First Potomac Realty Trust signed new leases recently to keep two local businesses from leaving Prince George’s County.

Vocus, a company that provides software for public relations management, and FF&E Logistics, a company that specializes in turnkey service for the hospitality industry, signed agreement deals in total of about 125,000 square feet in the Ammendale Business Park in Beltsville. It is expected that the two deals will keep over 400 jobs in Prince George’s County.

While many may shy away from selling real estate in P.G. County, First Potomac Realty Trust said the county has been good for business for many reasons.

“We’ve owned assets in Prince George’s for years,” said Tim Zulick, senior vice president for leasing for First Potomac Realty Trust. “It’s another one of the great counties that surround the beltway.”

For Vocus, the opportunity to stay in the county made a lot of sense economically.

“We have an office here already and now that we’ll be 10 miles away, we think that’ll be suitable for our employees,” said Frank Strong, a spokesperson for Vocus. “Certainly, when we were looking all options were on the table, but the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (PGCEDC) teamed up and gave us a package of about a $1 million in savings.”

That partnership is what has PGCEDC President and CEO Kwasi Holman ecstatic.

“We worked very closely with Vocus and we’re pleased that they’ve decided to remain in the county,” Holman said. “We’re always excited when companies make location decisions to choose Prince George’s County.”

Strong also admitted that the Lanham-based company is simply happy with the situation in the county and that an opportunity to stay would have been ideal, instead of moving outside of the county’s borders.

The property Vocus will be entering be a 93,000-square-foot facility. In trying to sell the facility, First Potomac renovated the exterior of the building and will now renovate the interior to meet Vocus’ specifications.

It is expected that Vocus will move to the facility in early 2011.
FF&E signed a five-year deal with First Potomac for their 32,000- square-foot warehouse space. It is expected to take occupancy in June of this year.

“My broker found this warehouse for me and it’s a great location,” said Steve Shear, founder of FF&E. “Now that I’m here I don’t plan on leaving.”

Due to the market, the buildings in which both companies are moving into laid vacant for a few years, but the sale of the two properties has people saying the county may be on the verge of a rebound.

“It’s been a slow market all over, especially in the Baltimore-Washington corridor,” said Zulick. “I think getting these two deals inked just goes to show there’s a lot of strength in that county.”

Holman agrees with Zulick, as he says Prince George’s is ready and capable to accept any and all businesses.

“This indicates that the county is open for business,” Holman said. “We have a very responsive team who will go the extra mile to make sure companies will make the right decision to locate here in the county. It’s a continuation of a trend we’ve seen for several years.”


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO