- The Washington Times - Monday, September 3, 2001

The real estate market for Washington's technology companies may be in the tank these days, but don't tell that to the folks at DataCentersNow.
The Rockville company is charging ahead with plan to build local data centers, the fortress-like facilities telecommunications companies use to house their heavy technology equipment.
Last month, DataCentersNow completed a 109,800-square-foot facility at 7200 Infantry Ridge Road in Manassas. The building features 8.5 inch concrete walls, a concrete roof and bulletproof glass doors. The extra thick protection is needed to protect the equipment inside from bad weather.
"In comparison to most data centers available today, this is not a facility that was just redeveloped from warehouse space," says Chris Epstein, the company's president.
The Manassas building does not have tenants, but more than 30 prospective tenants have toured it, according to Jason Britton, marketing director for DataCentersNow. The company expects to announce leases soon, he says.
At the height of Washington's technology boom, DataCenters- Now became one of the first developers to build data centers without having tenants lined up first. In addition to its new facility in Prince William County, the company has also built centers in Loudoun County and Chicago.
Since the dot-com downturn, other developers have canceled or scaled back plans for new centers in the Washington area, including Gilbane Properties, a Providence, R.I., company that planned a massive campus of centers on 150 acres in Manassas.
Mr. Epstein says he is in the data-center business for the long haul. In a speech to Internet industry executives last week, he said rising concern over information security will keep the centers in demand.
"Our research and years of commercial real estate industry experience has shown us that corporations and governments want both security and control of their systems," Mr. Epstein told the executives.

MIE expands

Regional developer MIE Properties doesn't just do commercial buildings.
The Baltimore company, which has made a name for itself building offices and warehouses near Baltimore-Washington International Airport, is completing construction on residential projects in Annapolis and in Louisiana.
The Waters Edge at Woods Landing is a 115-unit waterfront town-house nieghborhood in Cape St. Clair, near Annapolis. Its Louisiana project, Pelican Point, features 1,200 homes on 800 acres between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
"Developing these residential properties allows us to show some creativity," says MIE president and chief executive Edward St. John. The company will keep its eye open for future residential opportunities, he says.
MIE Properties recently started its sixth business park near BWI Airport. BWI Technology Park is slated to have 14 buildings with 600,000 square feet of offices and warehouses.
The company is also building two warehouse-style buildings at Ashburn Technology Park, an 82-acre complex near Washington Dulles International Airport.

In other news

Philip Morris will move next August from 1341 G St. NW to 33,000 square feet at 101 Constitution Ave. NW, a building under construction near the U.S. Capitol. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America is building the 500,000-square-foot office, and has also leased space to the American Council of Life Insurance, Van Scoyoc Associates and LPC Commercial Services. Brokerages American Realty Advisors and Julien J. Studley arranged the Philip Morris lease.
Columbia, Md., developer Manekin has completed a $12 million network operations centers for Hughes Network Systems at 11717 Exploration Lane in Germantown. PLPC Architects of Rockville helped design the building, where Hughes will monitor its broadband data and voice communications services. The company plans to house more than $1.5 million worth of audio and visual equipment in the facility.
Law firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood has moved roughly 175 lawyers and 200 other workers to the 12-story Investment Building at 15th and K streets NW. The firm has leased 190,000 square feet in the recently renovated 1920s era building. It occupies floors six through 10, as well as a portion of the fifth floor.
Chris Baker can be reached at 202/636-3139 or cbaker@washingtontimes.com.

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