Time Warner Inc. will build the Baltimore area's biggest privately funded commercial development in five years, a 392,000-square-foot warehouse in White Marsh that will generate 400 jobs initially.
The deal, pending for weeks, was unveiled by Nottingham Properties Inc. of Towson yesterday.
A Nottingham affiliate sold Time Warner the land for the warehouse, which will supply Warner Bros. Worldwide retail stores in the eastern half of the United States. The value of the land was not disclosed, but the head of the construction company expected to build the project said the building will cost about $16 million.
The project will be the biggest private commercial development in metropolitan Baltimore since the Towson Commons complex in Towson and the Commerce Place office building downtown, each of which was announced in 1989.
The major area projects in recent years have been government or government-assisted deals, such as the Woodlawn headquarters of the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration, the Christopher Columbus Center at the Inner Harbor waterfront, and the Homer Gudelsky wing of the University of Mary land Hospital downtown.
"It's a touchdown with a two-point conversion," said Adam Wasserman, deputy director of Baltimore County's Department of Economic Development. "It gives credibility to our efforts on the I-95 corridor and gives us an internationally recognized name as an in- vestor. When we go looking for other investors, it changes the face of White Marsh for us."
Developers in counties throughout the corridor between Baltimore and Washington competed for the deal.
Developers in Harford County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County and Baltimore City were eliminated before Time Warner narrowed the field to the Nottingham site and two sites in the Harford County communities of Belcamp and Aberdeen.
"I think it's a significant accomplishment for Baltimore County and White Marsh specifically," said J. Richard Latini, a Baltimore-based broker for CB Commercial Real Estate Services, which represented Time Warner along with CB's James P. Lighthizer. "From a warehouse/industrial base, they have not been getting that business for a long time. It has been going north of them to Harford County, or south of them to Howard County."
Harford County has beaten out Baltimore County for a number of major industrial and warehouse deals. Companies such as Mercedes, Frito-Lay, Gap Inc. and Pier One Imports have all opened big new warehouses in Harford County in recent years, and Starbucks Corp. is looking at a site in Belcamp for a coffee processing center/warehouse.
Time Warner has not announced the deal. Even after Nottingham confirmed yesterday that the deal was done, Time Warner officials did not return calls seeking comment.
The warehouse will be a distribution center serving Warner Bros.' "Studio Stores" in eastern states. The stores sell themed merchandise inspired by Warner Bros. films and cartoons.
The chain had 60 stores at year-end, and Time Warner in January announced plans to add 50 this year. More recent company announcements have said Warner Bros. plans 100 new stores this year.
Michael J. McCarthy, president of Riparius Corp. of Timonium, said his company's Riparius Construction Inc. unit is scheduled to build the first phase of the Time Warner com plex by next June.