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ASR Group inks Howard County’s ‘largest new deal’ since 2009

(The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

(The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

ASR Group has inked a lease for 305,769 square feet of space at the Mid-Atlantic Commerce Center, which is the largest new deal in Howard County Since 2009, according to JLL.

ASR Group, which includes Domino Sugar, C&H Sugar, and Redpath Sugar, rented space at Mid-Atlantic Commerce Center at 7600 Assateague Drive in Jessup. The company will occupy nearly 36 percent of the redevelopment by private commercial real estate investment firm Manekin Corp. and real estate investment services company AEW Capital Management.

“We’re delighted to welcome ASR Group to Mid-Atlantic Commerce Center. They valued the quality of our investment to reinvigorate this property, and we look forward to being a part of their story for years to come,” Richard Alter, president and CEO of Manekin Corp., said in a statement announcing the deal Friday.

Domino Sugar

A Domino Sugar employee at its Baltimore plant feeds paper used to make one-pound sugar bags in 2014. (The Daily Record)

ASR Group will occupy temporary space at Mid-Atlantic Commerce Center immediately, according to JLL. The company will move into its new space in the 60-acre 853,520-square-foot development in March.

Since purchasing the Class A asset in 2017, Columbia-based Manekin Corp. and AEW Capital Management have invested in upgrades including a new roof, fresh skin and modern dock doors, lighting, and fire protection systems.

Ben Meisels, managing director at JLL, represented the tenant in the deal. Mark G.Levy, Dave Dannenfelser, and Tyler Boykin, also of JLL, represented the landlord in the transaction.

“ASR recognized the opportunity at the building,” Meisels said.

The industrial sector remains the region’s strongest performing commercial real estate asset type.

Baltimore’s metro area industrial market reached its lowest vacancy mark on record earlier this year, according to a third quarter report from commercial real estate service firm CBRE.

Between July and September alone the area that includes Howard County absorbed 1.6 million square feet of space, pushing year to date totals to 3.5 million square feet, and outpacing the 10-year annual average volume of 2 million square feet.

Vacancy in the sector dropped to a record low of 6.7 percent, and asking rents increased 14 cents from the previous quarter to $6.23 per square foot.

Large warehouse users, according to CBRE, in eastern Baltimore, Harford and Cecil counties served as the primary drivers of demand in the third quarter. Ecommerce, retail fulfillment and third-party logistics ranked among the most active tenants.

Matt Laraway (provided photo)

Matt Laraway (provided photo)

Intense demand has sparked a “robust” amount of speculative building. Through the first nine months of2018 roughly 2.8 million square feet of speculative building delivered with an additional 6 million square feet anticipated to arrive by the end of the year.

Matthew Laraway, of Chesapeake Real Estate Group, one of the largest industrial developers in the region, earlier this fall said the market remains “as hot as we’ve seen it in recent memory” with room to grow.

“I don’t feel that we are at a point where we’re going to over build. I think the market… has been fairly responsible on meeting what the demand is,” Laraway said during a September interview.

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