Office park project begins; Building in Odenton to be ready next year; Booz/Allen main lessee


Riding a wave of heightened tenant interest in suburban office projects, a Columbia real estate invest- ment trust has begun work on a four-story building in Anne Arundel County and acquired four other buildings.

Corporate Office Properties Trust's decision to move forward with a 93,000-square-foot office project in the National Business Park in Odenton stems in part from a major lease with Booz/Allen & Hamilton Inc. The consulting firm will occupy slightly more than three-quarters of the 134 National Business Park project.

The $12 million building is scheduled for completion in the middle of next year.

"Booz/Allen & Hamilton represents a stable and highly recognizable lead tenant," said Randall M. Griffin, Corporate Office Properties' president and chief operating officer.

"The leasing momentum for office space in the Baltimore/Washington corridor continues to be extremely strong, and with our available acreage at National Business Park, we are well positioned to construct additional office buildings to meet both our existing and new tenant demand," Griffin added.

With the new project, Corporate Office Properties will control 665,000 square feet in National Business Park, a 175-acre business hub begun in 1990. Ninety-seven percent of the space in the park is occupied. The REIT also has options to develop the park's remaining 77 acres.

Additionally, the REIT is adding to its 4.8 million-square-foot portfolio through acquisitions.

Corporate Office Properties paid $12.2 million in mostly common and preferred stock for a three-story, 87,000-square-foot office project completed last month. The building was completed late last year by Constellation Real Estate Group Inc., a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. subsidiary that merged with Corporate Office Properties in a $203 million deal in September.

As part of the merger, Constellation contributed 18 office and retail projects totaling 1.8 million square feet to Corporate Office Properties, and BGE became the REIT's largest shareholder, at 41 percent.

The trust has also invested roughly $18.5 million to acquire three office buildings and a parcel of land in Columbia, developed by Manekin Corp. The Gateway Crossing 95 buildings, completed between 1988 and 1994, will add 150,000 square feet of office space to the REIT's portfolio.

"It's a market we like a lot," Clay W. Hamlin III, the company's chief executive officer, said of Columbia. "The job growth there and the demographics are solid, and the Manekin properties are high-quality assets."

Pub Date: 1/06/99

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