Averza's bid appears lowest on city garageBaltimore has an...


September 02, 1992|By Timothy J. Mullaney

Averza's bid appears lowest on city garage

Baltimore has an apparent winner in the competition to build a 550-space parking garage just south of Penn Station, but Joseph Averza & Sons Inc. of Baltimore will have to wait awhile to find out whether it will get the job.

Averza offered to do the work for $9.14 million, the lowest of four bidders, said Harry McCullough, a consultant to the city who is retired from the city Department of Transportation. Averza cut about $740,000 off a bid it submitted for the work in April, Mr. McCullough said .

The city originally bid the job in April, and Omni Construction of Bethesda was the apparent low bidder, at $9.17 million. Mr. McCullough said the job was rebid because of complaints from other bidders about the process and because of uncertain funding.

The city's Board of Estimates will be asked to approve a deal with Averza after the city OKs the company's plan for including businesses owned by minorities and women in the work and after verifying that expected money is in place, Mr. McCullough said.

The two-level garage could open in late 1993 or early 1994.

Law firm moves to Commerce Place

It's not a really big light, but it has been a really dark tunnel.

The law firm of Kramon & Graham P.A. has decided to move to Commerce Place, the soon-to-be-finished office building at Redwood and South streets whose leasing has been hampered by its location near The Block and hammered by the recession.

"We're done, it's a deal, and we're going," even though the lease hasn't been signed, said James M. Kramon, managing partner of the firm.

In December, Kramon & Graham will move out of the Sun Life Building at 20 S. Charles St., where the firm has been since 1975. It will rent the 19,000-square-foot 26th floor of Commerce Place.

Commerce Place is slightly more than 25 percent leased. Architecture firm RTKL Associates Inc., the only other tenant, is trying to renegotiate its 1989 deal so it can take less space when the building opens. The 450,000-square-foot building cost a reported $90 million.

Mr. Kramon said his firm's new space is not space formerly committed to RTKL, which repeatedly has denied rumors that it is trying to sublet its space at Commerce Place. The law firm, however, is no stranger to the building's developers, led by New York-based Harlan Co.: Kramon & Graham handled legal work related to the land acquisition for Commerce Place, Mr. Kramon said.

Kramon & Graham is moving partly because its 16 lawyers could no longer fit comfortably on one floor of the Sun Life building, he said. Commerce Place can accommodate the firm on one floor.

"We like the location," he said. "We recognize that the north side is The Block, but the building opens at Redwood and South, which is a beautiful corner."

He wouldn't say how much rent the firm will pay, noting only that it's a tenants' market that allows tenants "to go into buildings that might be economically questionable for them under other circumstances."

Meeting, fitness unit added to 100 E. Pratt

You have to spend money to make money. That's a fact the recession has brought home squarely to the developers of 100 E. Pratt St.

The addition to 100 E. Pratt, which broker/manager W. C. Pinkard & Co. likes to stress is the formal name of the IBM-T. Rowe Price building, needed a boost after opening last November in the teeth of the office downturn. It may get it in the form of the new million-dollar conference and fitness center on the building's 12th floor.

But Pinkard contends the recession isn't the whole reason the fitness center was added.

"The real issue was, this building is very different," said Walter D. Pinkard Jr., president of W. C. Pinkard & Co. "The service level needed to be different also."

The 7,000-square-foot fitness center concentrates on aerobic machines, such as stationary bikes, treadmills and rowing machines, plus free weights and an aerobics studio. The 3,000-square-foot conference center has four rooms, with capacities from 15 to 80.

L. Bruce Matthai, the Pinkard broker overseeing the listing, said the price of memberships for building tenants will be about 25 percent of the cost of joining a private health club.

The addition is about 55 percent occupied, he said.

KMS Group may sell Arundel office tower

Now that KMS Group Inc. has finally landed a tenant for its 12-story tower at One National Business Park, could the Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. unit be looking to sell the Anne Arundel County property? Maybe.

One broker working with a potential buyer (or at least a tire-kicker) says it's on the block, and the company said it's willing to entertain offers.

"We're not actively marketing the property," KMS spokesman Larry Lichtenauer said.

"With the lease out there, people were approaching us about buying it, but I don't expect it to happen."

"The lease" is the deal KMS reached this summer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which rented the entire building on behalf of the National Security Agency.

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