Micros picks Columbia for home base Headquarters and 650 employees to move from Beltsville

$30 million offices planned

Company makes computer systems and software

Computer industry

August 19, 1998|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Micros Systems Inc., a fast-growing company that makes computer systems and software for the restaurant and hospitality industry, said yesterday that it plans to shift 650 employees and its world headquarters to Columbia from Beltsville.

The company, which has 1,800 employees worldwide, said it signed an agreement with Orix Real Estate Equities Inc. of Chicago to lease a 250,000-square-foot office building that Orix will build for Micros. Construction of the new headquarters, which will be equipped with the latest communications devices, will cost an estimated $30 million.

"This will be our first chance to consolidate everyone under one roof," said Thomas Patz, vice president and general counsel for Micros. "From that we expect to see greater interaction between our various [product] development groups and more excellent, sophisticated products."

Employees of the 21 year-old company, which started out designing and marketing personal computers for the restaurant and hotel industry, work at four buildings in Beltsville, in Prince George's County. Micros, which until 1995 was partly owned by Westinghouse Holdings Corp., owns one of the buildings and has lease agreements for the others.

Orix is expected to break ground this fall for the new headquarters in the Columbia Gateway business park off Route 175 near Interstate 95. Patz said construction is expected to be completed in late 1999. Patz said Micros hopes to begin operations in the new headquarters by early 2000.

The company expects employment to increase to as many as 750 soon after the move.

Micros, which earned $16.8 million on sales of $228 million last year, expects the hiring to be in its software development, financial and human resources groups.

Patz said the company selected Columbia over sites that it considered in Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties, and Northern Virginia.

The company's decision was based in part on employee surveys that found the company risked losing some key employees if it moved its headquarters too far away.

Also, Howard County offered a central location from which the company could attract the brain power it needs to grow, Patz said.

"This is a beautiful central location to draw upon a pool of talented people," Patz said.

He said the company is particularly interested in skilled software developers to help the company maintain its shift toward developing software products for the restaurant and hospitality industries.

Micros markets software that helps restaurants, hotels, casinos, theme parks and other clients manage front- and back-office operations, from tracking food sales and room reservations to managing a database of guest preferences and tax payments. Its clients include Host Marriott Corp., Radisson Hotels, the T.G.I. Friday's restaurant chain and Foxwood Hotel and Casino in Connecticut.

Patz said the company is discussing with Howard County and state economic development officials a financial-incentives package that would help the company with the move. He said he could not disclose details.

Patz declined to disclose estimates of the company's Maryland payroll.

Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker said Micros is an example of the kind of high-technology industry the county wants to attract as part of its economic growth strategy.

Orix said Rockville-based Davis Construction has been selected as the general contractor.

Micros shares closed yesterday at $34.625, up 62.5 cents.

Pub Date: 8/19/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.