O’Malley’s Bechtel move pulls another major tenant off the market


Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced last week that he had agreed to issue Bechtel a $9.5 million loan to stay put. (Brian Witte/AP)

Austerity — or is it just political gridlock? — has prevented the federal government from approving new consolidations and space requests that many landlords were banking on. Had your eye on that big Department of Homeland Security lease? That search was cancelled. Were you trying to catch the eye of the folks at the National Science Foundation, in the interest of convincing them to relocate from the 630,000 square feet they lease in Arlington? Congress hasn’t approved that search request.

The private leasing market, meanwhile, has shown few signs of life.

Then there’s Bechtel.

The California-based engineering and construction services firm that employs 1,250 people in Frederick, had been considering other parts of the region, in what would be have been an enviable anchor for major new developments in Rosslyn, Tysons Corner or Montgomery County. That was until last week when Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced that he had agreed to issue the company a $9.5 million loan to stay put.

That is good for Frederick. For office developers that want to build now, the number of prizes continues to wane.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.

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