City Crescent developer to advise NationsBankOtis Warren...

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

September 22, 1993|By TIMOTHY J. MULLANEY | TIMOTHY J. MULLANEY,Staff Writer

City Crescent developer to advise NationsBank

Otis Warren isn't wasting time following up on Monday's successful launch of his City Crescent office building. His company has landed a deal to consult with NationsBank Corp. on real estate issues after the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking company absorbs Baltimore-based MNC Financial Inc.

That puts Mr. Warren near the center of an important issue -- namely, what happens after the merger. MNC is the largest corporate tenant in town.

"There's every expectation that some consolidation will occur," said Jeffrey B. Samet, a W.C. Pinkard & Co. vice president who handles the brokerage firm's market analysis. But he says it's impossible to know the extent of the consolidation until NationsBank explains its plans publicly.

Mr. Warren says the Otis Warren Cos. will advise NationsBank on finding tenants for space the bank wants to vacate, on selling company-owned properties it no longer needs and on other projects.

The 51-year-old former president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors hopes the deal will let him move from developing City Crescent, a federal building, to competing in the corporate-office sector.

"That's our next step," he said. "You've got to get a break somehow. Someone has to give you an opportunity."

Some Angelos lawyers will move downtown

Northeast Baltimore's most famous lawyer and big-league baseball-team owner is moving part of his operation downtown, as the Law Offices of Peter Angelos lease about 16,000 square feet at 300 E. Lombard St.

Mr. Angelos has long kept his firm's main office on Harford Road, close to his client base -- mainly former Bethlehem Steel Corp. workers who have filed product-liability lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers.

But that office is crowded and, after years of pretrial work, the asbestos litigation is moving into a series of minitrials. So the firm needs a satellite office closer to Baltimore's Circuit Court, where the minitrials will be held.

About 25 of the Angelos firm's 55 lawyers will use the downtown space, in a building owned by The Rouse Co., Mr. Angelos says. Some will work under H. Russell Smouse, the veteran lawyer whom Mr. Angelos brought on recently to direct the nonasbestos-related portion of the firm's litigation practice.

"We're occupying the 18th floor, which was the main floor of the Frank Bernstein law firm," Mr. Angelos said. Frank, Bernstein, Conaway and Goldman went out of business in 1992. "The fact it was serving that purpose suggests it is well-appointed."

Mr. Angelos hopes to move the staff into the new space by Oct.

15. The Harford Road office will still be the main place where workers go for processing of settlements in the litigation.

Carey Winston Co.to run industrial park

The new owners of the Techwood Industrial Park in Hanover have chosen Chevy Chase-based Carey Winston Co. to lease and manage the 488,000-square-foot warehouse center, in a step that moves the brokerage firm deeper into the Baltimore metropolitan market.

San Francisco-based AMB Institutional Realty Advisors closed the purchase this month, buying the park from an affiliate of Trammell Crow Co. for an undisclosed price.

The park is 91 percent occupied, said Jane Harris, an acquisition officer for AMB. She says the asset management company bought the property on behalf of a pension-fund client.

"Technically, it is one metropolitan area, one market," said Ms. Harris, who, like federal census officials, noted the growing interdependence of the Baltimore and Washington economies. "What we see in Carey Winston is that they do cover the whole metropolitan area."

The leasing part of the job won't initially be too rough on Carey Winston, whose Laurel office handles Baltimore-area deals. Only 2 percent of the park is available, Ms. Harris said. There's a difference between the vacancy rate and the amount of space available, because some tenants have options to lease additional space.

"We will ultimately develop the vacant land with another 350,000 square feet of new development," she said.

None of the future development will be speculative; all will be custom jobs for specific tenants, she added.

A.J. Billig to auction land in Towson

A.J. Billig & Co. will auction a piece of land at 309 E.--

Pennsylvania Ave. in Towson on Oct. 6, and just talking about it almost seems to make auctioneer Jack Billig nostalgic.

In the late 1980s, Mr. Billig auctioned nearby land in the East Towson neighborhood just blocks from the Towson core, and "we got terrific prices because people envisioned building mammoth office buildings," he said. Today, though, speculative development is out-of-fashion.

The land is zoned for the sort of major office buildings that have cropped up just west of the neighborhood, which was first built as a 19th century community of freed slaves. But Mr. Billig said the quarter-acre lot and the single-family house aren't expected to be the site of the next big office-plex.

Instead, he said, someone probably will buy the house to live in, or perhaps to use as a small-scale office.

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