Warehouse expansion planned in Halethorpe

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 30, 2008|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN REPORTER

A Baltimore-based industrial developer said yesterday that it plans to create 1.3 million square feet of new or renovated warehouse space in Halethorpe in Baltimore County through a $100 million redevelopment of two neighboring industrial parks.

Preston Partners Inc. said it has begun redeveloping Hollins End Corporate Park on Hollins Ferry Road and renovating Hollins End East Corporate Park on Trident Court. A major Fortune 100 tenant has committed to leasing a new 125,000-square-foot building that will be constructed at the Hollins Ferry Road location, Preston Partners said.

The firm's development and investment division, Preston Capital Management Inc., will oversee the project. Preston Capital has six projects totaling about 3.1 million square feet planned for development in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

Hollins End Corporate Park had been a four-building complex owned by a New York investor and was leased to Ocean Logistics LLC, which moved out of state to consolidate. Preston Capital, which bought the 51-acre property in the fall of 2006, is renovating a 279,000-square-foot warehouse, has razed three others and will start building the new 125,000-square-foot building next month.

Plans call for a total of eight buildings over the next three years, said David P. Scheffenacker Jr., president of Preston Partners.

"I think the demand is there and will continue to be," Scheffenacker said. He said the industrial sector hasn't been hurt as much as other real estate sectors by the economic downturn. "There hasn't been any overbuilding."

Plans call for creating a critical mass of new industrial development by combining Hollins End with the second property at 4700 Trident Court, which Preston Partners bought from a group of local investors last fall. That park has six warehouses that are fully leased to 10 tenants; Preston Partners plans to renovate those buildings.

The acquisitions fit the company's strategy of owning and developing industrial projects in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

The Hollins Ferry Road corridor of southwestern Baltimore County, an Enterprise Zone since 1996, has been undergoing a transformation over the past few years, with companies such as Bakery Express, Ferguson, a large distributor of plumbing supplies and heating and cooling equipment, Cowan Systems, a regional trucking firm, and the Maryland Food Bank moving in or establishing headquarters.

The redeveloped industrial parks will likely be used by warehouse, distribution and trucking operations and should help to satisfy increased demand for flex office space that will be generated by growth at Fort Meade due to federal base realignment, said David S. Iannucci, executive director of Baltimore County's Department of Economic Development.

Iannucci said he expects an additional 1,000 jobs to come to the Hollins Ferry Road corridor as a result of the new companies and future growth between the end of 2006 and 2010.

The area's transformation has "been very gratifying," he said. "It's like people discovered you had this business park next to I-695."

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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