Maryland’s Prince George’s County planning consultants have announced three possible locations for the county’s biotech complex, which is expected to include two to four new buildings with high-quality laboratories, according to theWashington Business Journal. County economic development leaders are in talks with at least one developer regarding the plan.

Publicly owned lots near M Square Research Park are the top recommended location because of proximity to a University of Maryland research hot spot and College Park Metro station. The Konterra business campus and the area near the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station are a close second and third on the list of sites.

Although consultants have said the plan will be achievable, some developers worry about the current economy, lack of financing and constricting budgets. Thousands of square feet of Montgomery County labs remain empty and offer lower rental rates, so developers believe it could be risky to support the new labs in Prince George’s County without having committed tenants.

Alton Fryer, senior vice president and partner of Manekin LLC, Columbia, Md., says the plan would be worth pursuing if his company could make money but says that is probably unlikely and lab spaces “are not something you would build speculatively.”

“It’s expensive, and for the most part, they’re customized to the needs of the companies,” Fryer says. “New construction today can’t be supported with today’s rent.”

However, the county only has about 2 percent of Maryland’s bioscience companies and 5 percent of its available wet lab space; therefore, county officials say they need to invest in biotech infrastructure. They say it would bring in biotech companies and return revenue to the county.

The county’s report estimates the biotech center would provide 700 to 1,900 new jobs and $1.6 million to $4.4 million in annual revenue, depending on the location. Although the Prince George’s Plaza Metro site would cost five times more than the M Square lot site, it would reap double the net economic benefit once the center is fully operational—$1.9 million instead of $900,000.