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General Physics to move to another Columbia site


General Physics Corp. plans to relocate and shrink its headquarters within Columbia by September, a shift the company expects will save $1 million annually.

The nuclear and environmental engineering firm's new offices in the Columbia Overlook building will be roughly one-half as large as its current headquarters.

General Physics recently eliminated jobs because of a reduction in its core nuclear energy business and the sale of some subsidiaries.

The space reduction was also made possible by cuts in administrative staff after the absorption of GPS Technologies Inc., a subsidiary that was spun off in 1991 but reacquired in August 1994.

"The market has driven us to see nuclear energy as a less significant part of our future business, but we aren't abandoning it," said John C. McAuliffe, General Physics' chief operating officer.

With GPS Technologies again under its corporate wing, General Physics last year nearly doubled its net income, to $1.1 million, on revenue of $78.9 million, and reported similar gains in the first quarter of 1995.

About 200 General Physics employees will make the move to the new space, Mr. McAuliffe said, and no layoffs will result.

Principal Mutual Life Insurance Co., building's owner, intends to rename the 69,000-square-foot building the General Physics Building.

"This building provided us with the best opportunity to meet all of our goals, one of which was to stay in Columbia," Mr. McAuliffe said. The company's 32,000-square-foot lease in the four-story building through 2000 has an estimated value in excess of $2.5 million. General Physics will occupy virtually all the available space in the 13-year-old building.

"We've positioned the building to accommodate and attract a signature type of tenant by preserving a large contiguous block of space," said L. Jamie Smith, the Colliers Pinkard vice president representing the 5457 Twin Knolls Road building.

Since 1988, General Physics' headquarters has fully occupied a four-story, 78,000-square-foot project in the Manekin Corp.'s six-building Gateway Crossing 95 business park.

"Because there are no large blocks of office space in Columbia, I'm remarkably confident that we'll be able to turn this vacancy into a tenancy," said Donald Manekin, senior vice president at Manekin.

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