Accounting firm first to sign up for office tower at 500 E. Pratt

Reznick Fedder & Silverman, an accounting firm in the Mercantile Bankshares Corp. building, plans to move into the new office tower at 500 E. Pratt St. by year's end, officials said yesterday.

The firm, in Mercantile's 21-story building at 2 Hopkins Plaza, is the first tenant to sign a letter of intent for space in the 279,000-square-foot office building developed by Trammell Crow Co. that overlooks the Inner Harbor.


"We wanted to get the most appealing space we could for our staff," said Bill Riley, principal in charge at Reznick. "We're very excited about it. We think it's great for our company and great for our staff."

A lease is expected to be signed within days for 3 1/2 floors in the 12-story, blue glass office tower, which is to open in September.


"We are negotiating with other tenants now," said T. Courtenay Jenkins III, a senior vice president at Trammell Crow. "We have enough interest to fill the building now, if we're successful with all of them."

Reznick, based in Bethesda, is expanding and expects its Baltimore work force of 170 to grow to as many as 210 by the time the local office relocates, Riley said. The company's name will be displayed prominently on the building, he said.

Reznick would be the lead tenant, occupying 70,000 square feet of space in the tower.

"It's what we've been waiting for," said Jenkins of Trammell Crow. "Fortunately, it happened before we even opened."

The building is next to the Lockwood Place project at the corner of Pratt Street and Market Place. That project, being developed by David S. Brown Enterprises Ltd. and A&R; Development Corp., would bring a skyscraper rivaling some of Baltimore's tallest buildings along with an upscale hotel, luxury apartments and retail and meeting space.

Reznick executives spent three months searching for new office space. The firm considered two locations downtown and one in Brewer's Hill in Southeast Baltimore, Riley said.

Initially, they had opened the search process to a larger area, but they never really considered moving out of downtown, Riley said.

"This has been a quick process," he said. "That limited our choices and limited the market that could serve us. We consider ourselves very lucky."