A joint venture between Emory Properties and Ryan Development has quietly begun work on a 160,000 square foot Class A speculative office building in the Emerson Corporate Commons in North Laurel. The four story building was originally planned for a spring delivery but the recession temporarily derailed the project when the capital markets froze last year. It is the only new office project started in Howard County this year.
The developers are making a bet that the local economy will rebound significantly in the next twelve months. It is a large bet with personal fortunes on the line. It is also a stark reminder that real estate development is a high risk game. While critics often decry the profits that are generated by our industry the very real downside risk is often overlooked.
I have a close personal relationship with this development. It will be my task to secure a tenant (or tenants) to insure the economic viability of the building. I also own a small equity stake. The next year will undoubtedly produce more than a few sleepless nights.