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Real Estate Weekly – 12/14/12

Nando’s to locate at 400 W. Baltimore St.

Nando’s Peri-Peri, an international fast-casual restaurant chain, will open its first location in Baltimore at 400 West Baltimore Street, a 17,000-square-foot retail development near Eutaw and Paca streets. Nando’s will occupy 3,785 square feet in the retail complex, and is the third fast-casual restaurant this year to open or announce its intention to lease space there. Panera Bread Co. opened a location at the project earlier this year, and the local franchise holder of the Pita Pit chain decided to locate there this past summer. Other retailers are PNC Bank, Samuelson’s Jewelers, and the State Employees Credit Union. Nando’s intends to be operational by March, offering a menu of Portuguese-style flamed-grilled chicken. The 400 West Baltimore Street project was developed by Balti West LLC and managed by Owings Mills-based David S. Brown Enterprises Ltd.

State housing indicators on the up-and-up

The key indicators measuring the health of Maryland’s housing market continued to show sustained improvement over last year, according to the latest edition of Maryland Housing Beat, a monthly profile of the state’s housing economy compiled by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. In October, home sales increased for the sixth consecutive month compared to October 2011, housing inventory declined for the 20th consecutive month, and the median home sales price rose for the ninth consecutive month. The December issue, reflecting statistical data from October, can be viewed at DHCD’s website at www.Mdhousing.org.

Leasehold interest in four floors of building sells for $21.75 million

A “complicated” real estate transaction involving the sale of the leasehold interest in four floors of the Johnston Professional Building, an eight-story building located on the campus of Medstar Union Memorial Hospital at 3333 N. Calvert St. in Baltimore, has been successfully concluded, according to an announcement from Cassidy Turley. The first four floors of the building are owned and occupied by the hospital, with the top four floors subject to a long-term air rights lease. New York-based Promed Acquisition Inc. purchased the property for $21,750,000. The leasehold property is fully occupied with tenants that include MedStar Union Memorial Hospital and Greater Chesapeake Orthopedic Associates. Jonathan M. Carpenter and James S. Wellschlager of Cassidy Turley’s Capital Markets Group, along with Cassidy Turley’s Douglas Brinkley, represented the seller, Johnston Professional Limited Partnership.

C&W chosen to market office building in Laurel

Cushman & Wakefield announced it has been retained as the exclusive listing agent for 6151 Chevy Chase Drive in Laurel. The one-story, 69,000-square-foot office building was formerly a secured bank operations center. Previously occupied by a single tenant, the space can be easily transformed to accommodate two or more occupants. Among its features are an ultra-efficient and flexible open-floor plan, abundant ribbon-glass line, two loading docks and dual-feed electric service, each with its own backup generator, plenty of parking and lots of landscaping. The facility is move-in ready, and includes existing office furniture, data/telecom wiring, dual fiber optic service and workstations. Extensive exterior improvements to the building and interior renovations are planned and will be completed in 2013 by the new owner and landlord, Exeter Property Group. C&W’s Hayes Merkert, Karen Cherry, Niel Beggy and Peter Marcin are handling the marketing of the property, and are targeting corporate or government contractor tenants needing convenient access to both the Baltimore and Metro D.C. markets.

Ulman vetoes Howard’s growth tiers map

In his first veto since he was elected in 2006, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman on Thursday vetoed legislation passed by the Howard County Council earlier this month to define so-called “growth tiers,” or levels of development that will be permitted in various areas of the county. Ulman said the growth tiers map adopted by the council was insufficient to protect the Chesapeake Bay and preserve the county’s agricultural heritage. He called for a collaborative effort to reshape the legislation. Four of the five council members voted to approve the law, and it will take that number to override Ulman’s veto.

Target to open new store on Boston Street

Target Corp., the Minneapolis-based department store chain, announced plans to open a new store in Baltimore in October 2013. The new store, in the Canton Crossing Shopping Center on Boston Street, will be Target’s second in Baltimore proper, and its sixth store in the Baltimore region. The new store will be approximately 135,000 square feet, and will employ about 200 persons. The company said it will host job fairs two months in advance of the new store opening, and will accept applications for available positions online at www.target.com/careers or at in-store kiosks approximately three months before the new store opens.

Bozzuto signs four D.C.-area projects

Bozzuto Construction Co., a division of the Greenbelt-based real estate firm The Bozzuto Group, announced Monday that it has signed four new projects totaling more than $107 million in contracts: Petworth Safeway and Tyler House Apartments in Northwest Washington, Pollin Memorial Community Development in Northeast Washington and Kingsview Village Apartments in Germantown. Kingsview Village Apartments is a $20 million construction project developed by Pleasants Development Inc. of Clarksburg. The 195-unit, garden-style community is located on Leaman Farm Road in Germantown.

PriceRite opens first store in Baltimore

PriceRite opened its first supermarket in Baltimore city this week. The store is located at 1205 W. Pratt St. in the Mount Clare Junction Shopping Center. The grand opening, featuring a ribbon-cutting, was scheduled for Wednesday morning. PriceRite’s cost-savings measures include limited advertising, and it encourages customers to bring their own bags by charging 10 cents to supply them. PriceRite’s other stores in Maryland are in Woodlawn and District Heights.

McShea & Co. closes Columbia warehouse sale

McShea & Company Inc., a Gaithersburg-based real estate services firm, announced it has closed the sale of a Columbia warehouse for nearly $7 million. The property is the Heathrow Business Center at 9176 Red Branch Road, an 81,067-square-foot small-bay flex/warehouse within the Oakland Ridge Business Park. Ben Epstein & Associates LLC of Silver Spring sold the building to a Maryland-based private investor for $6,925,000. Heathrow Business Center is 100 percent leased to a mix of tenants from several industries, including science, technology, business-to-business services, consumer goods and retail services.

Baltimore County sells bonds at low rates

Baltimore County sold $621 million in 30-year bonds at what officials described as record-low interest rates. Last week, the county sold $365 million in new and re-funded general obligation bonds at 2.05 percent interest, which officials said was the lowest interest rate in county history. The county also sold $256 million in pension obligation bonds at 3.43 percent, which officials said was significantly below the 4.25 percent rate the county projected it would pay. Officials said the low interest rates will save county taxpayers $360.5 million over the 30-year term of the bonds.

REIT acquires Montgomery retail space

Saul Centers Inc., of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns shopping centers and office/mixed-use properties, primarily in the Baltimore-Washington area, said it acquired approximately 53,000 square feet of retail space on Rockville Pike, near the Twinbrook Metro Station in Montgomery County, for $23 million, including acquisition costs. The property, which is 91 percent leased to multiple tenants, is zoned for up to 700,000 square feet of rentable mixed-use space. The company said it does not anticipate redeveloping the property in the foreseeable future. Saul Centers funded the acquisition with borrowings under its revolving credit facility.

Saul Centers sells Baltimore retail site

Bethesda-based Saul Centers also announced the sale of Belvedere Gardens, a 55,000-square-foot neighborhood shopping center in the 5800 block of Hillen Road in Baltimore. The property was 34 percent leased and is debt-free. The asset was sold for $3.9 million, net of closing costs, and the company expects to report a gain on the sale of approximately $3.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2012. The buyer of the property was not identified.

LEASES

Merritt Properties LLC reported the following recently signed leases:

CRS, an appliance recycler, leased 2,000 square feet of warehouse space at Lansdowne Industrial Park, 26 Alco Place, in Baltimore County. Also, Kronos Systems Inc., a provider of workforce management services, leased 2,483 square feet of office space at 6021 University Blvd, Suite 540, in the Columbia Corporate Park 100, in Howard County. In the latter transaction, Andy Andrews of Cassidy Turley represented the tenant, and Merritt Properties’ in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw represented the landlord in both transactions.

Merritt Properties’ in-housing leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs handled negotiations that resulted in leases being signed by Manik Muffler Inc. and Ciccarilli Moving & Installation LLC. Ciccarilli, a moving and general warehouse company, agreed to lease 1,463 square feet of warehouse space and 337 square feet of office space at the rear of 2034 Lord Baltimore Drive in Woodlawn. Also, Manik Muffler, a provider of automobile exhaust systems and general vehicle repairs, signed a lease for 3,100 square feet of space at 6431 Baltimore National Pike, Suites 104-106, in the Forty West Auto Park in Catonsville.

Merritt’s Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs also represented the landlord in negotiations that brought Ricoh Americas Corp., a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print systems, document management systems and IT services, to 10055 Red Run Blvd., Suite 200, in Merritt’s Owings Mills Corporate Campus. Ricoh agreed to lease 12,676 square feet of office space at the property. Gail Chrzan of CBRE represented Ricoh in the transaction.

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