Plans for Odenton industrial park proceed despite slowdown


A slowing commercial real estate market has not detered some developers' plans to build industrial parks in Anne Arundel County.

Steuart Development Co. of Brooklandville expects to break ground this month on one such project in the rapidly growing Odenton area.

When completed in the next five to 10 years, the $100 million project, called Arundel Crossing, will have about 1.75 million square feet of space for warehouses, offices, scientific research and light manufacturing, said Christopher K. Steuart, a partner in the development company.

Arundel Crossing, which will have a hotel, also hopes to lure defense contractors and those who do business with the top-secret National Security Agency at nearby Fort Meade.

Arundel Crossing is owned by two limited partnerships, both composed of the Cafritz Group Inc., a Washington development firm, and the majority partner, SKOP Bank of Helsinki, Finland. SKOP, the largest financial institution in Finland, will provide the financing, Steuart said.

The project will sit on 180 acres, divided into west and east sides by Md. 170, near its juncture with a new state alignment of Md. 32 in northwest Anne Arundel. Work began recently on the new alignment and is expected to be completed in 1993. The project will be built near Nevamar Corp., an Odenton laminates manufacturer, which sold some of the land to Arundel Crossing, Steuart said.

The first phase of Arundel Crossing West is scheduled to include three single-story buildings totaling about 125,000 square feet. The mixed-use park will have 550,000 square feet on about 60 acres when completed, Steuart said.

Arundel Crossing East will boast larger industrial warehouses. It will have 1.2 million square feet of space on 120 acres when finished. Construction is scheduled to begin next spring.

The entire project could be completed in seven years if it proceeds at a moderate pace, Steuart said.

The developer plans to expand Md. 170 from two to four lanes to accommodate traffic near the two industrial parks, along with other road improvements.

No leases have been signed yet.

Steuart acknowledged having some concerns about the slowing economy, but said the owners can wait out any large slump that may hit the region.

"If you take a historical look at the real estate business and the economy in general, it goes in cycles, generally of three years," Steuart said. "We feel confident that the economy will swing back within a year or so. We're committed to these projects for the long haul. If we hit a slump, we'll simply sit back and wait until the economy comes back."

The slowing economy has not stopped other developers from at least expressing interest in building in Anne Arundel, said Lynn Palmer, business development representative at the county Office of Economic Development.

"It's a slowing economy, but I'm still seeing some prospects. We do get calls and a lot of people knocking at the door," Palmer said. The county's location between Baltimore and Washington continues to attract interest, she said.

* Following are recent commercial real estate transactions:

* Airborne Freight Corp. has leased 30,010 square feet of space at 1015 W. Nursery Road, according to Parker Frames & Co. Inc.

* Vince's Wooden Toys Inc. has leased 3,300 square feet of space at 9631 Liberty Road, according to Parker Frames & Co. Inc.

* John-Laurie Limited Partnership has purchased 36,650 square feet of space in the Southgate Industrial Park, 2221 Berlin St., according to Parker Frames & Co., Inc.

* Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. has leased 2,800 square feet of space at The Horizons, an office/retail complex at Jumpers Hole Road and Ritchie Highway, according to The Horizons.

* Brico Environmental has leased 1,748 square feet of space in the White Marsh Business Center, 5020 Campbell Blvd., according to Nottingham Properties, Inc.

* Michelin Tire Corp., a tire manufacturer and distributor, has leased 332,400 square feet of space in the Meadowridge Business Park in Elkridge, according to Casey & Associates.

* Old Bay Co. has subleased 1,575 square feet of space at 1777 Reisterstown Road, according to Casey & Associates.

* Richard A. Friedman, a local * Richard A. Friedman, a local dentistry firm, has leased 1,050 square feet of space in the Winmark Center in Columbia, according to Casey & Associates.

* BDP International Inc., international freight forwarders, has leased 12,240 square feet of space in the Oregon Business Center in Linthicum, according to Casey & Associates.

* Anthem Electronics has leased 6,386 square feet of space in Columbia Gateway in Columbia, according to Casey & Associates.

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