T. Rowe Price to expand

The Baltimore Sun

T. Rowe Price Group Inc., Baltimore County's largest private employer, has received approval for a major expansion of its office park in Owings Mills.

The company, which has scheduled a "major announcement" for tomorrow at its Owings Mills facility, has filed plans to build two five-story office buildings on the 416-acre campus. The project would also add two parking garages with more than 1,300 spaces, according to drawings filed with county planners.

A company spokesman declined yesterday to discuss the planned announcement. The county planning office approved the construction plans late last month.

The project would add nearly 404,000 square feet of office space. The two office buildings would be built near McDonogh Road in the southwestern portion of the company's campus.

The company already employs about 2,600 on the campus - slightly more than half of its work force worldwide.

Company officials have said there are no plans to move its headquarters from the city. The lease on that East Pratt Street property does not expire until 2017, and the company has said it plans to renovate those headquarters.

T. Rowe Price has expanded rapidly, as the assets it manages on behalf of clients nearly doubled over the past three years to $380 billion. With the influx of money from clients, the company has had to build out its infrastructure to handle the extra business.

It also has been on a hiring spree, expanding to nearly 4,900 employees, up more than 20 percent in three years.

"If they are going to maintain that growth, they are going to have to do a measure of capital expansion," said Andrew Richards, an analyst at Morningstar Inc., the Chicago financial services firm.

T. Rowe Price has said in regulatory filings that it is planning $145 million in capital expenditures this year, which includes the renovations to its Baltimore headquarters and a new customer-service call center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

T. Rowe Price houses its operating and servicing facilities in suburban campuses in Colorado Springs and in Owings Mills.

"We are doubling the size of our Colorado Springs facilities by adding a second building that we expect to occupy in early 2008," the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "Acreage that we own on which our campus facilities are located will accommodate additional future development."

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. is to attend the announcement tomorrow. A spokesman for the county executive said he was not prepared to comment on the announcement or the project.

Fronda J. Cohen, a spokeswoman for the county economic development department, also would not comment on the announcement.

Cohen said she is not aware of any applications by T. Rowe Price for financial incentives from the county's economic development office.

A spokesman for T. Rowe Price said yesterday that he would not discuss the nature of the announcement or the expansion plans outlined in county records.

"We have no comment except to say we'll answer all your questions at the press conference on Friday," said the spokesman, Robert Benjamin.

josh.mitchell@baltsun.com laura.smitherman@baltsun.com

Because of inaccurate information provided by Baltimore County economic development officials, an article in Thursday's Business section on T. Rowe Price Group Inc.'s planned expansion of its Owings Mills campus incorrectly stated that the company is the largest private employer in the county. T. Rowe Price would become the county's largest private employer after its expansion, officials said.The Sun regrets the error.
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