Merritt Properties Closes 36-Acre Land Purchase for Office Park Near Baltimore-Area Army Base

Preparing to answer growing demand induced by the federal government's Base Realignment and Closure process, Merritt Properties wraps up the acquisition of a nearly 36-acre site for the development of a 265,900-square-foot office park in Aberdeen, Maryland.

September 2, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Preparing to answer growing demand induced by the federal government’s Base Realignment and Closure process, Merritt Properties wraps up the acquisition of a nearly 36-acre site for the development of a 265,900-square-foot office park in Aberdeen, Maryland. The property is located just two miles from the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground and approximately 35 miles outside of Baltimore.

The project, Aberdeen Corporate Park, will sit at 635-660 McHenry Road within a designated Harford County Enterprise Zone. The five-structure, Class A complex will consist of two three-story buildings accounting for an aggregate 190,400 square feet of office space, one two-story building featuring 63,500 square feet of office space, two retail pad sites totaling 12,000 square feet and a fitness facility. Merritt plans to obtain LEED Gold certification for the three office buildings.

As a result of the BRAC process, 8,000 new employees will soon call Aberdeen Proving Ground home, and by the time 2015 rolls around, the base will have a bout 22,000 military and civilian workers on site. To accommodate the growth, the Army is investing approximately $1 billion to construct 3 million square feet of office, laboratory and testing space. However, that additional space will not sufficiently meet the needs of the government-related businesses that will grow or materialize in line with the expansion of Aberdeen Proving Ground’s staff.

“The effects of BRAC related growth should begin to be felt, especially the latter part of 2010 into 2011,” according to a midyear report by commercial real estate services firm Cassidy Turley. “Expected demand requires the timely availability of space to accommodate the contractors required to be close to the operations they are serving. Fifty-five percent of the space being built in Harford County has been pre-leased.”

BRAC is also having an impact on the Fort Meade army installation in Hanover County. BRAC will result in the addition of approximately 5,400 military, Defense Department, civilian and contractor employees to the neighboring to the base, not to mention the accompanying 4,900 family members.

So, with BRAC presenting a prime opportunity for developers, the government is not alone in the effort to address impending office demand from both Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade. Private office endeavors, in addition to Merritt’s Aberdeen Corporate Park, are in the works. The 1.6 million-square-foot Oxford Square, a mixed-use project under development by Preston Partners about sit six miles from Fort Meade, got a financial shot in the arm earlier this month with a capital investment from Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds.

Increased office demand spurred by BRAC will impact other commercial real estate sectors in the area, too. As per the Cassidy Turley report, “Many of the service businesses which will benefit from the spending generated by this activity may also have reason to expand.”

The first office building at Merritt’s Aberdeen Corporate Park is due to deliver in summer 2011.