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Council hears plans for office complex near Coast Guard site

November 10, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Martinsburg City Council voted unanimously Thursday to have annexation ordinances drafted for about 27 acres off Edwin Miller Boulevard that the owners said will be the site of commercial office space that is attractive to federal agencies.

Thomas L. Burke of Bluewater LLC told council members convened for their regular November session that he learned of the government's need for additional office space through his existing relationship with the General Services Administration, the agency charged with real estate matters.

Burke said he leases space to the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of Prisons and now hopes to build up to 350,000 square feet of office space on two parcels he has asked to be annexed.

In a Nov. 3 letter to City Manager Mark Baldwin, Burke and his business partner, Wayne Palkovic, said both agencies indicated a need for more space and that the FBI and several government contract organizations had "been in touch..."

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Among the reasons Burke and Palkovic cited for requesting the annexation were the potential to have the acreage designated by the city as a tax increment finance district and the ability to attract contract agencies who wish to be close to the future U.S. Coast Guard's National Maritime Center. The Maritime Center is expected to be at the intersection of Edwin Miller Boulevard and the future route for the Raleigh Street Extension.

Both developments would be served by a road parallel to Edwin Miller Boulevard, between the proposed Raleigh Street Extension and connected to Lutz Avenue at the northern end near Comfort Inn, Burke said.

Burke, who also is president of Mid-States Financial Group in Martinsburg, told councilman Donald Anderson on Thursday that the project would not include residential development.

And he clarified after leaving council chambers that the project would complement a neighboring residential/commercial development known as Potomac Professional Services LLC.

Baldwin said in the council meeting that the road would help with traffic flow onto Edwin Miller Boulevard.

Though clearly supportive of the annexation, Mayor George Karos explained to Burke that the ordinances to codify the city's northward expansion could not be adopted until after three readings, which requires two council meetings.

Burke said afterward that he would like to break ground on the project in February.

As part of the council's motion, City Attorney Claudia Bentley was directed to draft the documents for a 23.68-acre parcel owned by Bluewater LLC and a neighboring 3.49 parcel owned by LEB Enterprises LLC for the next regular council meeting. Burke, along with Tammi L. Burke, own LEB Enterprises, according to a separate letter they sent to Baldwin.

The limited liability companies are headquartered in Meridian Professional Court off Edwin Miller Boulevard.

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