CBRE Global Investors announced that it has put the Sodexo USA headquarters building in Gaithersburg on the market as part of a portfolio of six trophy properties around the nation.
The 321,000-square-foot building got a boost in value last year thanks to state and local taxpayers, who are footing the bill to help save 567 full-time jobs that the French food services firm was threatening to move to Virginia. In December, the company agreed to renew its 120,000-square-foot lease with help from a $4 million grant and loan incentive package to renovate One Washingtonian Center, where Sodexo’s North American headquarters has been since 1998.
The building, at 9801 Washingtonian Blvd., is part of CBRE’s National Office Portfolio, which includes six properties totaling almost 2 million square feet in five markets that include Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and West Palm Beach, Fla.
CBRE paid $90 million in 2011 for the Sodexo building, which sits directly off I-270. The property had received platinum certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program in 2010, making it one of only 38 office buildings in the world to receive that highest level at the time.
The proposed Glenmont sector plan maps out a dramatic transformation of the 700 acres surrounding the last stop on the eastern leg of the Metro Red Line.
But property owners who have a stake in its redevelopment say the creation of a mixed-use town center complex and other changes will take decades to complete.
Problems such as access to the Glenmont Shopping Center, inadequate zoning density and multiple property owners mean it could take 20 years or more to create a new Glenmont, said Nancy Regelin of Shulman Rogers, who represented major landlords during a hearing before the Montgomery County Planning Board last week.
“They recognize it is a very long-term redevelopment plan but they need to get together today and make some progress in overcoming those” barriers, she said.
Regelin, representing the owners of the Shoppers Food Warehouse, Staples and CVS properties, said it would take more density than the commercial/residential zoning allowing twice the acreage of development per floor area proposed under the sector plan to complete the final stage of redevelopment of the dilapidated strip mall.
“It probably doesn’t give these owners a long-term reach if you’re thinking out 20 years,” she said.
At that rate, the planned Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road interchange — designed to speed traffic around Glenmont — will be completed and the shopping center could lose much of its drive-by traffic.
Even so, many smaller property owners are in no hurry to redevelop, said Michael Ficher, who owns three acres in the mall. He said without better pedestrian and vehicle access to the shopping center, there isn’t much point in rebuilding it.
“Traffic racing from Layhill Road around the corner to Georgia Avenue is a major concern, as well as access to the shopping center from southbound Layhill Road, which was taken away years ago and is not provided for in the draft,” he said. “If you adopt the plan as drafted, you are not really changing the current situation at Glenmont.”
Ficher noted that the mall has no vacancies, and that every landlord is making a decent income on existing property.
“There is no urgency amongst the owners to redevelop immediately,” he said.
Tom Barnsley — whose family has run the Country Boy Market in Glenmont for 30 years — said he has no desire to be displaced a second time after the store was forced to leave Wheaton after 28 years to make room for the Wheaton Metro station.
The market, which also operates a mulch supply business that occupies a large outdoor space, recently expanded to the site of a vacant gas station, one of three that have closed in the past year or so.
“If we’re going to pack up and leave, then I need incentive to get us to move,” Barnsley said.
The proposed sector plan would allow as much as 813,000 square feet of nonresidential space — more than double the current 402,000 square feet — and as many as 8,900 residential units, almost triple what exists today.
That has owners of several apartment complexes interested in redeveloping, but each said that the proposed sector plan could make that less likely by requiring split zoning to provide buffers to neighboring properties and more affordable housing units than the 12.5 percent that county law generally requires.
Todd Brown of Linowes & Blocher, representing apartment landlord Grady Management, noted that his clients operate with no affordable housing or rent restrictions.
“The only way affordable housing will be created or preserved would be if it is redeveloped and you get into the [moderately priced dwelling unit] process,” he said.
Brown also objected to the designation of the mid-century modern Glenmont Forest apartments for historic preservation. The complex, completed in 1967, was one of five Glenmont properties the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission recommended for the Locational Atlas and Index of Historic Sites. But it was not included on the county’s master plan for historic preservation.
Lincoln Property of Dallas announced that auto parts distributor Uni-Select USA signed a 77,285-square-foot lease in Upper Marlboro, bringing the industrial building to full occupancy.
Lincoln 495 is a $40 million joint venture project by Lincoln and Invesco that was completed in 2008. The 153,700-square-foot class A warehouse at 8420 Westphalia Road provides both access and visibility from the Capital Beltway.
Lincoln’s Merrill Turnbull and Brent Prossner represented the building’s ownership, Westphalia Venture. Brett Spitzer of NAI Global and Lance Schwarz of NAI Michaels represented the tenant.
Uni-Select has 25 distribution centers in the U.S. and 13 in Canada.
Lincoln Property also said it has a new leasing and management assignment at Park Plaza II, a 126,288-square-foot office in the North Rockville submarket.
The property, at 2099 Gaither Road, is 43.9 percent leased, according to CoStar, the real estate information company. The six-story building was completed in 2001.
Cassidy Turley announced that it won the sales assignment for Washington Real Estate Investment Trust’s local medical office portfolio, which includes five Maryland properties.
The 1.3 million-square-foot portfolio comprises 17 institutional-quality medical office properties, most of which are close neighbors to top hospitals in the Washington, D.C. region.
The assets include four properties totaling 207,000 square feet clustered near Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, plus a 125,000-square-foot building in Pikesville, north of Baltimore.
“Over the past 15 years, WRIT has assembled an exceptional medical office portfolio that accounts for 20 percent of the institutional grade medical office assets in the D.C. metro area,” Paul Collins, vice chairman with Cassidy Turley, said in a news release. “We expect the high quality of this portfolio and current marketplace demand for this product type to generate significant buyer interest.”
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