Maryland National Mortgage Corp. will consolidate two major offices into a single downtown location, the company said yesterday, quelling widespread fears in the real estate community that the company would leave the city for Baltimore County.
"We'll stay in the downtown area. That's the most effective place for it to be," said Daniel G. Finney, senior vice president and chief spokesman for MNC Financial Inc., the mortgage company's corporate parent.
Maryland National Mortgage is among the biggest private-sector tenants believed to be looking for Baltimore-area office space, commercial real estate brokers say. The company expects to lease about 75,000 square feet of Class A office space, giving a big boost to a market that has been rocked by defections this year.
AT&T; is moving some operations to Anne Arundel County from downtown, and the demise of the law firm Frank Bernstein, Conaway and Goldman put 89,000 square feet on the market at 300 E. Lombard St. Brokers have said CSX Corp. will move out of more than 100,000 square feet of downtown space as it shifts operations to Florida.
At the end of 1991, 16.5 percent of the Class A office space downtown was vacant, according to a W. C. Pinkard & Co. study. However, counting the soon-to-be-completed Commerce Place building at South and Baltimore streets, that rate would jump to 21.7 percent.
Maryland National's shift actually will cause 110 employees to move their offices into the city from the suburbs. The two offices set to be consolidated are housed in the Arundel Corporate Center in Towson and in the old Legg Mason building at 7 E. Redwood St. downtown. The existing downtown office has 225 employees, Mr. Finney said.
Mr. Finney said the consolidation is expected "within the next few weeks." A downtown location makes sense for the mortgage company because it is close to central support operations that serve other MNC subsidiaries as well as the mortgage company, he added.
David Downey, a broker at W.C. Pinkard & Co. who is working with the mortgage company, said the number of candidates is down to "less than a handful." He said the mortgage company considered moving to the suburbs, and he had not heard it had firmly decided to stay in the city until Mr. Finney's comments.