- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2001

CoStar Group, the Bethesda real estate research giant, is helping New York find new office space for the tenants displaced by the destruction of the World Trade Center.

The company has set up a special database of available space in the area for the roughly 650 tenants, which can be viewed at the state's business Web site, nylovesbiz.com. It has also conducted detailed studies on available space in Manhattan.

And hours after two hijacked commercial airlines plowed into the trade center's twin towers Sept. 11, the company put the list of tenants and photographs of the building on its corporate Web site, www.costargroup.com.

Usually, CoStar charges customers to view its database, which has information on more than 800,000 office buildings in the United States.

"When we saw the disaster, we knew pretty much right away we were going to get swamped with requests from the press," says Andrew Florance, the company's president and chief executive.

Mr. Florance was at home working on his laptop and watching "Good Morning America" when the first sketchy news reports about an explosion in the World Trade Center aired. He immediately logged into his company's database to find out the names of the building's tenants.

"And then I would try to go to those companies' Web sites, and one by one they were going dark," he says.

CoStar updates its database constantly, and Mr. Florance says its information on the massive World Trade Center the two towers were the third- and fourth-largest buildings in the world and represented 10 percent all office space in lower Manhattan was "pretty accurate" when the terrorist attacks occurred.

"There were a few tenants in there that we didn't know about," he says. Family members of people who worked for those businesses quickly called CoStar in the hours after the attack so the company could update its tenant roster, he says.

New York's top elected official has praised the company for its work.

Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican, said in a statement last week that the state is "deeply grateful for CoStar Group's generous offer to let New York companies capitalize on its resources."

Mr. Florance says CoStar's work in the wake of the tragedy has boosted the company's profile, but that isn't why it is helping out.

"CoStar is already a well-known brand name in the commercial real estate industry, and we really don't do business outside that industry. Major news organizations sourced us [when news of the attacks broke], but it's dubious PR," he says.

In other news

• Scitor, an engineering and information technology company, has leased the remaining 109,736 square feet in Plaza Ridge, an office building in the Woodland Park campus near Washington Dulles International Airport. Scitor will occupy the third through sixth floors in the building, which was developed by Tishman Speyer Properties. Brokerages Cushman and Wakefield and Staubach arranged the lease. California Internet company Juniper Networks earlier leased 48,280 square feet in Plaza Ridge, which has 158,015 square feet total.

• Deltek Systems has signed a 10-year lease for 81,252 square feet at Park West at Dulles Corner, a 151,747-square-foot building in Herndon. The software company has also agreed to lease an undetermined amount of space at 2411 Dulles Corner Road, a nearby building with 177,000 square feet. Dallas real estate investment trust Prentiss Properties owns both buildings. Park West is now fully leased; Perot Systems leased 70,495 square feet in the building in July.

• MedStar Health has renewed its lease for 26,200 square feet at 2331 Broadbirch Drive in North Silver Spring, and taken an additional 9,286 square feet at 2301 Broadbirch Drive. International developer Grosvenor owns both buildings, which are in the WesTech Business Park. Brokerages Trammell Crow and Transwestern arranged the leases for MedStar, a Columbia, Md., company that operates seven hospitals in the Washington and Baltimore areas.

• Ohio real estate company Phillips Edison has purchased Gunston Plaza, a 208,935-square-foot shopping center on Route 1 in Fairfax County, from Principal Life Insurance. National brokerage Insignia/ESG helped arrange the $12.5 million sale. Gunston Plaza includes a Food Lion, a Rite Aid and a McDonald's.

• Insignia/ESG also arranged the sale of the Tysons Sport & Health Club at 8250 Greensboro Drive in McLean. Alexandria Two Associates LP bought the 85,000-square-foot club from Tysons Land I LLC for $7.8 million.

• Chris Baker can be reached at 202/636-3139 or cbaker@washingtontimes.com.

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