- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2007

David Edgerley is taking over the state’s business and economic development department at a time of transition for Maryland’s real estate industry.

State planners say the federal government’s Base Realignment and Closure plan will bring 40,000 to 60,000 new jobs to Maryland in the next few years.

That prospect already is attracting new housing and retail projects for residents and office complexes for defense contractors.

The development will be a principal focus for Mr. Edgerley, former Montgomery County economic development director who was appointed yesterday as Maryland’s secretary of business and economic development by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Many of the new jobs will be located at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County.

Mr. Edgerley led the Rockville Town Square project and revitalization of downtown Silver Spring, which brought in more the $1 billion in new real estate development.

He was instrumental in persuading Discovery Communications to relocate its headquarters to downtown Silver Spring. The building opened in April 2003 and quickly became a magnet for television production companies, retailers and condominium projects.

“It sells space, it rents space when you bring in somebody like that,” said Susan Hoffmann, marketing and special events manager for the Silver Spring Regional Center, Montgomery County’s local office in Silver Spring. “He’s very good at putting together the deal and putting the right people together.”

“The revitalization effort he led in Silver Spring, for example, proves that he is capable of these large scale projects,” said Rick Abbruzzese, spokesman for Mr. O’Malley.

Mr. Edgerley was director of Allegany County’s economic development department before taking the same job in Montgomery County in 1995, which he held until late 2006.

Mr. Edgerley pledged yesterday to “make our state more business-friendly. …”

In other news …

c Real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle has completed a $115 million sale of 1310 North Courthouse, a 353,077-square-foot office building in Arlington, to MRP Properties LLC.

Telecommunications giant Verizon’s lease on the building expires in June 2008, giving the new owners “the flexibility to reposition the asset,” Jones Lang LaSalle said in a statement.

“Repositioning the asset” is nearly certain to mean some of Washington’s law firms would consider relocating or opening satellite offices in the building, according to commercial real estate leasing agents.

“It stands to reason that given what costs have done in downtown D.C. from a rental standpoint and the size of some of these law firms, you will see some of those firms jump over the river for a good location and lower rents,” said John Kevill, Jones Lang LaSalle’s managing director of capital markets.

Rents in the Rosslyn-Courthouse-Ballston corridor cost around $40 per square foot for space that would cost an additional $15 to $20 per square foot in downtown Washington.

At the same time, law firms in Washington are on an expansion binge as a result of consolidations and increased specialization within their field.

“No question that law firms are taking more space now compared with five or 10 years ago,” said Phil Horowitz, a real estate attorney for the Washington law firm Venable LLP.

• Property Lines runs on Thursdays. Call Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail tram stack@washingtontimes.com.

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