Jasper's to lease Pimlico space Washington firm signs 15-year lease for site.

Commercial real estate

December 11, 1991|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Evening Sun Staff

One month after the famed Pimlico Restaurant closed its doors permanently, ending more than 50 years of operation, its landlords at the Commercentre office and retail complex near Owings Mills have landed a well-known replacement.

Jasper's, a popular Washington-area restaurant with outlets in Greenbelt and Crofton, last week signed a 15-year lease for the 17,200-square-foot Pimlico Restaurant space. When it opens next spring, Jasper's will be the largest of 15 retailers in the 9-year-old Commercentre development at 1777 Reisterstown Road near Owings Mills.

Robert Aumiller, executive vice president of MacKenzie & Associates, the company that handles management and leasing of Commercentre, said the restaurant will be the first Baltimore-area outlet for Jasper's and will help fill a need for medium-priced dining in the Pikesville-Owings Mills area.

"We are extremely pleased and fortunate to have found a restaurant with the successful track record of Jasper's to replace the Pimlico operation," he said. "When you think about it, there aren't that many medium-priced restaurants in the corridor. They see a real opportunity to reach the middle market."

The Pimlico restaurant closed Nov. 3, after the owner, Al Davis, decided to sell his business. It had moved to Commercentre from the intersection of Park Heights and Hayward avenues in 1984.

Known for a menu that spans 30 pages and multi-level seating with a variety of decorated alcoves, Jasper's is a high-volume restaurant that features everything from hamburgers to "surf and turf," but mostly medium-priced fare.

Its average check is less than $12 -- far lower than the average check at the Pimlico. Earlier this year, Jasper's won the 1991 "People's Choice" restaurant award from Washingtonian magazine.

Fred Rosenthal, one of the owners of Jasper's, said his group technically bought the restaurant and catering business from Davis and negotiated a new lease with the owners of Commercentre. He said he was looking for place to open in the Baltimore area and found the Commercentre spot to be ideal. "It's seconds off the Beltway and visible from the street. And the building has a tremendous amount of promise."

Rosenthal said that in addition to converting the restaurant to a Jasper's, his group will operate the on-premises catering business that Davis had, and will continue to call it Pimlico Caterers.

Built in 1982, the 158,000-square-foot Commercentre complex is 90 percent leased. Other tenants include Legg Mason Wood Walker, Signet Bank, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Merrill Lynch Realty. Aumiller and Rosenthal said renovation work will begin early next year and the new restaurant will open by April or May.

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Maryland's Legal Aid Bureau has launched a $2 million capital campaign to help pay for construction of a 58,000-square-foot headquarters building planned for the northeast corner of Lexington and Gay streets in Baltimore. Honorary co-chairmen for the Capital Committee are Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Walter Sondheim Jr., a senior adviser to the Greater Baltimore Committee. Hord Coplan Macht is the architect for the five-story building.

Other capital committee members are attorneys George Beall; J. Paul Bright Jr.; Marvin Ellin; James R. Eyler; Roger K. Garfink; Louise T. Keelty; William J. McCarthy; Theodore Miller; M. Peter Moser; Charles E. Partridge Jr.; George Russell Jr.; Ronald Shapiro; and Thomas J. S. Waxter Jr. Also on the committee are James J. Nolan Jr., president of the Legal Aid Bureau board, and Charles Dorsey, executive director of the Legal Aid Bureau.

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Around the region:

* Mayor Schmoke joined Continental Foods chairman and owner John Guerriero and president Joseph Abramson yesterday to break ground for a $2.5 million, 32,000-square-foot expansion of the distributor's 188,000-square-foot facility at 2730 Wilmarco Avenue, near Caton Avenue and Interstate 95. Over the past 60 years, the company has grown from a small retail grocery store on Chester Street in East Baltimore to a 200,000-square-foot distribution center with 160 employees. The addition was added to accommodate the business's growing frozen-food area.

* The Johns Hopkins University's School of Continuing Studies plans to expand its Columbia Center by leasing 20,000 square feet of space inside a 52,061-square-foot building that the Manekin Corp. plans to construct in the Columbia Gateway Business Park. Hopkins leases space at Columbia's Overlook Center and will vacate that space when the new facility is complete in mid-1992. A lease-signing ceremony with Howard County Executive Charles Ecker has been set for tomorrow.

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