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FREDERICK, MD-Merchants Properties LLC in Baltimore has picked up an 83,000-sf, two-story flex asset here for $10.9 million. The seller was local firm Crest Ridge Development.

Michael Royce, senior director of Industrial Brokerage Services for Cushman & Wakefield in Bethesda, Md., represented Merchants. Nancy Greene, with MacIntosh in Frederick represented Crest Ridge. The class B building’s main tenants are Expo Exchange, a provider of convention logistics, and a judiciary organization of the state of Maryland.

Crest Ridge owned 1888 and 1890 W. Market St. for about eight years prior to its sale. In 2004 it added an additional 30,000 sf of pure office space in the rear of the original structure. This sale was the first for the submarket this year, Royce says.

Last year a handful of flex buildings traded hands here including Corporate Office Properties Trust’s purchase of the Farmer Mechanics Bldg., a 117,803-sf low rise building for $17 million and Cross-Frederick Associates LLC acquired a 81,720 sf single tenant facility for $8.5 million.

Royce says the market is a fast growing one. He attributes much of the growth to nearby Ft. Dietrich. “Also, the labor market here is excellent and transportation infrastructure is quite good too.” Another factor behind the growth in this area is the relatively low rental rates compared to Montgomery County, which has a limited supply of flex-office. Royce says rental rates for a building comparable to the one on West Market Street run about $18 per sf.

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