250,000 sq. ft. UM BioPark Lab Building ‘4MLK’ to Break Ground in October

| September 22, 2022 | 0 Comments

University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and Wexford Science & Technology, LLC announced today that 4MLK, the newest development project in the University of Maryland BioPark, is slated to move forward with the groundbreaking in October. Delivery is slated for Summer 2024.

Plans for this building were first presented in May 2019.

The eight-story, 250,000 sq. ft. 4MLK building is Phase I of a two-phase project representing a $320-million total capital investment in Poppleton/Hollins Market. The building “will provide critical wet laboratory space in downtown Baltimore for researchers and companies, flexible lab and office/support space for start-ups, and Class A office space, along with areas for convening and a conference center.”

From a press release:

4MLK’s Spaces

  • 160,000 square feet of Class A wet lab-capable space will be available to commercial partners for build-out.
  • 40,000 square feet is planned for flexible lab, office, and lab support facilities specifically designed to meet the rigorous needs of growing life science companies. These flexible lab spaces are paired with full-service amenities such as shared lab equipment, weekly networking and educational programming, and flexible terms.
  • A 16,000-square-foot space for community gathering and events will encourage networking and provide educational programming opportunities for tenants, UMB, and the greater Baltimore community.
  • Along with the building, the project will deliver an adjacent public plaza and an activated streetscape with retail and food and beverage venues along Baltimore Street and MLK Blvd.
  • Phase II will add a second 250,000-square-foot lab/office building.

Across W. Baltimore St. from 4 MLK is a triangular park which the team hopes to improve and create into another popular gathering space.

Wexford will wrap the perimeter of the building in new landscaping. UMB and Wexford are also hoping to improve pedestrian crossings at this busy intersection.

The building is scaled down from the 10-story, 333,000 sq. ft. 4MLK proposal from 2020.

4MLK will redevelop a block that borders Martin Luther King Blvd., W. Baltimore St., W. Fayette St., and N. Fremont Ave. The project site currently includes green spaces, a parking lot, and several open spaces created by demolishing a Chinese carryout restaurant, rowhomes, and a former church. A historic firehouse with a castle facade remains on the block and will be renovated into a restaurant as part of the project. There are two properties on the block not controlled by Wexford: the Silver Moon Restaurant and Carry Out and an adjacent rowhome. Those properties will remain.

A 105 ft. above-ground parking garage with first-floor retail was planned on a vacant lot between W. Fayette St., N. Fremont Ave., and W. Fairmount Ave. But, Gregory Herlong, vice president and market executive with Wexford, told SouthBMore.com the parking is not needed at this time as there is “sufficient capacity” at other garages at the BioPark.

Herlong said some of the building is pre-leased and some will be built as spec.

He said 4MLK will have 9,000 qs. ft. of retail space available for lease on the first floor.

“This is the first new building in BioPark for at least 10 years, so we are really excited to get it going,” said Herlong.

“For UMB, 4MLK is more than a building — it is a symbol of our continued growth and dedication to advancing life sciences and driving economic investment in Baltimore,” said Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, president of UMB, in a press release. “The BioPark is a highly sought-after location for companies seeking commercial wet lab space as well as connection to UMB and the vast resources we offer. We are proud that 4MLK will deliver a high volume of new lab space to Baltimore, helping fill the severe shortage in our region.”

“Since the inception of the UM BioPark, UMB has played a critical role in both the growth of the local life sciences industry and in fulfillment of the vision of the BioPark as a center of gravity and congregation for researchers, corporate innovators, entrepreneurs, and the community,” said Jim Berens, founder and chairman of Wexford Science & Technology, in a press release. “4MLK is the result of our strong, long-term partnership with UMB and critical focus on providing much needed world-class research space to private industry. Its advancement underscores the unique opportunity for life sciences companies looking to launch or expand in Baltimore.”

Wexford has developed three properties at the BioPark along W. Baltimore St. that are all leased. These include a 120,000 sq. ft. office building at 800 W. Baltimore St., a 238,000 sq. ft. office building at 801 W. Baltimore St., and a 638-space parking garage at 1 N. Poppleton St. that is also the home of the campus police substation.

The Maryland Proton Treatment Center, the Maryland Forensic Medical Center, Community Engagement Center, and the Lion Brothers building where UMB runs The GRID are also part of the BioPark footprint.

Renderings from Wexford Science & Technology

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.