COPT Breaks Ground on Maryland Office Project

Corporate Office Properties Trust has broken ground on the first office building at North Gate Business Park located adjacent to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County, Md. COPT will soon start a second building at the site. The 80,000- to 85,000-square-foot buildings will cost an estimated $16.5 million each, for a total of $33 million. Planned to accommodate 765,000 square feet of office space, North Gate is among the first office parks being developed expressly to service defense contractors moving to Maryland in connection with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). “This couldn’t come a better time for Maryland, given today’s economic challenges,” Randall Griffin, president & CEO of COPT, told CPN. “Maryland estimates that BRAC will bring 60,000 new jobs to the state, plus the ripple effect beyond. Aberdeen Proving Ground will likely get 8,200 new jobs, with 10,000 to 12,000 more jobs for contractors providing support services. “While we have not pre-leased any space, we think there will be good tenant demand thanks to defense contractors moving from Fort Monmouth [New Jersey] to Aberdeen,” Mary Ellen Fowler, vice president & treasurer of COPT, told CPN. The project is being developed specifically for defense contractors moving to Aberdeen to support the Department of Defense C4ISR Mission (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), which is relocating from Monmouth, N.J. “You’ll see more and more of this in Maryland,” added Griffin. Despite the credit crunch, financing for the project was not an issue. COPT tapped one of its two $220 million-plus lines of credit.