ABERDEEN, MD-After extensive negotiations, Opus East LLC and the US Army have signed a master agreement outlining the terms and conditions under which Opus will develop the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground site. The agreement will serve as a template for future Army enhanced-use leasing projects.

The project, called GATE, Government and Technology Enterprise project, is a two-million-sf office, R&D and technology business park for the government and private sector. It is the first multi-phase enhanced use leasing project that allows the Army to lease under utilized property to the private sector, Tim Hutchens, executive vice president with CB Richard Ellis, tells GlobeSt.com.

Prior projects have been single-phase development or redevelopments of facilities, he says. “This agreement will set the stage for multi-phase projects in the future.”

CBRE was selected to run marketing and leasing services for the GATE project about a year ago, but the company could not sign any leases until this agreement was completed, Hutchens explains. Opus plans to start construction on the first buildings no later than the first quarter of 2007.

According to Tom Kretzschmar, Baltimore District project manager for the US Army Corps of Engineers, the document prescribes the terms and methodologies that will be used in the individual site leases. “It sets the vision for how the development will proceed and fully identifies the duties and responsibilities of the chosen developer,” he says in a statement.

“A private party-in this case, Opus East LLC, finances, constructs and operates the development,” Kretzchmar says. “The developer is able to control and build on a large, well-located tract of land adjacent to the military installation and to offer buildings to tenants who require proximity to the Army. The land the project occupies is critical to the long-term mission of the Post but underutilized today.”

According to Kretzschmar, approximately 25 enhanced-use leasing projects are under development or being planned at military bases from Alaska to Florida. Geoffry Lilja, senior director of Opus East tells GlobeSt.com that Opus is currently looking at several of these opportunities.

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