Prince George’s County’s Ripe for GSA Tenancy

Market Insight

By Monique A. Walker, Associate, NAI Michael

There is a growing trend to look toward Prince George’s County, MD to house GSA contractors and Federal Agencies, as development costs as well as security and transportation logistics become central to Tenancy opportunities.  Hard to find developable areas near the Capital Beltway and on metro rail have put Prince George’s County in a class of its own, as the county has available green space, ripe for development.  In particular, the Branch Avenue metro rail and Joint Base Andrews (formerly named Andrews Air Force Base) business corridors offer endless development possibilities and great incentives for GSA Tenants who wish to be located just off a major interstate and on metro rail, and in proximity to the multi-faceted Joint Base Andrews.

Joint Base Andrews and the Branch Avenue metro-rail are approximately 1 mile apart, affording each corridor the benefit of the other. Joint Base Andrews corridor offers base-related growth and access to the Capital Beltway.  The Branch Avenue metro rail corridor, located just inside the Capital Beltway, boasts the largest east coast campus of Strayer University and offers a quick commute to the seat of government in Washington, DC, as well as several acres of developable land.  The potential for a symbiotic relationship where the expansion of duties of the Joint Base, and the attendant need for office space will connect the two corridors, has led to regional appeal.  As a result, the two corridors are being considered by highly sought after Federal Tenants.

Currently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering procuring One Town Center, a proposed development project, which will include 1.8 million square feet office space on a 13-acre campus at the Branch Avenue metro.  The proposed campus, which has the capacity to house 6,400 government personnel, was initiated by Washington-DC based Town Center at Camp Springs LLC in response to an RFP by DHS.

Similarly, the Allentown Road Corridor, the highly traveled gateway to Joint Base just received a major tenant, as the Washington DC based Veterans Affairs Hospital has chosen to expand into Prince George’s County, MD.  Their highly anticipated VA Medical Center will open in 2011 just outside of the gates of Joint Base Andrews, in the Andrews Federal Building Corporation Professional Office Building (5801 Allentown Road, Camp Springs, MD).  NAI Michael Companies represents the Landlords and initiated a proposal in response to a RFP to bring the roughly 10,000 square foot medical center to the community.  Some of the known factors that played into the decision making for the executives of the Veterans Affairs Hospital were the proximity of the class “A” office building to public transportation and the BRAC positive impact zone.

Bolstering the growth efforts of the region are three major initiatives currently incentivizing development of Joint Base Andrews and Branch Avenue metro corridors.  They include being in Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) zones, Transit Orient Development (TOD) zones and a 2007 Federal mandate to consider Prince George’s County as a jurisdiction for housing Federal Agencies.

It is anticipated that BRAC will bring more defense and support contractors as this region continues to be greatly impacted by the influx of military agencies relocating to Maryland from deactivated military bases around the country.  It is expected that the expansion of the Base will necessitate defense contractors to relocate near the base to better serve the Joint Base’s growing functions.

Transit Orient Development (TOD) is expected to ease the cost burden of developers in the area surrounding the Branch Avenue metro, and bring Maryland State government tenants.  According to a June 18, 2010 press release from Governor Martin O’Malley, TOD offers opportunities through the Maryland Economic Development Corporation to prioritize State assistance by Maryland Department of Transportation and other agencies on the Governor’s Smart Growth Subcabinet, including housing and economic development.  Further, financing by MDOT can go toward predevelopment planning and feasibility analysis, and the TOD zones are given priority consideration for the location of State offices and laboratories. It is the combination of these factors which are expected to spur development and consequently encourage the construction of housing, retail, and office buildings around the Branch Avenue metro. The potential is great for the creation of a powerful region connecting the Branch Avenue and Joint Base Andrews corridors.

These development opportunities are unique to Prince George’s County, Maryland, as other metropolitan area jurisdictions are overdeveloped.  This is because as development besieged the northern, northwestern and southwestern suburban metropolis over the past 30 years, Prince George’s County, Maryland located to the south and east of The District of Columbia remained green.  During that period, many existing federal agency office buildings in neighboring jurisdictions have become obsolete, as they no longer meet the security set-back and construction requirements, including newly crafted standards focused on energy efficiency and the use of Green materials. Prince George’s County, Maryland commercial real estate market provides several opportunities for build-to-suit development near metro rail and major thoroughfares in close proximity to the Federal Government. This scenario is also economically sound, as a build-to-suit is more cost-friendly and cleaner than redeveloping an existing site that has lost its functionality.

GSA Tenant opportunities in Prince George’s County will continue to grow, as legislation initiated by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who represents Prince George’s County, MD, has mandated that Prince George’s County, MD, which as historically not been a jurisdiction of great consideration, be considered for housing Federal and the General Service Administration (GSA) agencies.  Consequently, Prince George’s County’s assets are being recognized and continues to be the focus of several government-sponsored RFP’s.  Prince George’s County, MD based NAI Michael Companies is focused on monitoring RFP offerings to ensure Prince George’s County office and land is put in front of the decision makers.

Monique Anderson Walker is an 11-year licensed realtor in Maryland and the District of Columbia and is a Landlord Representative for the Andrews Federal Building Corporation Professional Office Building.  Feel free to contact her by phone at (301) 918.2943, or by email mwalker@naimichael.com to request information regarding some of her other available properties.

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