In another sign of suburban Baltimore's continuing job growth, Constellation Real Estate Inc. is constructing a three-story office building in a business park near Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County and is considering putting a hotel nearby.
New office buildings themselves are nothing unusual. They've been going up in Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties for some time.
But Constellation's project is part of a new phase for regional real estate: it doesn't have any committed tenants yet. Since the slump of the early 1990s, office developers have balked unless their projects are almost totally leased before backhoes scrape first dirt.
Only recently have developers again started raising office steel on the mere promise of a growing economy and their own sales abilities.
"We're pretty confident," said Dwight S. Taylor, senior vice president for Constellation, a subsidiary of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. "We have nearly 500,000 square feet [leased] in the park at this time, and we have tenants who have various expansion requirements. We expect to satisfy some of those needs in this building, and we're seeing good traffic that should help us fill the rest of the space."
Constellation's National Business Park, at Annapolis Junction, already has three low-rise office buildings and a 250,000 square-foot office tower. The new building, at 135 National Business Parkway, would contain 90,000 square feet of space, about the size of a Wal-Mart store or a Home Depot.
The park's blueprint also includes space for lodging, and Constellation President Randall M. Griffin said the firm "is seeking a high-rise hotel project at the entrance of the park." National Business Park's first phase still has two-thirds of its land available for development, Taylor said.
Driven by Fort Meade contracting and companies wanting to be near Baltimore-Washington International Airport, northern Anne Arundel County has been one of the region's fastest growing spots in the last few years. Resident businesses tend to deal in technology and communications; other tenants in the 350-acre National Business Park include Lockheed, Intel, Stanford Telecom, Harris and American Communications Services. County Executive John Gary called the new Constellation project "a clear indicator" that the growth hasn't flagged.
Most speculative commercial construction projects in recent years have involved buildings for distribution centers. Only last year, as suburban office-vacancy rates reached decade-long lows, did spec office projects start stirring. For example, David S. Brown Enterprises completed a 50,000-square-foot speculative office building in the McDonogh Crossroads business park in Owings Mills last year.
Pub Date: 8/22/97