Thor Equities Signs First Tenant at Office-to-Lab Conversion in Rockville

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Biotechnology company Innovative Cellular Therapeutics will be the first life sciences tenant to move into 50 West Gude Labs, a Rockville, Md. office building that landlord Thor Equities is transitioning into lab space, Commercial Observer has learned.

The cancer therapeutics company will utilize its newly leased 11,924-square-foot space for research and development activities.

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The 43,100-square-foot West Gude facility is one of a trio of office and flex properties Thor Equities acquired in January 2022 for $45 million, with plans to convert them all to life sciences space.

“There was vacancy in the building, so this is where we started our conversion by building a spec suite lab,” Joe Sitt, founder and chairman of Thor Equities, told CO. The remainder of the building is occupied by medical office tenants A Plus Medical and Montgomery Surgery Center.

The campus, which is located in the Shady Grove neighborhood, also includes 20 West Gude and 30 West Gude.

“We are doing conversion in phases, starting with what was available to convert in building 50, and now we are starting our conversion of building 20, which only has one existing tenant. So we will be converting 85 percent of that building,” Sitt said. “Once building 20 is done, we’ll start on what’s available in building 30 for conversion.” 

In total, the three buildings will consist of 232,000 square feet, with spec suites done in phases.

Building 20 is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024. Once leased, work will begin on building 30, he added. 

“The Rockville corridor of Maryland has a strong base of life science tenants and with a very low availability rate for space, the demand is strong,” Sitt said. “Over 90 percent of Maryland’s lab inventory is along the I-270 corridor, and the vacancy rate is very low.”

Kevin Reap from CBRE (CBRE) represented the landlord in the lease, while Kyle Corsini at JLL (JLL) represented the tenant. 

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