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St. John Properties to build spec office project at Annapolis Junction Town Center

August 10, 2015  •  source

St. John Properties Inc. is taking over a 100,000-square-foot office project in Howard County that will be a central component of the Annapolis Junction Town Center development.

Columbia-based Corporate Office Properties Trust originally planned to develop the office portion of the $180 million, mixed-use Annapolis Junction development, led by master developer Somerset Construction Co. But when COPT signed on, Somerset hadn't determined whether the office project would be built on a speculative basis, said Neil Greenberg, chief operating officer of Somerset.

COPT wanted to have an anchor tenant in place before breaking ground, but Somerset decided it couldn't wait for a tenant to move ahead.

"When it came down to it, the project needed the building to go up" earlier than COPT could commit to, Greenberg said. "We really needed the building to go spec, and they said they just couldn’t do it."

COPT officials could not be reached for comment.

St. John agreed to construct the four-story, $9 million office building on spec, Greenberg said, adding COPT made the hand-off on amicable terms.

The planned office building at 10170 Junction Drive will be adjacent to the Savage MARC station, which connects to Baltimore's Inner Harbor through its Camden Line and has a 700-space commuter parking garage. The brick-and-glass office building will have 25,000-square-foot floorplates and will meet LEED Silver green-building standards.

"To be successful, mixed-use development needs as many of the building types as possible to open around the same time," Greenberg said in an email.

St. John plans to start construction in the fall, aiming for completion by fall 2016. Company officials are confident the site will be an easy sell to potential tenants.

"The development contains every essential element required for long-term success," Richard Williamson, senior vice president of leasing for St. John Properties, said in a statement.

Somerset broke ground last year on Annapolis Junction Town Center, which also includes a 150-room hotel and nearly 17,500 square feet of retail space. The project also features 416 resort-style luxury apartments and two parking garages.

Somerset acquired 12 acres of the project site from Petrie Ross Ventures LLC, then added another six acres, which allowed the company to spread out the site plan.

Somerset has worked with St. John on two other mixed-use projects.

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