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Another federal agency signs lease downtown


The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has become the latest federal agency to capitalize on the depressed commercial real estate market, signing a 10-year lease for 14,542 square feet of office space at the Marsh & McLennan building at 300 W. Pratt St.

The agency's local office will be moving out of the Garmatz Federal Courthouse, along with other agencies, to make room for an expansion of the space devoted to courts.

John Thompson, a spokesman in Philadelphia for the General Services Administration, which handles real estate leasing for other federal agencies, said the personnel agency will move to its new quarters in July. The lease was signed May 14.

Mr. Thompson said the deal calls for an annual base rental of $21.59 a square foot, or $313,961.78. Over 10 years, that would bring $3.14 million to the building's owners. The government has an option to break the lease after five years.

Daniel S. Stone, head of the partnership that owns the Marsh & McLennan building, couldn't be reached for comment yesterday. The building, which has a white, restored cast-iron facade, is near Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It will be about 73 percent occupied when the federal agency moves in.

Mr. Thompson said the Office of Personnel Management's move is likely to be the last significant lease announced by agencies moving out of the Garmatz building.

Several federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Probation Office, the Secret Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Customs Service, have leased space in downtown Baltimore in the past year.

The leases have helped shore up a downtown office market that, like its suburban competition, has been hit hard by the recession.

All except the Customs Service were previously housed in the Garmatz building, Mr. Thompson said.

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