- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2005

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is scheduled to move to new headquarters in Riverdale under a 13-year lease agreement with Opus East LLC, a Rockville real estate developer.

The proposed 268,762-square-foot building will be situated on 10 acres at the University of Maryland’s M-Square Office and Industrial Complex. Construction is set to begin next spring and be completed by fall 2007.

Financial terms of the deal between Opus East and the General Services Administration, which manages real estate for federal agencies, were not disclosed.

The building will be used by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate Prediction, as well as the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service.

NOAA has about 800 employees at its current Camp Springs, Md., facility. They will be reassigned to the new building, NOAA said.

The building’s design includes rooftop gardens, energy-efficient facades and wastewater runoff components intended to comply with U.S. Green Building Council standards.

Opus East has arranged a long-term lease with the University of Maryland for the development. The university’s faculty and staff are expected to participate in the center’s scientific research.

“The NOAA building will add to the wealth of advantages and broad range of disciplines available in our university’s research park,” said C.D. Mote Jr., president of the University of Maryland at College Park.

Other features of the complex include a 700-space parking structure and a 500-seat auditorium.

Opus East is part of the Opus Group, a Minnesota commercial real estate development company.

In other news …

• GMAC Institutional Advisors plans to build a 103,823-square-foot, five-story building in Gaithersburg.

Fountain Square Properties, a Reston real estate investment firm, is participating in the joint venture.

The building, called the Lakefront at Washingtonian, will be located at 9841 Washingtonian Blvd., within the master-planned Washingtonian Development. It will include 85,649 square feet of office space and 18,714 square feet of first-floor retail space.

GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp. is providing a $20 million interim loan to the venture and $9.3 million in equity investment.

Richard Bopp, the company’s senior vice president, said the money “would allow the borrower to lease up and sell the property within a two- to three-year period.

“The acquisition is a ‘pre-sell’ strategy where the joint venture has agreed to acquire the property upon substantial completion, which is expected to take place within 12 months. This will allow leasing efforts to occur simultaneously with the construction of the building.”

• Corporate Office Properties Trust said it found a tenant for the biggest vacant property in its portfolio with a lease agreement for its 344,000-square-foot business park in Cranbury, N.J. The tenant was not identified.

Many of Corporate Office Properties Trust’s tenants are federal agencies involved with the Defense Department or their contractors. The Columbia, Md., company owns 147 office properties totaling 12.3 million rentable square feet.

• Property Lines appears on Mondays. Contact Tom Ramstack at [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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