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Chicago-based developer Alter Group has leased its Loudoun Gateway III building, the third structure of a planned five building, 510,000-sf office development, to fast-growing Atlantic Coast Airlines Holdings, Inc. The other two buildings in Alter’s Gateway development are expected to be leased quickly as demand for space soars in booming Northern Virginia.

“Nearby Washington Dulles International Airport is busy partly because the Northern Virginia high-tech corridor is growing so fast,” says Tom Silva, communications director at Alter. “We benefit because our client, Atlantic Coast, has benefited from increased air travel demand and needs to expand.”

Brokers in Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County, which borders the nation’s capitol, say development and leasing activity in the area’s high-tech corridor are proceeding at a frantic pace, with big deals rumored or announced almost daily.

“It’s my understanding that Exodus Communications is about to sign for one million sf at Ashburn Corporate Center, which is right across the street from America Online’s headquarters in Dulles, VA,” says Andy Klaff, SVP at Grubb & Ellis’ Vienna, VA office. “The growth in the real-estate market here is following the massive growth being created by the convergence of the Internet and telecom industries.”

Silva says that Loudoun County’s vacancy rate is a scant 3.27% and heading lower. “The second quarter prelease rate was 65% in the area, so there’s a huge incentive to speculative build on the part of developers.”

“Most of the companies that we are talking to about the last two buildings at Loudoun Gateway are in the Internet and telecommunications industries,” says Kurt Rosene, SVP national development at Alter. “Depending on how preleasing goes, we expect that the fourth building will be complete by next June, with the fifth building possibly complete by the fourth quarter of next year.

Alter Group has 6.7 million sf of office space under development nationwide, worth over $750 million.

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