- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Penzance Companies expects to begin construction in early April on two large new office buildings near Washington Dulles International Airport in another indication of how quickly Fairfax and Loudoun counties are growing.

“It’s very robust out there,” said Thomas D. Fleury, Penzance Cos. vice president for development.

The real estate company is negotiating with several organizations about locating their national or regional headquarters in the $100 million complex, to be called Dulles View.

They declined to name the potential tenants for the eight-story buildings, each one to be 177,000 square feet.

“This is a project in process,” Mr. Fleury said.

Dulles View is only the latest of several projects that are turning the Dulles corridor into a high-tech zone to rival Montgomery County.

Others include the One Loudoun complex announced by a partnership of developers last month.

It would encompass 3 million square feet of office space, 600,000 square feet of retail space and 1,800 homes around a World Trade Center concept of international business and technology.

In addition, Howard Hughes Medical Institute is nearly finished building a biomedical campus off Route 7 in Ashburn, Va. It is designed to bring together some of the world’s best scientists on a 281-acre campus to research gene proteins, biomedical imaging and similar issues.

Real estate investment advisers say the developments are certain to attract more growth to the area near Dulles Airport.

“Investors will be drawn to the area by population growth and a concentration of major employers,” Marcus & Millichap, a real estate investment brokerage company, said in its national apartment report for 2006.

Fairfax County information technology businesses reported a 51.5 percent increase in venture capital investments to $296.9 million last year, which is up from the $196 million invested in 2004, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Robyn Bailey, manager of business infrastructure for the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development, said the planned Metrorail extension to Dulles Airport is a catalyst for investment and real estate developments in the area.

“There are more planned than have actually come online,” she said.

Chris Jahrling, general manager of Turner Construction Co., which is building a $250 million automated people mover between terminals at Dulles Airport, said, “Transportation rules” in terms of determining the sites for the new developments.

In other news …

• International property development and investment company Grosvenor has sold nine office buildings totaling 366,483 square feet at WesTech Business Park in Silver Spring to PS Business Parks Inc. of Glendale, Calif.

Currently over 97 percent leased, WesTech is a 250-acre master-planned business park with more than 500,000 square feet of office and flex space.

The sale was part of Grosvenor’s “strategy to concentrate our holdings in four major markets — Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco — while focusing on office and retail product,” said Andrew Galbraith, Grosvenor vice president.

Property Lines runs Thursdays. Call Tom Ramstack at (202) 636-3180 or e-mail [email protected]

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