Gary Haber, Staff
Cited Source: Baltimore Business Journal
The new owners of Hollander 95 Business Park are planning a massive $50 million expansion, with plans to add more than 500,000 square feet to one of Baltimore’s most visible commercial developments.
The 51-acre complex sits at the city-county line on a crest overlooking busy Interstate 95, visible to the thousands of drivers who pass by daily. But it has just a single 82,800-square-foot building now, which was built by the previous owners in 2008.
Spark’s FRP Development Corp. wants to turn that around. FRP Development bought the property, including the building, for $4.35 million at a foreclosure sale in July 2010. Its plans call for building as many as eight more buildings on the land that was the former Hollander Ridge public housing complex. The size of the buildings has not yet been determined.
The company seeks city approval for an Industrial Planned Unit Development designation that would broaden its potential uses for the site to include light manufacturing, warehousing, offices, retail and a hotel, among other uses.
“There’s great visibility from 95 and we’re trying to exploit that,” said David H. deVilliers, FRP Development’s president. The project, when fully built out, could attract as many as 500 to 1,000 workers, deVilliers said. That up from the roughly 20 people who work in the park’s lone building now.
The building, which would remain as part of the expansion, is 47 percent leased, according to NAI KLNB, which is marketing the project. The asking rent is $4.95 a square foot and tenants include Sweet Sin Bakery and T-Stats Supply Inc.
“As soon as we get the first building leased up, we’ll be building another one,” said Peter Dudley, a principal at NAI KLNB in Towson, which is handling leasing for the project.
The existing building is expected to be fully leased in about six months, deVilliers said. The project will take five to seven years to complete. FRP will use in-house capital for the project, rather than getting a bank loan or turning to other outside funding sources, he said.
FRP’s deVilliers sees leasing potential among the many construction-supply companies that line Route 40. He’s hoping to attract them to move to new space in the park, which is located at Route 40 and 62nd Street, near the Baltimore County line. He points to the mix of industrial and office tenants at FRP’s other Baltimore-area projects — Lakeside Business Park in Edgewood and Hillside Business Park in Anne Arundel County — as the model for what he wants to do at what he’s renamed Hollander Business Park.
FRP has talked to some hotel chains about adding an extended-stay hotel. But deVilliers said he isn’t focusing his project on big-box retailers. Any retail would likely be part of a warehouse, or building-supply firms, he said.
Playing off Hollander’s proximity to I-95 makes sense to Douglas Schmidt, a principal of Baltimore’s Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC.
“You can’t get better access to 95 on the east side than that location,” said Schmidt, who is not involved in the project. “This is the new, modern product in that immediate area. That would be their real advantage.”
The expansion would also be a major step for a project that city officials have hoped for years would spur new jobs. The Baltimore Development Corp., the city’s economic development arm, tapped Hollander Rock LLC, a development team led by H&H Rock Co. President Mark Levy, to develop a $32 million industrial park at the site in 2004.
Provident Bank foreclosed on the project in January 2010 after Hollander Rock allegedly missed a payment on an $11.7 million construction loan. That triggered the foreclosure auction at which FRP Development bought the property.
The BDC is backing FRP Development’s expansion plans. BDC President M.J. “Jay” Brodie asked in a memorandum to the City Council that the Council approve the project. “Passage of the bill will reenergize development efforts in this important project,” Brodie wrote.
He could not be reached for additional comment.
To get the Planned Unit Development designation, FRP Development needs the approval of the City Council and the city’s Planning Department. City Councilman Nicholas D’Adamo Jr. has introduced a bill to allow multiple uses for the property. D’Adamo could not be reached for comment.
The Planning Commission approved FRP Development’s application Sept. 22. The City Council’s Land Use and Transportation committee has scheduled a hearing for Oct 19.
The PUD designation would give the developer more options in deciding how to use the property, said NAI KLNB’s Dudley.
“It gives us some flexibility to do what the market wants,” he said. “We want to take it in a direction in which the market wants to go.”
If approved, the development plan would also allow outdoor storage of supplies like bricks, spools of wire and pipe. The site’s current industrial zoning does not permit that, which would make the complex a more attractive location for building-supply firms, Dudley said.
Still, it could be tough to attract firms related to the construction industry, a sector of the economy that has suffered in the recession, said Owen Rouse, a senior vice president at Manekin LLC in Columbia.
Hollander’s location could help overcome that, especially for companies that want to raise their profile, said Rouse, who is not involved in the project. “That park is going to have massive visibility, powerful visibility,” he said. “You’re going to have a lot of cars going by your business.”