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Real Estate Weekly – 3/15/13

‘Topping-out’ ceremony is held to mark

construction of Air National Guard facility Costello Construction, of Columbia, held a “topping-out” ceremony to recognize the last installed I-beam that completed the shell of the new 175th Wing Headquarters, Mission Support Group and Medical Group facility at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River. The 26,000-square-foot, $11.8 million building will feature multiple green roofs and is anticipated to achieve certified LEED Silver status upon its completion which is expected this fall. The building will house offices, medical/dental examination and treatment space, classrooms, administration space, command section, conference rooms and a telephone switching/data automation center, as well as utility systems services and connections.

NAIOP Maryland honored as 2012 National Chapter of the Year

From left, Cole Schnorf, Manekin; Tim O'Ferrall and Kate Sanft, The O'Ferrall Group; Connie Rhodes, Rhodes Development LLC; Eugene Riley, chairman of NAIOP and CEO of Prologis; Taylor Fields, Knott Realty Group; Nichole Wilhelm, Heath Design Group; Morgan Gilligan, Stewart Title; and James Knott, Knott Realty Group.

NAIOP Maryland received the “2012 National Chapter of the Year” Award from NAIOP at a recent National NAIOP Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat in Washington. The award was based on overall excellence in education, community involvement, corporate involvement, government affairs activities, member recruitment, communications, student activities and civic activities. “We are extremely honored to be recognized with this award that values excellence, innovation and leadership in every aspect of the chapter. This was a total team effort and is a signal of more exciting things to come for our membership,” said Dianna Wilhelm, president of NAIOP Maryland. A trade association for developers, owners, investors and other professionals in industrial, office and mixed-use commercial real estate, NAIOP has about 16,000 members in 55 chapters nationwide. NAIOP Maryland has more than 375 members and is comprised of individuals working for real estate development companies, brokerage firms and affiliated companies such as financial institutions, architectural firms and engineers.

Environmental publication recognizes

EA for stormwater management initiatives EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc., a Hunt Valley-based provider of interdisciplinary environmental services, announced it has won a Business Achievement Award from the Environmental Business Journal for the growth of its Stormwater Program Management for Transportation Modals practice. EBJ recognized the company for undertaking a variety of initiatives to enhance the way stormwater is managed by state transportation agencies. This is the sixth consecutive year that EA has been honored by EBJ for outstanding business achievement.

DHCD housing data show Maryland picture brightening

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development said its latest housing data find the January inventory of homes for sale in Maryland dropped to the lowest volume since August 2005. In Maryland Housing Beat, the department’s housing blog, the agency said the drop in inventory “was another indication that Maryland’s housing market is getting stronger since low inventory helps keep demand high. January home sales posted the highest volume in five years and median prices were up by more than 12 percent over last year.” Also, the January Housing Affordability Index registered one of the highest readings in 13 years. The index measures whether a typical family earns enough to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home. The statistical tables and charts are available online at http://www.dhcd.maryland.gov/Website/documents/MarylandHousingBeat/Vol2_Issue3.pdf

Three replacement piers built in St. Mary’s County are ADA-compliant

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported completion of three pier replacement projects in St. Mary’s County. The department worked with the county Department of Recreation and Parks to renovate the piers located at Fox Harbor Landing in Ridge, River Springs Landing in Avenue, and St. George’s Island. The new piers are Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible, providing boaters with safer access to the water. The total cost of the projects was $396,665, with DNR providing $327,841 through Waterway Improvement Grants, and the county providing $68,824. The state Waterway Improvement Fund gets its funding from the 5 percent vessel excise tax, which is paid when someone purchases and titles a boat in Maryland.

New sidewalks to be built in Arbutus community

Sidewalks will be installed this spring along the south side of Sulphur Spring Road between the Arbutus Library and Shelbourne Road, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced. The long-awaited pedestrian improvement will make it easier for residents to walk to the very popular Arbutus library, senior center and community center on Sulphur Spring Road. The new sidewalks will be 1,700 feet in length and cost $300,000. Once work begins, the project will take about six weeks to complete.

Baltimore County Public Library to open largest branch in Owings Mills

The Baltimore County Public Library system will open its largest branch to date on Thursday. The Owings Mills branch is housed in a 54,333-square-foot space on the first three floors of the new County Campus at Metro Centre building, parts of which are still under construction. The six-story, $30 million County Campus building is the centerpiece of Baltimore County’s largest transit-oriented development, located next to the Owings Mills Metro station. The library will contain a collection of 120,000 items, including 70 computers available for public use — 58 for adults and 12 for teens and children. The branch is sharing the County Campus at Metro Centre building with the Community College of Baltimore County, which is scheduled to open in early summer.

Chesapeake Bay Trust marks milestone

The Chesapeake Bay Trust announced Thursday that, since its 1985 inception, it has awarded $50 million in grants to nonprofits, watershed organizations, community groups and governments to undertake projects to improve the health of the bay. As reported by Maryland News Connection, in 2012 alone, more than 40 acres of stream banks, oyster reefs and wetlands were restored; more than 180,000 trees, shrubs and grasses were planted; and thousands of students learned about the bay. Funding comes from the Treasure the Chesapeake license plate, the Chesapeake Bay tax check-off on the Maryland state income tax form, private companies, individuals, and state and federal agencies.

Easement protects historic property

Mt. Welcome, a National Register historic property in Granite, a community in western Baltimore County, will be perpetually preserved from development through a conservation easement donated by the original owner’s family, to be held by the Maryland Environmental Trust and Maryland Historical Trust. The conservation easement protects a historic mid-18th century farmstead, manor, family cemetery and out-buildings, as well as 71 acres of scenic fields and woodlands. The easement includes 17 acres of agricultural land, 46 acres of woodlands and a portion of Granite Branch, a tributary to the Patapsco River. There are nearly 500 acres of protected lands within one mile of the property.

Distribution center tenant renews lease in Savage

Terreno Realty Corp., of San Francisco, a publicly traded real estate company focused on industrial real estate, said the tenant of a large distribution center it owns in Savage has renewed its lease for 10 years. The tenant, Maines Paper & Food Service Inc., a Conklin, N.Y-based foodservice supplier with nine distribution centers nationwide, occupies the entire 98,745-square-foot building at 8730 Bollman Place. Terreno acquired the property in 2011 for approximately $7.5 million, according to published reports. Terreno owns and operates industrial real estate in six major coastal U.S. markets, including Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Seattle and Miami.

Crisfield wind turbine gets funding OK

Maryland’s Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved $3.6 million for a wind power project in Crisfield, clearing the way for construction to begin. The board approved a $3.2 million grant and a $453,000 loan for the project. The grant forgives a state loan for the project, which would provide power to Crisfield’s sewage treatment plant. The turbine is expected to save the city $150,000 to $200,000 a year. The Crisfield City Council awarded a construction contract for the turbine in January. An engineer hired by the city had said that construction was expected to take nine months after approval by the Board of Public Works.

State bonds sold at low interest rates

The state of Maryland completed a bond sale last week, selling $665,135,000 worth of general obligation bonds in two series, the Office of the Maryland State Treasurer announced. The sale took place at the Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis. Series A, consisting of $500 million of tax-exempt bonds, was sold to Citigroup Global Markets Inc., the winning bidder, at an interest rate of 2.333 percent. Series B, consisting of $165,135,000 of tax-exempt re-funding bonds, was sold to J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, the winning bidder, at an interest rate of 1.087 percent. There were six bidders on the two sets of bonds. Maryland’s Triple A bond rating helped to sell the bonds at low interest rates, officials said.

Northrop Grumman to award 24 engineering scholarships

Northrop Grumman Corp. has set a deadline of March 31 to receive applications for the 11th annual Engineering Scholars competition, which will provide $240,000 in college scholarships across Maryland this year to promising high school seniors interested in studying engineering. Individual scholarships of $10,000, payable in $2,500 installments over four years, will be awarded by Northrop Grumman this spring to a qualified graduating high school senior in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore city. Candidates must plan to attend an accredited college or university as a full-time student in an approved engineering program. For an online application, go to http://www.northropgrumman.com/CorporateResponsibility/Community/Pages/EngScholars.aspx. 

Hagerstown mulling downtown renewal

(AP) Hagerstown officials are considering teaming up with a real estate development group on a downtown revitalization plan. A proposal authorizing the private group to act as the city’s agent was the subject of a special meeting Friday of Mayor David Gysberts and the City Council. The group includes Towson-based Sora Development and Skanska USA, a New York-based construction company. The Herald-Mail reported that the nonbinding agreement would authorize the group to produce by mid-April a list of projects that could become catalysts for downtown redevelopment.

Planned new HQ for FBI stirs interest

(AP) Federal officials said they received 35 proposals from developers and communities interested in hosting a new headquarters for the FBI. The General Services Administration said private developers are showing significant interest in building a new facility for the FBI. The agency wants to move out of its current headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue. The House must still approve the relocation and guidelines for a new facility. Sites are expected to be considered in Northern Virginia and Prince George’s County in Maryland. Also, the District of Columbia is seeking to retain the FBI headquarters elsewhere in the city.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejects 3rd Calvert Cliffs reactor

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied a French company a license to build and operate a third nuclear reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. UniStar Nuclear Energy LLC had appealed the denial by an atomic licensing board last August of its request for such a license. On Monday the NRC affirmed the board’s finding that the project would violate the U.S. prohibition of foreign “ownership, control or domination” of a U.S. nuclear reactor. The French government owns 85 percent of Electricite de France, UniStar’s parent. The Rockville-based NRC announced its ruling on the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.

Baltimore data center enlarging space

Baltimore Technology Park, a co-location data center in South Baltimore, announced it is expanding its facility by 10 percent in order to offer clients more services, redundancy and security. The data center, which is not actually a “park,” but rather a renovated, 30,000-square-foot building on South Russell Street, is adding 3,000 square feet of space, increasing its raised data floor to 11,000 square feet. “The expansion of our facility is in response to the continued demand for a safe, secure and reliable location for businesses to house their IT infrastructure,” said Corey Blanton, chief operating officer of Enterprise Technology Parks.

MOM’s unveils solar energy plan

MOM’s – My Organic Market, of Rockville, a retail grocer of fresh organic and pre-packaged foods, announced the activation of rooftop solar panels on its store in Waldorf. The store, MOM’s first in Charles County, opened last November. It features energy-efficient design, including closed-door coolers, LED lighting and electric car-charging stations. MOM’s officials said they plan to install solar panels on every store that they can in the future. “We are in the process of exploring and expanding our renewable energy portfolio at all locations,” said Environmental Coordinator Charis Egland-Smith. MOM’s has seven stores in Maryland and three in Northern Virginia.

Ground broken for Tubman state park

Gov. Martin O’Malley and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, joined by several hundred national, state and local supporters, broke ground on March 8 for the 17-acre Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, commemorating the life and legacy of the legendary abolitionist. The new park, just south of Cambridge in Dorchester County, will be the trail head for the Harriet Tubman Byway. It will contain a 15,000-square foot visitor center, exhibit hall and theater, memorial garden, trails and a picnic pavilion. The 125-mile Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway was also unveiled during the celebration, which marked the 100th anniversary of Tubman’s death.

Frederick makes CNN’s ‘Best of’ list

The city of Frederick in Western Maryland with its fabled clustered spires is on CNN’s list of “America’s Best Small Town Comebacks,” part of the news organization’s “Best of” travel series. According to the story released on Tuesday, “Frederick is revived with a nearly chain-proof red brick commercial district lined with indie shops, destination restaurants and weekenders from D.C. and Baltimore (both an hour away) escaping here instead of the other way around.” And for a Frederick Wow! Factor, CNN advises: “Stroll along Carroll Creek Park’s pedestrian bridges and brick pathways lined with public art and it’s hard to believe this green space was originally a flood control project.”

P.G. County Executive plans permitting overhaul

(AP) Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III says he’ll propose the creation of a new agency as part of a broader plan to streamline the county government’s permitting process. The Washington Post reported that the proposal is expected to be part of Baker’s budget address on Thursday. The plan is aimed at helping attract new businesses and dealing with criticism over how the county government approves and enforces permits. One aspect of the proposal involves extracting responsibility for permitting, inspections and enforcement from the county’s Department of Environmental Resources. Other aspects include assigning some inspectors to work nights and weekends and automating applications.

Lawrence Twele OK’d for HoCo development post

The Howard County Economic Development Authority’s board of directors has unanimously approved Lawrence F. Twele to permanently assume the position of CEO of the HCEDA. Twele was selected by Howard County Executive Ken Ulman to be the acting CEO after Laura Neuman vacated the position to become Anne Arundel County Executive. Prior to Neuman’s departure, Twele had been executive vice president of HCEDA, the number two position, where he was responsible for business development. He headed the Carroll County Department of Economic Development for six years prior to joining the Howard County agency.

LEASES 

Cracker Barrel signs ground lease for first restaurant in Anne Arundel Co.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. has signed a ground lease with St. John Properties Inc. for a 1.75 acre pad site at BWI Technology Park III, a new, 15-acre mixed-use business community located near BWI Airport, adjacent to the intersection of West Nursery Road and MD Route 295 (Baltimore-Washington Parkway). The family-dining restaurant chain plans to break ground on an 8,960-square foot, free-standing building by the end of March, with completion expected to occur in third quarter 2013. This will be the first location in Anne Arundel County for the Tennessee-based restaurant company, which currently operates seven locations in Maryland. The restaurant will be built next to a planned 120,000-square-foot, Class A office building in the business park.

PERSONNEL 

Four of Lutherville-based MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Service’s brokers have been recognized by the CoStar Group as 2012 CoStar Power Brokers. Now in their 12th year, the annual awards spotlight brokers who closed the highest transaction volumes in commercial property sales or leases for the year in their respective market. Named as award winners were Senior Vice President/Principal Thomas L. Fidler Jr.; Vice President Antony M. Gross’ Vice President Terri M. Harrington; and Senior Vice President/Principal John R. Schultz. All four have previously won CoStar awards for sales or leasing activities. The MacKenzie firm, which employs more than 40 brokers, was also a recipient of CoStar’s top sales and leasing awards.

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