Germantown, Maryland is the farthest north of Montgomery County’s commercial centers, it’s also the smallest and youngest in terms of commercial development but that is quickly changing. With approximately 3 million square feet of office space, Germantown has been one of the county’s bright spots in terms of commercial development in the last couple of years.
The area is becoming a destination for not only retail but more importantly office building construction, businesses, and jobs. It is home to the only Wegmans grocery store in the county which opened late last year and is also home to the only Wal-mart in the county that is currently undergoing a major expansion and renovation. Holy Cross Hospital of Silver Spring is completing a new full service center there as well. The area delivered a 164,000 square foot office building at the Milestone Business Park last year, the Shops at Seneca Meadows (where Wegmans is located), also delivered 28,000 square feet of office space located on top of the retail component; the new additions are over 80% leased. Germantown only has an estimated 134,000 square feet of Class-A office space available, and business demand calls for more.
In the bustle of several business relocations to Germantown, the area has managed to lure a large biotech that’s moved its headquarters from Virginia.
Intrexon Corp (NYSE:XON) – with headquarters in the Seneca Meadows Business Park – is a biotechnology company that just held its IPO at $16 a share in the middle of last year. The firm quickly grew in value and the stock price has soared to a high of $38.50 per share.
Intrexon has held a market value of approximately $3.20 billion in the last couple of weeks, making it the largest independent company headquartered in Germantown as well as the largest company in the Upcounty area that includes Gaithersburg.
The company is focused on creating products through synthetic biology in the fields of health, food, energy and the environment. Intrexon is developing platforms that can design build and test DNA components. The efforts are paying off with a recently announced collaboration with Big Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). The two companies will work together to develop new skin and hair products.
Before Intrexon, Germantown’s largest company was Hughes Communications, at its peak the former publicly traded company had a market value of approximately $1.1 billion before being purchased by EchoStar in 2011.
The move by Intrexon from Blacksburg, Virginia to Germantown, Maryland, replaces that void but also makes more sense for a company that is focused on the life sciences. With over 350 bioscience companies in Montgomery County alone; Maryland is by far the epicenter of all things Medical and Biotechnology in the Washington, D.C. area and Mid-Atlantic region. And as a bonus the company is also in close proximity to the newly built Bioscience education and conference center at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College.