BETHESDA, MD-First Potomac Realty Trust continues to build out its portfolio, acquiring Gateway 270 West, a flex/office development in Clarksburg, Md., from Forsgate Industrial Partners for $39.5 million in cash. Gateway 270, a six-building complex totaling 254,625 sf, is currently 55% leased to 10 tenants. With this latest acquisition, First Potomac now owns approximately 1.5 million sf in Montgomery County’s rapidly growing I-270 Corridor.

Nicholas R. Smith, First Potomac’s chief investment officer, likes the valuations properties in this submarket offer. “We have been closely monitoring the increasing rental rates in the I-270 Corridor,” he said in a statement. “The market has improved dramatically and has tightened in recent months. We know the tenants in this market very well and expect that controlling a large share of the available space will enable us to lease the vacant space quickly at attractive rents.”

It comes as little surprise to anyone watching the company that First Potomac is still in acquisition mode. During Q2 First Potomac completed two acquisitions, worth $36.1 million. It also said it expected to close on four properties aggregating approximately $72 million during Q3, subject to final due diligence.

The company appears poised to ramp up its acquisitions beyond these deals, however. In recent weeks it has raised $90.2 million in public share offerings. It has also paid off a $125 million line of credit with some of the proceeds, giving it amply capital to continue to build, especially as it has the ability to increase the line to $225 million under certain circumstances. “We expect to see at least $130 million [in acquisitions] for the remainder of the year,” Charles Place, an analyst with Ferris, Baker Watts, Inc. tells

Place recently changed his rating of First Potomac to neutral from buy, however, in part because of lowered revenue expectations from the company’s 2006 property acquisitions and higher G&A expenses. In general, he says, “I think where they are currently trading is a fair value relative to other industrial flex.”

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