Office construction fell in 1990 vacancy rate down

COMMERCIAL REALTY NOTES

January 02, 1991|By Edward Gunts

Office construction in the Baltimore area dropped 59 percent in 1990 from its pace the previous year, but the office vacancy rate dropped slightly, to 16.6 percent at the end of 1990 from 16.8 percent in 1989, according to W. C. Pinkard & Co. The vacancy rate for Class A space in downtown Baltimore dropped from 14.5 percent at the end of 1989 to 11.4 percent at the end of 1990.

In its year-end office leasing roundup, Pinkard identified two markets as being particularly note worthy for their growth or lack of it:

* The Owings Mills/Rutherford market continued its emergence as a major corporate center in 1990, as T. Rowe Price Associates completed the move of its financial operations center from downtown Baltimore to Owings Mills. The past 12 months marked the second consecutive year that this market, also called the Suburban West market, had the highest absorption rate in Baltimore -- that is, the highest rate of leased space. According to Pinkard, it accounted for 35 percent of the office space absorption, even though it constitutes just 8 percent of the Baltimore market in terms of its size.

* By contrast, the BWI or Suburban South area contains 10 percent of the total square footage in the Baltimore market but had less than 1 percent of the absorption, according to Pinkard. Its study showed that 870,000 square feet of space has been added to the Suburban South market over the past two years but that only 200,000 square feet has been absorbed. Pinkard cited the contraction of the area's defense and national-security companies for the weak leasing performance.

Every market other than the Suburban South market had more space absorbed in 1990 than was built, even though the amount of space absorbed was down from the similar amounts in 1989, Pinkard said. The weak market is expected to persist in 1991, according to the Pinkard report. "There will be fewer transactions in light of general economic conditions, and there will be a premium on tenant retention and service," the reports said.

*

Nineteen groups responded to the Baltimore Economic Development Corp.'s recent request for proposals from design and economic-feasibility specialists interested in advising the agency on ways that the Memorial Stadium site on 33rd Street might be redeveloped and what kinds of proposals the city ought to seek from developers for that property.

According to BEDCO, bidders included groups headed by Legg Mason Realty Group (with RTKL Associates); G/A Partners and Arthur Andersen; K. S. Sweet Associates; Wallace Roberts Todd; Hellmuth Obata Kassabaum; Hammer, Siler, George Associates; ZHA Inc.; Whitman Requardt & Associates; Cochran Stephenson Donkervoet Inc.; Lee Organization; Kidde Consultants; Shull Architects Inc.; Halcyon Limited, and a joint venture of Hord Coplan Macht and the Shelter Can-American Group. A decision is expected in the next few months.

*

Around the region:

* Howard County's Department of Recreation and Parks recently purchased a former Ryland Homes plant in Columbia for $1.945 million. The county acquired a 25,000-square-foot plant and two bTC smaller storage buildings on 7.46 acres at 7120 Oakland Mills Road for use as a maintenance facility for vehicles and equipment.

Ryland once manufactured components for prefabricated houses but moved out when the operation was consolidated with another plant. Chuck Franklin, Todd Morrill and Bob Smith of Kayne Levin Neilson Bavar Realtors represented the buyer and the seller.

* Valley Mede Shopping Center, an 18,500-square-foot retail center in Ellicott City, opened for business recently with all seven retail spaces leased. Tenants include Blockbuster Video, American National Savings Association, Mattress Discounters, Kitchen Witch, Sports Corner, The Giving Tree and a dry cleaner. Kayne Levin Neilson Bavar Realtors was the contract developer and exclusive leasing broker for the shopping center. Salvatore Caltabiano is the land owner.

* Harriett Stein, a business management and communications consultant, renewed her lease of 1,100 square feet at the Chesapeake Building in Towson. Douglas Brinkley of W. C. Pinkard & Co. Inc. negotiated the transaction.

* Museum & Archives renewed its lease of 1,500 square feet at Grosvenor Century Plaza in Columbia. Cardan Travel renewed its lease of 821 square feet at the same location. Robert D. Vaeth of W. C. Pinkard & Co. negotiated the transaction.

* Gerd. H. Petrich, a dentist, purchased a 2,500-square-foot office building at 219 W. Joppa Road in Towson. William E. Lippincott of Latshaw Commercial Properties represented Dunkirk Management, the seller, and Joseph F. Cox of Latshaw represented the buyer.

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