Complex adds four new tenants Towson Commons more than 50% full

September 21, 1992|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

The Towson Commons mixed-use complex in the center of Baltimore County's seat has lined up four new tenants, who will push occupancy at the $70 million complex above 50 percent for the first time since opening earlier this year.

VIPS Inc., a Towson software firm, will move into 60,000 square feet of Towson Commons' 190,000-square-foot office building next year. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. has also leased 13,000 square feet of office space at the complex and will move a group of in-house attorneys from Columbia.

They will be joined by two retail outlets, Mick's restaurant and Basset Book Shop, which will open in October and November. Both Basset and Mick's will front on the York Road side of the complex.

"The project is doing extremely well, exceeding targeted leasing schedules," said Lynne Watson, vice president of LaSalle Partners, the Chicago-based lead developer of Towson Commons.

Mick's is a casual-format, sit-down restaurant aimed partly at the family market. Basset Book Shop, which will rent three store slots, is a division of Waldenbooks that carries a much larger selection than a conventional Waldenbooks. Basset also sells foreign newspapers and its store will include an in-store cafe.

"Basset Book Shop will be more than a very big book store," said Charles R. Cumello, president of Waldenbooks, a unit of Kmart Corp. "It will be a neighborhood community center within a bookstore."

Gregory J. Arnold, another LaSalle vice president who is the on-site manager for Towson Commons, said the leases bring occupancy at Towson Commons' eight-story office tower, known as One West Pennsylvania, to 57 percent.

Jeffrey B. Samet, a vice president of W. C. Pinkard & Co. who tracks the local market, said the Bassett lease is one of the biggest suburban leases of the year. By far the biggest was the Army Corps of Engineers' agreement to lease about 240,000 square feet in Anne Arundel County for the National Security Agency.

Mick's will fill the fourth of Towson Commons' five restaurant slots and Basset will bring total occupancy in the complex's retail space, including a food court and eight movie theaters, to about 75 percent.

VIPS is not scheduled to move to Towson Commons from 515 Fairmount Ave. in Towson until next year.

Towson Commons' first tenant opened for business in April. Before opening, the project had to overcome stout resistance from opponents living nearby who said it would be so big it would overshadow buildings on the other side of York Road. The neighbors' appeals delayed county approval of Towson Commons for more than a year.

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