Shipper to use Arundel facility Fritz Cos. to put regional operation in Jorgensen building

The Port

January 18, 1996|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

Fritz Cos. Inc., one of the world's largest shipping and distribution firms, has selected Anne Arundel County for a new regional operation that will create roughly 100 jobs, officials said yesterday.

"We're going to be a one-stop provider of international logistics there," said Dan C. Hedges, a Fritz operations manager. "We're going to be packing, crating, everything associated with transporting materials."

Fritz, which intends to invest $7 million to create the Baltimore hub in the former Jorgensen Steel building, has more than 400 locations worldwide. Fritz officials cited proximity to the port of Baltimore and the Baltimore-Washington International Airport as key reasons for locating here.

The publicly traded company, with net income of $25.3 million and revenues of $542.5 million in the first half of fiscal 1996 -- more than a 35 percent increase over the previous year -- intends to begin operations in the building March 1.

"Fritz is a leader in its industry and it's a fast-growing company," said William A. Badger Jr., an official of the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp. "They are a statement to our viability."

The San Francisco-based Fritz's operation here will be located in the 200,000-square-foot, vacant Jorgensen building that many local analysts have considered a bellwether of the demand for industrial real estate.

With the lease of the building, owned by Bavar Properties LLC, many analysts believe a number of planned, purely speculative warehouse projects will now proceed.

"The key to the Bavar [Jorgensen] building was that it was functional and immediately available," said Carey Winston Co. Vice President Skip Case, who together with Betawest Inc. negotiated on behalf of Fritz.

"There's just not enough functional space that can meet tenants' demands for efficiency," Mr. Case said.

Bavar bought the 15-year-old building in the 300-acre Baltimore Commons Industrial Park, in Hanover, after the Earle K. Jorgensen Co. abandoned the building in 1993.

Since then, the Timonium development and investment firm has renovated the former steel processing facility and doubled its size in the process to accommodate larger distribution requirements.

"It was a calculated risk," said David I. Bavar, president of Bavar Properties.

Fritz's lease with Bavar is valued at nearly $4 million through 2001, with options. Bavar was represented in the transaction by KLNB Inc. Vice President Robert Z. Smith Jr. and Craig P. Morrell.

Fritz, which operates in 40 countries and counts Reebok, Simon & Schuster and Target Stores among its 25,000 clients, intends to relocate roughly 35 workers from offices in Baltimore.

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