Friday, April 20, 2007

Hewlett-Packard elects to stay in Montgomery County

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Naomi Brookner⁄The Gazette
This new 95-room Country Inn & Suites By Carlson has opened at 4950 Mercedes Blvd. in Camp Springs. ‘‘We’re very excited to bring the Country Inns & Suites By Carlson concept to this region,” said Steve Mogck, executive vice president of the Minneapolis company, whose operations also include Regent Hotels & Resorts; Radisson Hotels & Resorts; Park Plaza Hotels; and Resorts and Park Inn.
Computer giant Hewlett-Packard is leaving its education and training center in Gaithersburg but it is staying in Montgomery County.

The company, which has been laying off workers nationwide, had planned to consolidate offices in Reston, Va., but instead has signed a lease for 91,000 square feet at 6660 Rockledge Drive in North Bethesda, said Richard Gersten with Freeman-Gersten Partners of Washington, D.C., which brokered the deal.

The move more than fills a 75,780-square-foot hole in the building after travel concessions company HMSHost Corp. moved its headquarters to a nearby building last year. HMSHost now occupies 150,000 square feet at 6905 Rockledge, the biggest lease signed in the suburban Maryland market last year.

Brandywine Realty Trust of Radnor, Pa., which owns the new Hewlett Packard office building, is completing renovations on the 156,000-square-foot structure, which was built in 1981. The building is now 100 percent leased.

Details of the deal were not available but the average rental rate at the building was $36.27 per square foot last year, Brandywine reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hewlett Packard plans to move in September from 9737 Washingtonian Boulevard, which sold last year for $117 million.

CB Richard Ellis handling Prince George’s mall leasing

CB Richard Ellis’ retail service group will handle leasing for the 165,000-square-foot Metropolitan Shops at Prince George’s Plaza, which is part of a mixed-used project that is expected to spur an upscale revival of the area.

The shops are set for completion next month as part of the transit-oriented development near the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station.

The development is near The Mall at Prince George’s, the renovated Prince George’s Plaza mall that was originally built in 1959.

The Metropolitan Shops, at East-West Highway and Belcrest Road, is a joint project by Taylor Development of Bethesda and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

‘‘This new transit oriented mixed-use development provides retailers tremendous exposure at the entrance to the Metro with a pedestrian walkway through the project, rare visibility from East-West Highway and outstanding retail synergy,” Lance L.J. Marine, a CB Richard Ellis retail broker leasing the project.

Anchor tenants include Circuit City, Staples and Bally’s Fitness. In addition to the retail, the project will feature 329,000 square feet of office, 260 luxury residential apartments and 150 hotel rooms operated by Marriott.

Landover site turns out to be a leasing challenge

CB Richard Ellis faced a challenge marketing Metro East, at 4315 Garden City Drive, Landover, when the building lost its longtime anchor tenant last year.

The owner, Clark Realty of Bethesda, sought a buyer when the Epilepsy Foundation moved nearby in July, leaving the 62,998-square-foot building with a 41 percent vacancy rate. But a new pending tenant could take up most of three floors, more than filling the gap left by the foundation.

‘‘The owners have rethought the sale,” said Bill Prutting, first vice president with CB Richard Ellis’ private client group in Washington. ‘‘Now that they have the tenant in place, they might want to maintain the building. They want to finalize it and get the tenant in place and then make a decision.”

A Baltimore vocational college has a lease pending for about 27,000 square feet, said Andy Mayr, with NAI Michael Cos. in Lanham, which handles the building’s leasing. Mayr declined to name the college.

The college needs final approval of the new educational program’s facilities from the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Leases in the surrounding Metro East office park owned by the Advance Realty Group are hovering in the low to mid-$20s per square foot, although the U.S. Postal Service recently signed for $27.50 for law offices in the 578,000-square-foot Class A complex. The biggest recent tenant to sign there was Giant Food, which took 53,556 square feet for its new headquarters last year.

‘‘The market is generally fairly tight in that area for leasing,” Prutting said.

Smith Barney movesto Harbor East

Smith Barney, a brokerage division of financial services giant Citigroup of New York, is moving its Baltimore offices to the new Harbor East Park, according to Colliers Pinkard, which represented the building owner.

The company will take 42,000 square feet of space at 600 Exeter St., a 70,000-square-foot, Class A building owned by Baltimore developers H&S Properties Development Corp. and Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse.

Smith Barney will be a neighbor of its former corporate parent, Legg Mason, which will move its headquarters to a new 500,000-square-foot office tower that H&S is building.

Courts at Woodsidesales to begin

GTM Architects, a Bethesda architecture, planning and interior design firm, and the Kentlands Co. of Cabin John, a homebuilder and land developer, have unveiled plans for the Courts of Woodside residential development in Silver Spring.

The 2.7-acre project has been designed to maximize and renovate three existing historic single family homes, while ‘‘seamlessly” integrating 23 new townhomes, according to information from the companies. Ground is to be broken this month, and the sales office will open next month to begin presales on the new homes.

Commercial real estate news items may be mailed to: Steve Monroe, The Business Gazette, 1200 Quince Orchard Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878; e-mailed to smonroe@gazette.net; or faxed to 301-670-7183.