Manekin Corp., one of Baltimore's largest developers, has agreed to assume management of nearly 1 million square feet of commercial real estate in Montgomery County and Northern Virginia that California-based Lee Sammis Associates previously controlled.
The agreement, which takes effect July 1, will give Manekin a much larger presence in the Baltimore-Washington region, especially Northern Virginia. It is also part of a trend in which developers are diversifying during the economic downturn by managing assets for others as well as developing properties for themselves.
Manekin will manage 14 buildings in nine business parks, including Crown Pointe Corporate Center in Gaithersburg; Gateway 270 Business Center in Clarksburg; and Dulles Technology Center and Dulles International Centre, both in Herndon, Va.
The properties were developed by Copley Real Estate Advisors, an affiliate of New England Mutual Life Insurance Co., in a joint venture with Sammis. When Sammis decided to concentrate on some of its other holdings, Copley turned to Manekin, with which it has worked closely in the past.
"This gives us a major presence in Northern Virginia," said Senior Vice President Robert A. Manekin. In addition to the existing 934,149 square feet, which have an estimated value of $144.5 million and are 88 percent leased, the portfolio includes another 360 acres that can support another 6 million square feet of space, he said.
Manekin presently controls 4.5 million square feet of commercial space worth about $400 million.
Sammis will remain a partner in the Copley portfolio but will relinquish all day-to-day management and development activities to Manekin. Manekin will be paid a fee for managing the Copley portfolio and is negotiating an arrangement by which it will get cash, equity or a combination of both as incentives for continuing development.
Mr. Manekin said his firm expects to absorb 21 Sammis employees into its payroll when it takes over the properties later this year.