Quoth the raven: 'In the side pocket'A pool hall is coming...

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

October 20, 1993|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

Quoth the raven: 'In the side pocket'

A pool hall is coming to the Inner Harbor, but the owner of Edgar's swears that its planned December opening won't be cause to stop taking the kids downtown.

"We're billing ourselves as a stylish bar, restaurant, club and billiard parlor," said owner Bruce DeLeon, whose last such venture was Nottingham's in Columbia, which he has since sold.

"We're looking for an early 1800s look -- a lot of mahogany and deeper woods. It's the Old World look, the old gentleman's club atmosphere."

About 40 percent of the clientele, however, is expected to be women. Mr. DeLeon said the core audiences will be conventioneers, tourists and local couples.

But the location -- at the corner of Light and Pratt streets -- didn't come easily, said James Grieves, a CB Commercial Real Estate Services broker who worked on the deal. Mr. DeLeon had to convince Constellation Place Associates Inc. that a billiard parlor could be a worthy neighbor to the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland, the building's main tenant.

"Bruce put together an incredible package to convince the landlord it wasn't shoddy," Mr. Grieves said.

Edgar's will have about 150 seats -- about 50 bar-style seats near the pool tables, and 100 bar and restaurant seats a little farther from the action, Mr. DeLeon said. Renting a table will cost about $12 an hour at peak weekend night hours, he said.

The club is downtown's first upscale pool hall. Mr. DeLeon got the idea for his Columbia club from a magazine article that said higher-class pool halls were a national trend.

"I couldn't believe that there was nothing in Baltimore-Washington," Mr. DeLeon said.

And yes, the place is named for Edgar Allan Poe. Part of the decor -- including the logo of a raven perched on a pool cue -- will be based on Poe's works.

Towson Commons gains more tenants

Towson Commons, Baltimore County's biggest mixed-use complex, got a boost last week as two more tenants opened.

Bain's Deli and Saladworks and Totally Pasta opened at the 330,000-square-foot center, which includes offices, movies and stores. They're the latest in a string of small leases that have brought the office building's occupancy to 65 percent and retail occupancy to 80 percent.

"We feel like we're getting there," said Richard R. Reese Jr., general manager of Towson Commons and vice president of LaSalle Partners, the lead developer of the complex. "Certainly the increased [office] occupancy helps the retail environment."

New tenants such as Naturally Nails, Toy Maze and The Body Shop, part of a skin and hair care products chain, have moved into store slots whose original tenants quickly closed their doors. A card shop, a game store and a gift shop all lasted only a short time beyond Towson Commons' April 1992 opening.

The strategy of Towson Commons was that retailers, restaurants and food court tenants would get a lot of their business from office workers seeking lunch, greeting cards and the like. That strategy will get a boost around Thanksgiving, when VIPS Inc., a Towson software firm, begins to occupy about 60,000 square feet of office space.

Mid-Atlantic Realty boosts occupancy

Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust has continued its run of good news, landing the management consulting division of Price Waterhouse a tenant in its Gateway International II building near Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The 17,885-square-foot lease will boost occupancy at the two-building project to 90 percent, company President F. Patrick Hughes said. Gateway International I, where Mid-Atlantic has its headquarters, is fully leased. Gateway International II, whose leasing was hurt by the recession, is 80 percent occupied.

Price Waterhouse will move in December from 10420 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia.

Mid-Atlantic, known as BTR Realty Inc. until it converted to a real estate investment trust this summer, bought the Timonium Mall at a bankruptcy court auction. The mall, anchored by Circuit City and Caldor, is similar to other company properties.

Mid-Atlantic mainly develops local shopping centers; it has no Class A office developments other than Gateway.

Industrial, warehouse outlook brightens

The slight improvement that marked the office market during the third quarter spilled over into the industrial and warehouse sector, according to a new study by Casey & Associates.

The vacancy rate for warehouse space in metropolitan Baltimore, including "flex" space that can be used for warehouses, labs or offices, was 18.4 percent at the end of September. That's up from 18.3 percent at the end of June, but Casey added that several large deals closed early this month and just missed the survey.

"I think the fourth quarter will show a pretty strong closing for the year," said Thomas C. "Tim" Jackson, who compiled the report for the Baltimore-based commercial brokerage firm.

Only four leases of more than 100,000 square feet closed during the third quarter. The largest: Advanced Marketing Services Inc., which leased 150,500 square feet in Baltimore Commons Business Park in Harmans, and W. R. Grace & Co., which leased 153,500 square feet in the Route 100 Industrial Park in Dorsey.

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