The first building of a proposed multi-million-dollar office complex is set to open in Germantown next week, reviving a decade-old corporate park north of Route 118 that has lanquished since the mid-1970s.
The new complex is being designed, built and leased by Bellemead Development Corp., a subsidiary of Chubb Corp., which has built corporate complexes in New Jersey, Michigan and Illinois.
"We've been looking to enter the Washington, D.C., area for a while now," said James H. Voegler, Bellemead's project manager. "We chose Germantown because the site was ready to go--the roads and utilities were already in place."
The new complex is part of a surge of commercial and residential development in the Germantown area, said John Matthias, planning coordinator for Montgomery County.
He said the corporate park along Route 118 was started 12 years ago. Century 21 built three buildings there but development came to a halt because of a slowed economy and legal tangles.
"We are hoping to develop Germantown as a full community, like Reston, where residential and commercial support each other," said Matthias. "This new development is welcome."
Matthais estimated that the population of Germantown, now 12,000, will increase to 100,000 in 20 years as new commercial development spurs residential development.
The Bellemead complex is expected eventually to provide a million square feet of office space on a 60-acre site within the corporate park, said Voegler. He believes that it will take eight years to complete the planned complex, which is to include a luxury hotel and convention facilities.
The first building of the complex was erected this past year at a cost of $8 million. Voegler said the 106,000 square feet of office space in the building will lease for $14 to $15 a foot, comparable to other new office buildings in the area.
Although the building, called 270 Corporate Center, is scheduled to open this week, Bellemead has not signed any tenants.
"We have high-tech and research and development firms that are interested," he said.
Bellemead also is constructing a piece of sculpture in a courtyard next to 270 Corporate Center.
Voegler said the company held a sculpture competition at Montgomery College and chose a 16-foot-high concrete and metal piece designed by freshman art student Karen Rafaels. Bellemead has given a $5,000 art scholarship to the school in return for the design.
"We like to provide amenities," said Voegler of the sculpture. "And it is a good way to present ourselves to the community."