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Real Estate Weekly: Social Security Administration planning new data center

Leases, news and notes from Maryland's commercial real estate industry

The Social Security Administration plans to build a 300,000-square-foot national data center in either Frederick County or Baltimore County, according to Maryland’s two U.S. senators.

Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, both Democrats, announced that the center and its 250 jobs will go to either Urbana, south of Frederick along Interstate 270, or Woodlawn, located just west of Baltimore along Interstate 70. Mikulski said the General Services Administration is overseeing an environmental assessment of the center’s potential impact on surrounding communities, and is accepting public comments through Sept. 1.

The facility, funded with economic stimulus money, is expected to be completed by October 2013.

Partners obtain Bethesda federal office building in auction
A joint venture composed of Washington, D.C. commercial real estate developer Akridge and Rockwood Capital LLC, a White Plains, N.Y.-based private equity firm, captured the prize in a unique online auction of a vacated federal office building in downtown Bethesda.

After two rounds of competitive bidding that officially began on April 30th, the partnership’s closing offer of $12.5 million was accepted last week by the U.S. General Services Administration. The building at 7550 Wisconsin Ave. is a 10-story, 120,000-square-foot facility with two levels of below-grade parking that was formerly occupied by the National Institutes of Health.

The all-cash, as-is sale will close by the end of September.

New Harris Teeter underway in Olney
KBE Building Corp., a Farmington, Conn.-based commercial construction company with a regional office in Columbia, said it has started construction of a new Harris Teeter supermarket in Olney.

The 51,157-square-foot store will replace a former grocery store in the Olney Town Center, which is currently undergoing a full renovation.

KBE is responsible for the construction management of the new store and will coordinate with the concurrent work on the rest of the shopping center. The supermarket will incorporate many sustainable design features and will be constructed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certification standards.

Construction is expected to take 252 days. KBE recently completed a new Harris Teeter store in the Park Potomac Shopping Center in Potomac.

Pasadena shopping center slated for revamp

The Hampshire Real Estate Cos., a Morristown, N.J.-based, full?service, private real estate investment firm, said it has started construction and renovations at Pasadena Crossroads Shopping Center in Pasadena.

The 320,000-square-foot property at the intersection of Governor Ritchie Highway (MD Route 2) and Jumpers Hole Road is 100 percent leased. Work includes the demolition of a fast food building and a former theater as well as the reconfiguration of the parking lot, new lighting and landscaping.

The renovations are taking place in connection with the addition of a new 40,000-square-foot LA Fitness facility scheduled to open in early spring of 2011, and a new 4,300-square-foot Chick-Fil-A Restaurant with a drive-thru that is scheduled to open in late fall of this year. Additional updates to the property include the recent renovation of the Shopper’s Supermarket, which reopened in May.

Major tenants at the center are Babies-R-Us, Kmart, Gardiner’s Furniture, J&H Party City and Rugged Wearhouse.

This Week in Leases:

  • Helmsman Property Services Inc. leased 2,000 square feet of office space in the historic Rockland Gristmill in Brooklandville. Kyle Durkee of Cushman & Wakefield’s Baltimore office represented the landlord, Rockland Investments, in the transaction. The historic stone building in a private, wooded setting is located at 2201 Old Court Road. It was originally built circa 1812 and renovated in the 1970s as an office complex.
  • SMARTBOX Portable Storage has signed a 53,100-square-foot warehouse with office lease in the Savage Industrial Park at 9425 U.S. Route 1 in Laurel. Kyle Durkee, associate director with Cushman & Wakefield’s Baltimore office, represented the tenant. The landlord, Merritt Properties, was represented in-house by Stephen Shaw, Ridgely Bowman, Vince Bagli and Jamie Campbell.
  • Chicago Title, a provider of title insurance, escrow and other services, leaded 6,400 square feet of office space at One North Charles Street, and has relocated its Baltimore office to the downtown building from its former quarters at 19 E. Fayette St. Terri Harrington, vice president at MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services LLC, represented the landlord, The Buccini/Pollin Group, in the transaction. One North Charles Street is a 25-story, landmark office building that was built in 1963 by oil company executive Jacob Blaustein. It recently was given a $5 million renovation that included a state-of-the-art security system.