U.S. agency seeks space in Arundel Developers to vie for warehouse deal


The U.S. General Services Administration is looking to move a major warehouse facility to Anne Arundel County from Northern Virginia, in what could become a $5 million lease for the winning developer.

The GSA wants to move a Federal Supply Service warehouse from Franconia, Va., in Fairfax County. The service is responsible for the nuts and bolts of government -- "chairs, paintings, pens, paper clips -- you name it," GSA spokesman John Thompson said.

Glamorous it's not, but it is a fairly big deal at a time when big deals are hard for developers to find. Put another way, the 200,000 square feet that the GSA needs is 4.6 acres of warehouse space.

The GSA has asked developers to express their interest by the end of June.

After the GSA hears from interested developers, it will put together detailed requirements and release a request for proposals. After developers respond, the GSA will be able to make a decision. Mr. Thompson said it is too soon to know how long that might take.

Robert Oare, a commercial real estate broker with Manekin Corp. in Columbia, said the space will probably lease for about $2.50 a square foot per year.

That is well below the $2.75 to $3.50 a square foot that is average for big blocks of industrial space in metropolitan Baltimore, according to a 5-month-old Landauer Real Estate Counselors study that predicted rents would fall this year.

The $2.50-a-foot rent would make the lease worth $5 million over the 10 years.

"Landlords are asking $3.25 to $3.50," Mr. Oare said. "But when you have the federal government stepping forward, that [$2.50 a foot] would be the kind of rate they could command."

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