Army considers scaling back lease


June 01, 1994|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Sun Staff Writer

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering scaling back its plans for what would be metropolitan Baltimore's largest warehouse lease of 1994, a corps official said yesterday, in a move brokers speculated might have come because the original plans forced the corps to deal with only one developer.

The corps, which is seeking the space on behalf of an unidentified national security agency, originally advertised for proposals from building owners who could lease 325,000 to 400,000 square feet of warehouse space. But yesterday, the chief of the corps' Realty Services Office in Linthicum said "there's a pretty good possibility" that it will advertise for less.

"Our user is going through a reorganization and it is changing the requirement a little bit," said Danny Middleton, who is leading the corps' search for the space.

Mr. Middleton said that if the corps does re-advertise, it could ask for a range between 250,000 and 300,000 square feet.

Mr. Middleton said the corps wants to try to give more developers a chance to bid for the deal. One possible reason, according to two brokers who asked not to be named, is that the only warehouse in the corridor with anything like 400,000 vacant square feet is the former General Electric plant at Columbia Gateway, owned by the Rouse Co.

"Certainly the smaller size would create more options," said a third broker, Skip Case of Carey Winston Co. in Laurel. But he said several of the larger buildings in the corridor have recently landed big leases, so the search might not get much easier.

One possibility would be the 340,000-square-foot warehouse at 3000 Waterview Ave. in South Baltimore owned by the Zamoiski family. But Robert Oare, a Manekin Corp. broker listing the building, said the owners are considering several proposals and are likely to end up sharing the building with a tenant.

The Zamoiski family wholesale distribution businesses now occupy the whole building, Mr. Oare said.

Mr. Middleton said the corps wants the space by the end of July. He declined to say which agency would use the space, noting that the corps represents a large number of military operations that don't want to disclose their moves. Such reticence would seem to make sharing a building with an owner-user unlikely.

City yet to set hearing for Parrott Island

The developers of the Parrott Island entertainment complex in the old industrial area between Fells Point and Little Italy say they need the city to move on their plans soon if they are to open this year.

But a spokeswoman for the project said the city Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals has not granted a date for a hearing; the application for conditional use was filed in January.

Pat and Mike O'Malley, who plan to operate the Central Avenue facility as a summer-only outdoor venue, have already been delayed by a contested process to win city approval to buy a liquor license, said Liz Chuday, a spokeswoman for the project.

Ms. Chuday said the owners still plan to open this summer, but that time is getting tight. "We're still in the ballpark, but the longer the delays, the more difficult it will be to reach our goals of building and opening this year," she said.

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