Grants awarded to two area housing assistance programs
Two Baltimore-area housing assistance programs received grants last week from NeighborWorks America. Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore received a $252,200 grant, while St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center was granted $150,500. Both organizations are members of the national NeighborWorks network. Dan Ellis, executive director of the Neighborhood Housing Services group, said the funding would be used in the Park Heights community. The St. Ambrose Housing Center said the funding would be used to fund its work in housing counseling, home purchasing and foreclosure assistance. The grant was presented to the groups by Rep. Elijah C. Cummings, D-Md., who has been active in congressional efforts to investigate abuses by mortgage servicing companies.
Vacant East Baltimore paint plant demolished, to neighborhood’s joy
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young and other city officials joined members of the Berea and Orangeville communities last week for a demolition event for the former Ainsworth Paint facility at 3200 E. Biddle St. in East Baltimore. The former paint production plant, consisting of a 42,354-square-foot manufacturing facility and a smaller laboratory building on approximately 1.5 acres, has been vacant since 1988, an eyesore and a nuisance to nearby communities. In 2007, the City Council approved an ordinance allowing the city to acquire the property through condemnation. The city got the Small Business Administration to release a $1.1 million lien against the property, and the Environmental Protection Agency agreed not to pursue cost recovery actions for emergency work completed in 1995. City officials awarded the demolition contract to Potts & Callahan in September 2011.
Three more cities and towns added to Main Street program roster
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond A. Skinner announced Monday that three new cities and towns have been designated as Main Street Maryland communities under the department’s Main Street Maryland Program. The latest additions to the state’s roster of Main Street Maryland communities are Centreville, Ocean City and Sykesville, bringing to 26 the number of Main Street communities throughout the state. Main Street Maryland is a comprehensive downtown revitalization program that was created in 1998. Communities are competitively selected to participate in the program. According to the state housing department, the program has helped with the opening of 1,392 new businesses and the creation of 5,574 new jobs throughout the state. The National Main Streets Conference will be held in Baltimore from April 1-4.
NAI network acquired by Texas company
KLNB represents NAI in Baltimore-Washington area C-III Capital Partners LLC, of Irving, Texas, recently completed the acquisition of NAI Global, the largest network of independent commercial real estate firms worldwide, represented in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan marketplace by KLNB LLC. NAI Global will continue to operate as a separate entity under its current management, while C-III will explore business development opportunities in strategic locations, including New York, London, Singapore and other primary global business centers. KLNB employs 77 full-time real estate brokerage professionals, of which 36 are principals of the company. Earlier this year, KLNB announced it had participated in more than $1.2 billion in commercial real estate transactions through its five full-service offices servicing the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia marketplaces in 2011, an all-time record for the 44-year-old company.
Riderwood residents help Habitat for Humanity
Residents of Riderwood, a retirement community in Silver Spring, are making kitchen cabinets in their campus woodworking shop to help Montgomery County Habitat for Humanity renovate a house in Silver Spring. The house was destroyed by a fire in January 2010. Once rehabilitated, it will be occupied by a married couple with three children. The husband has worked for the Montgomery County Police Department in the Criminal Data Unit for nearly 10 years; his wife is a homemaker. Riderwood residents are making a dozen kitchen cabinets, working six days a week in order to complete the work before March 17, when the family is scheduled to move into the house. Riderwood Friends of Habitat for Humanity was created in 2006 to partner with local Habitat for Humanity affiliates to provide simple, decent and affordable housing for low-income families in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
LaSalle improves fourth-quarter earnings
LaSalle Hotel Properties, a Bethesda-based lodging real estate investment trust, reported “strong results” for the fourth quarter, posting a 19 percent increase in revenue and meeting Wall Street expectations for earnings per share. Funds from operations — a key measure of a REIT’s financial performance — were $28.2 million, up from $23.1 million in the 2010 period. Adjusted FFO per diluted share, excluding special charges typically not counted by analysts, were 36 cents, which met the forecasts of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Revenue for the 2011 quarter was $179 million, up from $161.7 million in the prior-year period. Analysts had predicted revenue of $179.3 million.
Top Chef contestant to open restaurant
Top Chef contestant Timothy Dean has signed a lease at The Boulevard at the Capital Centre in Largo. Inland Western Retail Real Estate announced the lease with TD Burger LLC on Wednesday. The restaurant, which will specialize in gourmet burgers, will occupy a 2,000-square-foot space at the retail center in Prince George’s County. The 485,564-square-foot lifestyle center is anchored by national retailers DSW, hhgregg, Shoppers World and Sports Authority, and a 12-screen Magic Johnson theater complex. Dean, a native of Prince George’s County, was a contestant on Top Chef Season 7 on the Bravo cable channel.
Chesapeake Hospitality’s newest addition
Chesapeake Hospitality, a Greenbelt-based hotel management company, said it added the 189-room Crowne Plaza Wilmington North hotel in Claymont, Del., to its portfolio of properties under management. The property, formerly called the Holiday Inn Select Wilmington/Brandywine, is the only Crowne Plaza-branded hotel in Delaware. The hotel recently underwent an $8 million renovation that updated its rooms, 12,000 square feet of meeting space and the building’s exterior. The hotel’s owner is China-based Minmetals Inc.
Annapolis streamlines preservation rules
The Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission has streamlined the review and approval process for signs and minor building improvements in the city’s historic district, it was announced by Mayor Joshua J. Cohen. The commission last week approved guidelines that will limit the number of public hearings necessary during the review process, delegating to the Chief of Historic Preservation responsibility for approving a larger number of applications. All signs will now be reviewed administratively. Minor alterations to non-historic buildings will be approved by staff, along with non-historic doors, windows and landscaping. Major additions, including new construction or a proposed major replacement, will still require commission approval.
Choice Hotels’ 5,000th franchise in U.S.
Choice Hotels International Inc., of Silver Spring, a hotel franchise chain, said it has reached its 5,000th domestic property with the opening of a Comfort Suites hotel in Katy, Texas. Founded as a marketing cooperative by a group of Florida motor court owners in 1941 as Quality Courts United, Choice Hotels was the nation’s first hotel chain. Among its well-known brands are Comfort Inn, Quality, Clarion, Cambria Suites and Econo Lodge. Choice Hotels’ franchisees number more than 6,100 properties worldwide, representing more than 495,000 rooms in all 50 states and over 30 countries and territories.
Bethesda firm aids Ky. apartment complex
Walker & Dunlop Inc., of Bethesda, a provider of financial services and multifamily loans to commercial real estate owners, said it provided a $7 million, non-recourse loan for Renaissance St. Andrews Apartments, a 216-unit, garden-style apartment complex in Louisville, Ky. Financing was provided under the company’s Interim Loan Program, which offers floating-rate interim loans to experienced borrowers seeking to acquire or reposition multifamily properties that do not currently qualify for permanent financing. Walker & Dunlop said it closed the 1-year term loan within 40 days of receiving the application from the borrower, which was not identified.
Kaiser Permanente unveils growth plans
Rockville-based Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, a nonprofit health plan and health care provider, said it is expanding the services it provides to members in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., with several new multi-specialty facilities and expanded medical centers opening over the next two years. The new locations are in Arbutus (1701 Twin Springs Road, opening in spring 2013); Gaithersburg (665 Watkins Mills Road, opening this month); McLean, Va. (opening this summer), and Washington (opening this fall). The expanded centers are in Largo and Ashburn, Va. Kaiser operates 30 medical centers in the Baltimore-Washington region, serving nearly 500,000 members.
Two companies move to UM BioPark
The University of Maryland BioPark said two new tenants, Vigilant Bioservices LLC and Quality Solutions LLC, have relocated from Columbia to newly constructed facilities at the BioPark’s West Baltimore campus. Vigilant Bioservices provides secure storage and distribution of tissue and biologic materials for the biotechnology and transplant communities. Quality Solutions is a specialized validation, engineering and compliance services provider with broad experience in the biotech/pharma industry. With the addition of these two companies, the BioPark has 24 tenants occupying two lab/office buildings. Construction of two more buildings is expected to begin this year.
Community services grants to Annapolis
Annapolis has received three separate grants totaling $112,000, Mayor Joshua J. Cohen announced. They consist of an $80,000 Community Legacy grant and a $22,000 Technical Assistance grant, both from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The city also received a $10,000 “Ladders to Success” grant from the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County. Money will be used for physical improvements to the Stanton Community Center, a city-owned historic building that provides a wide variety of community services, and for funding the Reading and Math division of the After School Homework Club, a city Department of Recreation and Parks program at the Stanton Center.
Hord Coplan Macht, a Baltimore-based architecture, landscape architecture, planning and interior design firm, has added two principals to its regional office in Alexandria, Va. Joe Schneider will focus on mid- and high-rise urban developments. Schneider has 20 years of mixed-use design experience, with such firms as Niles Bolton Associates. He holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Barbara Silverman joins the firm’s interior design studio studio and will concentrate her practice on high-end, mixed-use interiors. She has nearly 25 years of interior design expertise, focused on residential and corporate spaces. Silverman holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the George Washington University, as well as of Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She was most recently employed by RD Jones + Associates.
Apria Healthcare, a provider of integrated home healthcare products and services, has leased 12,973 square feet of space at 8989 Herrmann Drive in Columbia, moving its office from Greenbelt, it was announced by Cassidy Turley, the company handling the leasing for the 40,000-square-foot office/flex building. Michael Bosica and Charles Fenwick of Cassidy Turley represented the landlord, Herrmann Drive LLC. Apria Healthcare was self-represented.
Cassidy Turley announced the addition of two industrial/flex buildings into its project leasing portfolio. The buildings, located at 7476 New Ridge Road in Hanover and 3431 Benson Avenue in Baltimore, total 132,276 square feet and are 32 percent vacant. Jarred Testa, Tilghman Herring and Michael Walsh of Cassidy Turley’s Core Industrial Leasing Team in Baltimore represent the landlord, RREEF.
Merritt Properties LLC of Woodlawn announced that Assured Information Security Inc., a government contractor, has leased 3,631 square feet of office space at bwtech@UMBC Research & Technology Park, 5523 Research Park Drive, Suite 130, in Catonsville. Representing the tenant in lease negotiations was Ted Durig of KW Commercial. Merritt was represented by its in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw of Merritt Properties.