Md. agencies play for office rent cutsThe state of...

COMMERICAL/REAL ESTATE

September 01, 1993|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

Md. agencies play for office rent cuts

The state of Maryland is continuing to use its new office buildings at 6 St. Paul Centre and 500 N. Calvert St. to save taxpayers' money -- though not quite in the way officials advertised when they bought the properties.

The head of the state Office of Administrative Hearings, John Hardwick, has toured the Shillman building at 500 N. Calvert as well as one other building that the state is considering buying or leasing, says Dave Humphrey, a spokesman for the state Department of General Services. The step, Mr. Humphrey concedes, is meant to put the squeeze on the agency's current landlord -- Mullan Enterprises.

The Office of Administrative Hearings rents space in Mullan's Greenspring Station project in Lutherville, Mr. Humphrey says. The lease on the 50,345-square-foot space calls for a rent of $23 a foot.

The shot across Mullan's bow mimics a tactic the state is applying to David Kornblatt, developer of the St. Paul Plaza tower downtown.

Mr. Kornblatt's biggest tenant is the Office of the Attorney General, which occupies about 100,000 square feet at a reported rent of $23.70 a foot.

"We're still talking," Mr. Kornblatt said. "I think we'll hold on to them. They don't want to move."

Mullan Enterprises officials couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

In both cases, the state hopes to force rent concessions by holding out the threat that agencies might move. That may be easier to do with Mr. Kornblatt because the attorney general's lease expires next year; Mr. Humphrey says the Office of Administrative Hearings' lease runs through January 1996.

Before the Department of General Services took over 6 St. Paul and 500 N. Calvert, it said the buildings would be used to cut the state's rental costs. But it had stressed using them to improve space for agencies housed in dilapidated buildings, while saving money because of the natural advantages of ownership.

The attorney general's office and the Office of Administrative Hearings already have offices that are as comfortable and as attractive as almost any other agency.

MacKenzie/O'Conor, small firm merge

MacKenzie/O'Conor Piper & Flynn Commercial Real Estate Services said yesterday that it will merge effective today with Optima Inc., a small, Annapolis-based commercial real estate brokerage firm, in a move meant to bolster MacKenzie/O'Conor's presence in Anne Arundel County.

"Optima brings a reputable client list and a proven track record of success," MacKenzie/O'Conor President Gary T. Gill said.

The smaller firm, which had three sales representatives, holds listings on projects totaling 400,000 square feet of office and warehouse space.

The company brokered $8 million worth of transactions last year, which MacKenzie/O'Conor spokeswoman Patricia B. Farrell said compared to about $75 million for MacKenzie/O'Conor.

Optima President Nicolas J. Roper will become an associate broker for MacKenzie/O'Conor. The Optima staff will move into MacKenzie/O'Conor's existing two-broker Annapolis office.

Financial terms of the merger were not disclosed.

Bidding protest snags warehouse move

Part of the deal for Rockville-based Social and Health %J Services Ltd. to move its warehouse operation to Guilford Industrial Park in Columbia is on hold, as one of the company's competitors protests the bidding process on a major contract.

Social and Health Services President Lewis Egan says a contract to design and distribute educational literature for the National Cancer Institute has been held up by a protest from Biospherics Inc. of Silver Spring. The U.S. General Accounting Office will rule on the protest within two months, he says.

Meanwhile, the company has leased 67,988 square feet of space to service two existing federal contracts.

Social and Health Services put another 45,325 square feet under option to accommodate the cancer institute contract if it is approved, says Michael A. Elardo, a W. C. Pinkard & Co. broker who handled the deal.

RTKL projects appear in movie scenes

With Labor Day upon us, many people will repair to the theater for a last sampling of the mindless fun known as the "summer movie." But the folks at RTKL Associates Inc. have already gotten some surprises from their summer movie-going.

Three RTKL projects turned up in movies released this summer.

Two projects -- the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman resort and the Harbor Town planned residential community in Memphis, Tenn. -- show up in "The Firm." RTKL's Tucson Mall food court is seen briefly in "Bodies, Rest & Motion."

"We found out [about the Hyatt shooting] through our friends at the hotel," said Bob Gorman, a vice president at the Baltimore architecture firm. "It was kind of fun."

The hotel is the scene of the meeting with Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman as mob lawyers and a client who nearly gives away the secret about the firm. (Mr. Hackman's character knows the secret, but Mr. Cruise's newly hired Mitch McDeere thinks his clients are just aggressive on their taxes.)

Harbor Town is visible in the background as Mr. Cruise rides a tram late in the film.

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