ERCI Facilities Service Corp., a subsidiary of ERC International of Fairfax, has been awarded a five-year, $7.7 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda to set up and operate a reference and research center for drugs and reagents used in AIDS research.

The repository will be located in Rockville and is expected to be in operation by April.

The center will be a "big high-tech warehousing operation where you have to maintain environmental and security controls," according to Joseph G. Procopio, vice president of corporate communications for ERCI.

The center will be one of four AIDS research resources recognized by the World Health Organization and will function as a clearinghouse for biological and chemical substances by acquiring, storing and standardizing reagents in larger quantities than individual laboratories can, Procopio said. The center also will obtain chemicals in bulk and ship them to clinics worldwide, Procopio said.

Two local firms that appraise broadcast and electronic communications properties -- Broadcast Investment Analysts Inc., based at Dulles International Airport, and Frazier, Gross & Kadlec Inc. of Washington -- have announced plans to merge. The deal is expected to close in March.

Each firm will retain its name, and both will operate from Broadcast Investment Analysts' offices at Dulles. Thomas J. Buono will remain president of Broadcast Investment Analysts and will be chief executive officer of the combined firms.

Charles H. Kadlec will remain president of Frazier, Gross & Kadlec and will serve as executive vice president for business development for both firms.

The staff of both firms will be combined and reorganized, Kadlec said.

Provident Bankshares Corp. of Baltimore and Federal Savings Bank of Maryland in Baltimore have announced plans to merge.

The proposed merger is subject to final approval by the boards of both companies and the appropriate regulatory agencies, a spokesman for Provident said. Terms of the merger were not disclosed.

Federal Savings has four branch offices, in Baltimore, Harford, Carroll and Frederick counties and had assets of $64 million, deposits of $58 million, and net worth of $3.4 million at the end of 1987. Provident Bankshares operates 35 branch offices in the metropolitan Baltimore area and had total assets of $1.1 billion, total deposits of $999 million and net worth of $114 million at the end of 1987.

Landmark Communications Inc. of Norfolk has purchased an 80 percent interest in Environmental Satellite Data Inc. of Suitland for an undisclosed amount.

Landmark is a privately held media company that publishes several publications, including The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star in Norfolk. Landmark has other broadcast properties, including The Weather Channel, a cable television network that is available in about 32 million homes nationwide.

John O. Wynne, president of the broadcasting and video enterprises division of Landmark Corp., said ESD, a weather information company that develops and sells weather computer systems and data packages, is a logical complement to Landmark's Weather Channel.

Larry and Terry Hambrick, who founded ESD in 1980, will remain as chief operating officer and director of sales and marketing, respectively.

Announcements of news and developments affecting Washington area companies should be sent to Pamela Babcock, researcher, Business News Department, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Information must be received the Monday before publication to be considered for inclusion in Washington Business.