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LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, MD-Opus East has broken ground on a 160,000-sf, class A office that it is developing here in the West*Quest Technology Park–a $40 million spec investment that by happenstance recently became fully leased. Earlier this month, the developer inked a full building, 10-year lease with Northrop Grumman Corp., finalizing the deal even before it had selected a broker to market the property, Matt Holbrook, senior director of real estate for Opus East, tells GlobeSt.com.

“We purchased the [9.5-acre] land last year with the full expectation to build speculatively,” Holbrook says. “We bought the property, started the design process, started the entitlement process and began interviewing brokers for the building.” Then, several weeks before groundbreaking was scheduled, he says, the company found itself “pleasantly surprised to be in serious negotiations with Northrop.” At that point Opus hadn’t made a final choice of broker and decided to move forward with the lease negotiations on its own. The asking rate for the building, had it gone to market, would have been $31 per sf to $32 per sf, full service, he says.

Opus hadn’t anticipated difficultly leasing the building, Holbrook says. The building, which is expected to deliver in Q3 2009, is going up on the last available plot in the park that can be developed. Northrop is using the building to consolidate its Electronic Systems operations, many of which are located nearby and in the park itself.

Once completed, the building will be part of Opus’ regional defense industry development portfolio, joining the Government and Technology Enterprise, a 700-acre park Opus is developing at the US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, and Patriot Ridge, an office complex adjacent to the new National Geospatial Intelligence Agency headquarters on the Engineering Proving Ground of Fort Belvoir in Springfield, VA.

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