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Cromwell Business Park nearing capacity A fall target date planned for opening


A partially completed Linthicum business park that developers started planning a decade ago has leased nearly 30,000 square feet since January and expects to double that by year's end.

Cromwell Business Park, east of Baltimore-Washington International Airport, also expects to launch a second phase of development as soon as state officials make major highway improvements, said Steve Donnelly, general manager of The Circle Companies, which is developing the site.

The park's first phase, off Hollins Ferry Road, is now 80 percent leased, Mr. Donnelly said.

"In today's market, we'd consider that good, maybe 5 percent ahead of the area average."

The business park hasn't suffered the high vacancies of some industrial or office parks in the I-95 corridor near Columbia, where projects tend to be owned by large-scale national developers, Mr. Donnelly said.

"Over here it tends to be locally owned" by developers who have a good grasp of local market needs, he said.

Builders started constructing the first of five, one- or two-story office buildings -- with 250,000 square-feet of space -- on 25 acres four years ago, as part of phase one.

In the past few months, some of the major leases have included Advance Fluid System, which expanded by 3,276 square feet, Franz Shoar's Oriental Rug Center, which leased 4,245 square feet, N.E.S. Arnold Inc., a distributor of educational materials that leased 8,309 square feet, Pegasus Air Express, which leased 1,499 square feet and Glenair Express, which leased 1,411 square feet.

Partners of Legum/Cromwell Joint Venture began planning the park in 1982.

"As developers we like to take a piece of land and put buildings on it," Mr. Donnelly said.

But it hasn't been that simple.

The property sits between Glen Burnie homes on one side and airport businesses on the other. For much of the past decade, Cromwell partners have waited as the State Highway Administration, the Maryland Aviation Administration and the Mass Transit Administration have worked out and revised road access for the park and immediate region, as part of proposed improvements to Route 100 and Dorsey Road near Interstate 97.

The entire 300-acre parcel sits north of Dorsey Road on both sides of Interstate 97 and runs roughly to Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard. Most of the property is west of the interstate, with the remaining 50 acres on the east side. Of that parcel, 15 acres will be used by the Mass Transit Administration for a park and ride lot for the Dorsey Road light rail terminal, Mr. Donnelly said.

Most of the engineering and design has been completed on 70 acres that will be developed in the second phase. Zoning there allows for hotels, offices, stores or restaurants. Though the partners have tentative plans to build about 800,000 square feet of office or retail space, they will make their final decision only after seeing the state's final road plans.

Last year, partner Leslie Legum -- former owner of Parkway Industrial Center -- sold Parkway but retained his interest in the joint venture and formed the Circle Companies to manage Cromwell, Mr. Donnelly said.

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