Aero-Tek buys Anne Arundel office building Penn Mutual sells Dorsey facility for $5.2 million


Aero-Tek Inc. has purchased a vacant five-story office building in Anne Arundel County, where by March the technical services firm will house its growing headquarters operation.

The $5.2 million purchase of the 104,000-square-foot building, in the Dorsey section of the county, represents one of the largest suburban commercial office sales of the year.

As part of the sale, owner Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. had made $1.2 million in improvements to the 7301 Parkway Drive project. The Pennsylvania-based insurer had assumed control of the building through a $4.6 million deed in lieu of foreclosure in April 1993, after Westinghouse Corp. vacated in favor of a $55 million project nearby.

"The trading of this property was a win-win situation for both parties," said L. Jamie Smith, a Colliers Pinkard vice president and principal who represented the seller. "Penn Mutual was able to reposition a major asset, added value to it and recaptured a major portion of its initial investment. For Aero-Tek, they acquired a valuable building at 50 percent of its replacement cost."

The privately held Aero-Tek, which provides contract engineers and other technical expertise to the aerospace, automotive, defense and telecommunications industries, plans to move 200 employees to the 9-year-old building from a nearby location in Elkridge, Howard County.

"We're a growing business," said a top Aero-Tek principal, who asked not to be named. "The location of the building was good, and because the previous owner had undertaken a capital improvement program, it represented a good opportunity."

As part of the $1.2 million capital improvement plan, Penn Mutual directed Colliers Pinkard to add 115 parking spaces, a two-level atrium lobby, as well as new landscaping and lighting.

The five-story building was completed on a speculative basis in 1987 by the Douglas Legum Development Co., as part of the 65-acre Parkway Industrial Center II. It then was quickly leased by Westinghouse.

At the time, Penn Mutual had lent Legum $8.35 million, according to court records.

Aero-Tek's purchase comes on the heels of news this week that the National Security Agency plans to vacate four Anne Arundel County office buildings near the Baltimore-Washington International Airport by July, raising the BWI market's vacancy rate by nearly 10 percent.

"It's nice to see such a large block of office space removed from the market," said Michael Lofton, chief executive officer of the

Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp.

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