Real estate developer Opus East LLC of Rockville, Md., has signed a 13-year lease agreement with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for development of a 268,762 sq. ft. office and research complex in Riverdale Park, Md., on the campus of the University of Maryland. Spaulding & Slye represented the GSA in the transaction.

The new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) office will house the Center for Weather and Climate Prediction and anchor the university's research park.

The project will include a 700-space parking structure, a 500-seat auditorium and two large outdoor woodland areas. Opus East hopes to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification for the project. James Lee, president and CEO of Opus East LLC, says his company's approach to the project works well with the GSA's and NOAA's desires to inhabit a building that is environmentally sound.

“Our collaborative design-build approach is a perfect match for this important project,” Lee says. “The building will slope and curve with the landscape, and it will feature truly world-class architecture.”

The $75 million, 7.5-acre project will comply with federal standards for forest protection.

Opus East will also work as the project's contractor alongside HOK, design architect. Ground breaking is expected to begin in spring of 2006, with project completion slated for fall 2007.