LEESBURG, VA-A trade association concerned with automotive service has chosen an airport as the site to enter the commercial real estate development business.The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence has purchased 32 acres near the Leesburg Executive Airport and the Dulles Greenway where it plans to build its new headquarters.It has also engaged Cambridge Development to handle the project and coordinate future development and sales on the property.

NIASE paid $3 million for the property off Sycolin Road in the Leesburg Airport Commerce Center.The seller was Reynolds Metals Development Co. KLNB represented both buyer and seller in the transaction.

NIASE expects to break ground on a 36,000-sf headquarters building in March, and complete it by the end of 2001. That’s only the beginning, however. The entire property has room for up to 325,000 sf of office, R&D and flex space, according to John Cunningham of Cambridge. NIASE is deciding whether to build more commercial space, sell raw land or do a combination of both.

“Our goal is to accelerate the development plans so we can meet the strong demand for space in this sub-market,” Cunningham says.

The site has attracted interest from other end-users because of its location, says Kevin Goeller, another KLNB broker. Once NIASE has finalized its plans, it can negotiate with tenants that want an airport location and up to 500,000 sf of existing office and flex space, he notes.

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