Office demand in the Washington DC market picked up over the course of 2017. Lease rates increased, and recent 5-year statistics show growth and stability in the market. Suburban Maryland’s office demand is keeping pace throughout Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County. These markets are all offering attractive lease rates and absorption. New office construction has increased in the DC market, with 2018 construction forecast to outpace other U.S. metro areas. The Prince George’s County Office Market is expected to achieve positive net absorption in 2018 after adding of several new office buildings scheduled to deliver in the fourth quarter. The Washington DC market’s office demand is supported by a vibrant economy and a labor pool of well-diversified government and non-federal employers. Office sales volumes began to rebound in 2017 and are forecast to continue in 2018. Federal government facilities and related leases have contributed to the stability of the market, which gives office investors and landlords confidence.
Over the course of 2016, office vacancy declined in Prince George’s County and in turn, average quoted rental rates have risen steadily.
It was a year for the Prince George’s County office market. Office vacancy declined steadily every quarter, from 19.2% at the beginning of 2016 to 18.8% by year end. Based on 5-year averages and known construction activity, office vacancy is expected to drop to 17% by the end of 2017. Average full service rental rates increased in 2016, from $20.96 in Q1 to $21.43 in Q4.
A total of 114 office sale transactions were completed in 2016. These transactions totaled 2,597,862 square feet and $168,786,687 in sales volume. Many new owners plan on investing substantial capital into their assets to retain and attract tenants. For leasing, over 153 full service leases were completed, representing 530,820 square feet. One of the largest lease deals of 2016 was with the growing tech-education company, 2U Inc. They are in the process of relocating into 252,950 square feet they leased at 4900 Harkins Road in the Lanham/New Carrollton area.
Our agents have been busy making commercial real estate deals this October, from two-building office portfolios to industrial land sales. Maryland Newsletters has highlighted some of our October deals, which can be found below.
Two-Building Takedown One of Greenbelt’s Biggest Leases Ever Executed
An office lease that gobbled up two buildings was just completed in Greenbelt. Government contractor T-Rex leased both 7601 and 7615 Ora Glen Drive recently, providing it with the room to service a major Census Bureau contract. The two leases total 126,000 square feet, or approximately 78,000 feet in the larger, three-story building at 7601, and 48,000 feet in the one-story building at 7615 Ora Glen. It is Shaw Real Estate LLC whose two buildings went, with T-Rex’s arrival, from vacant to fully leased. The Baltimore-based company had bought the pair, as well as a Bank of America pad site, last fall for approximately $5 million. The three-building complex had been in distress, in the hands of special servicer C-III. Lockheed Martin’s exit from the pair had precipitated their fall into default. Shaw, headed by Steve Shaw, said when his firm acquired them that the buildings were in ‘excellent shape,’ needing little renovation beyond lobby and HVAC system upgrades. Those improvements will be completed soon. T-Rex is also reportedly touring the market for additional space. JLL represented the tenant, while NAI Michael represented the landlord. Keep reading
Over the first half of the year, 79 office leases and 18 office building sales over 15,000 square feet have demonstrated an increase in the number of transactions in Prince George’s County.
By Dave Wills
The volume of sales transactions, eight of which were investment purchases, averaged $84.93 per square foot, or a total of $55,787,949. The office leases, totaling 300,962 square feet, were term extensions or expansions of existing leases 45% of the time. Starting rents averaged $23.20/SF with full service terms. Rents usually included some remodeling or interior office construction. There were five executed leases that exceeded 10,000 square feet totaling 134,564 square feet with terms averaging five years. Below are the top three commercial property sales and the top three business office leases in the county that were executed by mid-2016.
- Metro Plaza (Metro East) – 8100-8300 Professional Place, Landover:
A four-building office property totaling 175,717 square feet was sold on May 6, 2016 for $13.175 million ($74.98/SF). The buildings were 75% leased at the time of sale. Market lease rates were $21.95/SF full service for comparable buildings in the Landover submarket.
- Corporate Plaza (Metro East) – 8200-8400 Corporate Drive, Landover:
A three-building office property totaling 179,062 square feet was sold on June 14, 2016 for $14.6 million ($81.54/SF). The buildings were 82% leased at the time of sale. Market lease rates were $21.95/SF full service for comparable buildings in the Landover submarket. The Metro East buildings are located near the intersection of the Capital Beltway (I-495) and Route 50. They are within walking distance of the New Carrollton transit station.
- Triangle Centre – 6401 Golden Triangle Drive, Greenbelt:
A four-story, 80,454 SF office building was sold on June 2, 2016 for $4 million ($49.72/SF). The building was 44.7% leased at the time of sale. The building is brick construction and includes interior/exterior structured parking. Market lease rates were $21.87/SF full service for comparable buildings in the Greenbelt submarket. The building is located near the intersection of Greenbelt Road and Kenilworth Avenue, with direct access to the Capital Beltway.
- In the first quarter of 2016, ATA Aerospace leased approximately 12,000 square feet at Maryland Trade Center II, 7474 Greenway Center Drive, Greenbelt. The space will be used for a NASA contract along with ASRC Federal Space and Defense.
- Fluor Enterprises leased approximately 44,000 square feet at 6801-6811 Kenilworth Avenue in the Calvert Metro Park, Riverdale. Fluor Enterprises will be working on WMATA’s Purple Line, which is scheduled to be completed in 2022. The Purple Line is a 16-mile light rail line that will extend from Montgomery County through College Park and onto New Carrollton in Prince George’s County.
- 2U, Inc., a software company, has signed a lease for approximately 252,950 square feet at 4900 Harkins Road in Lanham. They will be relocating from nearby 8201 Corporate Drive in Landover, vacating approximately 80,000 square feet. The move is scheduled for the 2nd quarter 2017.
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Our 2016 mid-year office market report indicates that there is an office market activity boost in Prince George’s County during the first two quarters of the year.
Over the first half of the year, increased interest in Prince George’s County contributed to an office market activity boost. The County’s office market is showing signs of growth, while the Washington DC office market has been slowing down. One reason for this is the attractive rental rates in Prince George’s County. The average office rental rate is approximately $30 less in Prince George’s County than in the District of Columbia.
Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of transactions in the county – 79 full service office leases and 18 office sales over 15,000 square feet have been completed. As we’ve recently reported, this is part of the dramatic increase in office investment sales in suburban Maryland. We expect sales of multi-tenanted office buildings to ultimately benefit office tenants. There will be a push to upgrade and renovate properties to more modern standards. This means that some buildings will finally receive long-awaited upgrades, both cosmetic and in the systems that support their workplace environments.
2016 is poised to be a great year for the office market, thanks to an increase in office investment sales in suburban Maryland. We are already seeing major growth in the number of sales and the total square footage being sold throughout Prince George’s, Montgomery, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties.
By the end of June 2015, the suburban Maryland* market saw 43 buildings sold, with a total of 2,856,583 square feet – the equivalent of nearly 6 football fields – according to data NAI Michael has gathered from the CoStar Group**. This year so far, CoStar reports the sale of 53 buildings and a total of 4,227,305 square feet. In other words, the first half of 2016 has seen a 19 percent increase in the number of buildings sold and a 32 percent increase in total square footage sold.
NAI Michael’s Office Report for Quarter 3 in 2013 is available!
The Prince George’s County office market totals approximately 26,402,329 square feet in 1,133 buildings. Lease rates and vacancy continue at the same levels they have been for the last five quarters. The lease rates for Prince George’s County are a good value compared to rates in Washington D.C. and other suburban areas in the region.