Rockville firm to lease Columbia warehouseA Rockville...

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

August 25, 1993|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

Rockville firm to lease Columbia warehouse

A Rockville company that plays a key role in the U.S. government's anti-drug campaign has signed up for one of the area's biggest warehouse deals of the year, agreeing to lease more than 113,000 square feet at the Guilford Industrial Park in Columbia.

The six-year deal between Social and Health Services Ltd. and landlord Emory Hill Investments could be worth as much as $1.8 million, said Michael A. Elardo, a Columbia-based broker for W. C. Pinkard & Co. who represented the tenant.

"It's in the top five [corridor warehouse deals] -- no doubt about it," he said.

The new tenant designs and distributes posters, fliers and other anti-drug literature under a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to serve as a national clearinghouse for alcohol and drug information, Mr. Elardo said.

The move to bigger quarters came after the company landed a deal to perform similar services about cancer prevention for the National Cancer Institute.

"Essentially, this is like a big mail house to send this [literature] all over the country," Mr. Elardo said.

Social and Health Services is leaving a 60,000-square-foot space in the Corridor Industrial Park in Savage. The move is not as costly as it could have been, Mr. Elardo says, because the rent per square foot at the new location is lower than it was in Savage.

Custom Bank to sell property in Towson

The owner of the former Custom Savings Bank, having abandoned a plan to build a headquarters building for the thrift in Towson, is marketing the .83-acre site on Joppa Road.

CB Commercial Real Estate Services Inc. lists the property for $750,000, well below the $1.25 million the S&L paid at a 1986 auction for the site, which is across the street from Towson Town Center.

Custom agreed to sell its deposits but not its assets to Household Bank earlier this year.

"It's a tough sale because of the economy," said George Quinn, one of two CB Commercial brokers on the listing. But, he added, "It's probably the last great development site inside the Beltway" in Towson.

The failed headquarters bid marked a rare foray into real estate for Custom. The S&L, while it was independent, was known for plowing its deposits into mortgage securities rather than making loans or direct real estate investments.

It was consistently rated as one of the safest thrifts in America.

The site's chief selling point is its "business major-town center" zoning, which allows high density construction, says Gail Chrzan, the other broker working the listing. The owners from whom Custom bought the property once hoped to build 80,000 square feet of offices.

But in today's depressed office market, Ms. Chrzan says, the site would be good for a small apartment building, a bank branch or doctors' offices.

Westview Mall has some new tenants

Westview Mall this week announced a slew of new tenants who bring occupancy at the shopping center to 95 percent.

The 662,000-square-foot mall says the new shops will carry clothing, consumer electronics, greeting cards and more. Occupancy has risen from 82 percent when the mall finished a rehabilitation in 1991.

Mall officials attribute the increased occupancy to the renovation and to management changes that include a new leasing director, says Kirstie Durr, a spokeswoman for the mall.

The hiring of an on-site marketing manager last October was a big help -- mall owner Balcor Property Management Inc. had tried to run leasing from its Chicago-area headquarters, Ms. Durr said.

The new stores:

Super Kids will open an 8,390-square-foot store that will carry kids' clothing as well as cribs, strollers and similar products. The store, scheduled to open by the end of the month, will be the fifth Baltimore-area Super Kids outlet.

Amancio, which is already open, is a value-oriented women's clothing store. Amancio is a division of the Ormond store chain and occupies 4,800 square feet.

Lee's Card & Gifts Shop II will open by Oct. 1. The store will be next to the existing Penn Optical shop.

Changes is a 3,500-square-foot men's clothing store. Like Amancio, it is open.

Electronics Etc. will open a 450-square-foot store across from Kay-Bee Toys in mid-September. The mall says the store will specialize in small "hand-held electronic gadgets."

Author to speak at GBBR seminar

The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors will be host to author Joel Garreau at a Sept. 10 seminar about the impact of explosive suburban growth on metropolitan Baltimore.

Mr. Garreau, author of the 1991 best seller "Edge City: Life on the New Frontier," argues that suburbs such as Towson and Columbia have grown so much that they have become "edge cities." Such urban forms are more economically powerful than a bedroom suburb, while having fewer people and less concentrated development than a central city such as Baltimore.

The seminar will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, 6501 N. Charles St.

For information, call the board at 462-2500.

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