Industrial Park Goes With Or Without Town Center

October 22, 1990|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff writer

Newly enacted limits on Odenton's commercial development won't stop one builder from turning some dirt.

And another developer's threats to scrap plans for an Odenton Town Center and pull out of a train station deal won't derail The Cafritz Group's plans, either.

At a time when new office buildings in Anne Arundel County stand only partially leased, Cafritz, a Washington-based developer, will break ground this week on the first phase of its $100 million Arundel Crossing industrial park.

No one at the Cafritz Group, which owns 183 acres east and west of Route 170 near Route 175, seems worried about the sluggish market.

"We're not building office buildings," said Chris Steuart, a partner with Steuart Development Co., hired by Cafritz to jointly develop the industrial park. "We're building service buildings and warehouses. These markets are fairly stable. There's a lack of this type of space in Odenton and no competition for this type of space."

The developers need no revisions to comply with new growth controls for the 218-acre Town Center, at the intersection of route 175 and 32, and periphery, where Arundel Crossing will be built, Steuart said.

The County Council passed a growth-control law last Monday that will reduce density, require developers to reserve one quarter of lots as green space and limit building heights to eight stories in the Town Center and four stories in the outskirts.

An attempt failed to delay those restrictions for six months so the Halle Co., developer of the 4,700-home Seven Oaks community near Town Center, could strike a deal with the state for a MARC train station there.

Halle had offered to donate six acres for the train station and build three ramps onto Route 32. In exchange, the state would buy 32 acres along Route 32 for $12.5 million.

After the council passed the bill, the developer withdrew offers to upgrade roads and donate land for a MARC station. And Stephen N.

Fleischman, vice president of Halle, said residents who move into three proposed major developments -- including Seven Oaks -- may never get their new shopping malls, hotels and cinemas.

While the development of Town Center and an Odenton train station could only help Arundel Crossing, the loss of either wouldn't mean any change in development strategy, Steuart said.

"As an industrial developer, we're more interested in access, good roads, a good labor force and attractive development," he said. "We would like to see a town center development proceed. It could help us. But whether a town center is developed with high-rise buildings or not won't affect us. And our location is such that if a MARC station is built, our employees would still have to take a long walk or get in a car."

Cafritz already has met stringent requirements for wetlands and setbacks from roads.

"All the things spelled out in the bill have been addressed," Steuart said.

On Wednesday, construction will start on phase one of the $32 million Arundel Crossing West, a 63-acre, 13-building complex west of Route 170.

The two retail/service buildings and a warehouse totaling 125,000 square feet should be finished next spring, Steuart said.

Though no potential tenants have approached the developer, Stuart expects to have the single-story brick buildings fully leased a year after they open.

The building planned for the front of the properties will have a glass facade. It could house retail establishments such as a restaurant, a copy shop, government offices, a post office, dry cleaners, a convenience store, an automotive parts store, a home improvement store and a card and gift shop.

The second building is earmarked for service businesses such as carpets, drapes, wallpaper and custom cabinet shops. A warehouse toward the back of the property most likely would house contractors, distributors and repair shops.

The developers plan either two or three more phases, depending on the market, Steuart said.

As part of the work, Cafritz will upgrade Route 170 to four lanes from routes 175 to 32.

Steuart said work will begin on Arundel Crossing East, 120 acres east of Route 170, within the next seven years.

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