Montgomery Park lands second tenant

Lottery just the ticket for old Ward building

January 05, 2002|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

The Maryland State Lottery will become the second tenant in the former Montgomery Ward building in southwest Baltimore, following another state agency to the hulking old warehouse building slated to become Baltimore's biggest office complex.

The Lottery will use 72,271 square feet, far less than the 262,300 square feet already leased by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Developer David F. Tufaro and partner Samuel K. Himmelrich Jr. plan to have space ready by June for the larger tenant - slightly behind the original schedule - and by November for the Lottery agency. The building has been vacant since 1985.

Tufaro said the state was adhering to its own smart-growth policy by locating two agencies in the building at 1000 S. Monroe St. "Clearly, this represents a commitment to the city and the rejuvenation of that side of town," he said.

The state Board of Public Works has approved both leases.

The Lottery is expected to move 175 employees into the building and use a portion of its space for storage. The Department of Environment will house 900 employees there. In all, 3,500 are expected to work there when the entire space is leased.

The 10-year Lottery lease will cost $924,108 a year plus utilities, escalating some each year, said Dave Humphrey, spokesman for the Department of General Services, which oversees most state leases.

Humphrey said one of the reasons the building, called Montgomery Park, was chosen during the bid process was the energy efficiency and environmentally friendly elements of the so-called "green building." Utilities should cost the state no more than 98 cents per net usable square foot a year, he said.

"It will be our lowest energy-consumption cost in the state-leased inventory," he said.

The Department of Environment will pay about $3.66 million a year on its 10-year lease.

Tufaro said the building has lined up financing for much of the construction work. The $75 million project - in an area targeted for rejuvenation by the city, state and federal governments - also has received an $8 million federal Brownfields Economic Development Initiative loan and a $1 million redevelopment grant, and it will get state and federal historic tax breaks.

Yesterday, the developers received a $2 million loan from the state's Brownfield Revitalization Incentive Program.

Tufaro said he is close to leasing three buildings outside Montgomery Park that the partners have purchased or have under long-term lease. Tufaro said they will house food establishments or other retailers.

"We're trying to affect things that have an impact on our large investment," he said. "People's expectation ... is that the whole area improves and we bring other amenities to the area to service the people who work there."

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