet of spec suites ranging from 3,800 to 7,800 square feet, and build-to-suite spaces up to 55,000 square feet.

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“There has been increasing demand for high-quality move-in-ready lab suites over the past 24 months, and delivering this product now is particularly important as the supply continues to be extremely limited,” Tony LaBarbera, president and CEO of Guardian, told Commercial Observer.

The property is set to deliver in the first quarter of 2023.

Guardian originally constructed the building in 1989. The conversion to a world-class life science solution furthers Guardian’s mission of providing cutting-edge real estate solutions, LaBarbera said. 

Designed by EwingCole Architects and JennErik Engineering, with Riparios Construction handling renovation work, the property will also include private wet labs, high-end office spaces and trophy-class conference, lounge and dining facilities. Shared equipment available includes a reverse-osmosis glass wash, an ice maker and an autoclave.

“We are excited to start this new chapter in Germantown, Md., a market that is a major cluster for life sciences and one that Guardian has been part of since the early 1980s,” LaBarbera said. 

Keith Loria can be reached at