Large, Class A office building planned in Annapolis

MIE Properties says structure will have amenities, high rents

March 22, 2001|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

Developers plan to break ground May 9 on Annapolis' largest speculative office building in about a decade.

Catonsville-based MIE Properties Inc. plans a 135,000-square-foot, Class A building in Annapolis Commerce Park, across from the Annapolis mall.

Edward A. St. John, president of the company, said that demand is strong in the area and that there are few options for top-tier space. He expects his new building, scheduled for completion in 18 months, to become the benchmark for amenities and rents in the area.

The proposed MIE building at 888 Bestgate Road is to have granite and marble features, a two-story atrium, conference space, a concierge and a deli.

Asking rents are $28 to $33 a square foot, topping the current high rent of $26.50 a square foot, the company said.

"We already have a 10,000-square-foot tenant we're working with on the first floor and we haven't even advertised it," St. John said. "I expect it to lease in 18 months easily."

A 2000 year-end office market report from Colliers Pinkard, a commercial real estate company, shows the vacancy rate for office buildings in the Annapolis area was 3.9 percent, the lowest in the region.

MIE is better known for building speculative "flex" office buildings, which are suitable for a variety of uses, including offices. But the prime real estate called for a "higher use" such as a high-rise Class A building, St. John said.

Class A buildings are the nicest, newest and most expensive offices in the area, and often offer extra services to tenants.

The Chaney family, which owns the property, will be a partner in the $13.5 million project.

St. John said that he has not seen any slowdown in the real estate market in the region and that the institutional investors financing the building are not concerned that he has no signed tenants.

MIE also plans to break ground in the next six months on a group of five suburban-style office buildings that will total 180,000 square feet.

The three-story buildings to be constructed at Riva Road and Harry S. Truman Parkway will have fewer amenities than Class A buildings.

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