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Real Estate Weekly – 4/12/13

Eight development bids received for 3 Baltimore County properties

Baltimore County officials said they received eight bids from developers for three county properties that were put up for sale late last year. In December, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the county was seeking proposals to purchase three county-owned sites, provided proceeds from the sales are sufficient to cover the costs of updating replacement facilities while still garnering a profit to the county. The sites are the North Point Government Center in Dundalk; the Towson Fire Station and Public Works Facility; and the Randallstown Police Substation. The Dundalk center received two bids; the Towson facility garnered five offers; and the Randallstown site received a single bid. Officials said they would review the bids in coming months to see if they met the conditions required by Kamenetz.

NAIOP seeking sponsors for Community Service Project

NAIOP Maryland is seeking corporate sponsors to support its upcoming Community Service Project, scheduled for May 3 at the Living Classrooms Foundation’s Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center in Baltimore. More than 150 NAIOP Maryland members are expected to participate in the half-day event, designed to assemble benches, picnic tables and kayak racks, plant trees, create a natural playground and perform trail cleanup activities. Sponsorships, which are still available. provide member companies with additional corporate recognition and help defray the material costs needed in the construction projects. Excess funds raised will be applied to the repainting of the Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center, an organization in Baltimore that supports the academic and social development of disadvantaged youth. For more information, visit www.naiopmd.org or call 443-986-9429.

Calif.-based Lee & Associates opens office in Columbia

Lee & Associates, of Newport Beach, Calif., the nation’s largest broker-owned commercial real estate services firm, has opened an office in Columbia, and hired three veterans of the Baltimore-Washington region’s commercial real estate scene to run it. Allan Riorda, SIOR, formerly of KLNB, and Matt Ryan and Tom Whelan, both of Ryan Commercial, will head the office. Combined, the three have more than 70 years of commercial real estate experience. The trio, and the office’s initial team of seven other brokers, will offer full-service commercial brokerage. Riorda, who worked at NAI KLNB’s Columbia office, helped manage the industrial department/office division. Ryan was a principal with Casey Oncor and CB Commercial Real Estate in Baltimore before forming Ryan Commercial Real Estate in 1997. Whelan worked for CB Commercial before joining Ryan Commercial in 1997. Lee & Associates’ Columbia office is the company’s 47th in the U.S. and its fourth in the Northeast.

RMF Engineering expands York office

RMF Engineering, of Baltimore, announced the expansion of its infrastructure services at its office in York, Pa. The office, which opened last year as RMF’s 10th location in the U.S., is expanding to give clients a more localized approach to infrastructure services and field services such as commissioning, condition assessments, energy audits, and arc flash studies. The expansion also includes a boost to RMF’s local inspections and traditional building services. As a measure of support, the firm is expanding the local office by five employees and plans to add two additional employees within the next six months. RMF is working closely with York County School of Technology, York Technical Institute and York College to recruit new technical personnel who will support the service expansion in York, as well as the region served by that office (central Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Eastern Shore).

Manekin Construction receives 3 ABC Awards of Excellence

Manekin Construction LLC was honored three times at the Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. Baltimore Metro Chapter’s recent Excellence in Construction & Safety Awards Banquet. The awards of excellence were presented for the Olney Safeway Store in the category, GC New Project Owner Occupied, as well as Alliance Technology Group – Tenant Improvements and Chiron Technologies Services – Tenant Fitout, both in the category, GC Interior Fitout $500,000 – $1 Million. Columbia-based Manekin Construction LLC offers general contracting, construction management and design build construction services for a variety of product types, including technology, health care, office, education, retail, multi-family residential and distribution.

Know what is below: Call Miss Utility at 811

April is National Safe Digging Month, which is a good reason for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to remind everyone — and especially people who are planning residential or commercial construction projects — to always call Miss Utility at 811 to have underground utilities marked prior to starting any digging project. Miss Utility is a one-call notification center that notifies subscribing underground facility owners of proposed excavation plans. Miss Utility covers Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C The only way to safely excavate around the complex network of underground electric, gas, steam, communication, water and sewer lines is to have utilities marked in the area where digging below the earth’s surface is planned. For more information on the meaning of utility marks and the 811 process, visit www.bge.com/811, and watch BGE’s free Dig Smart video guide to safer excavation at www.bge.com/digsmart.

Saint Agnes Hospital marks 10th anniversary of virtual village

This month, Saint Agnes Hospital is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Independence Square. The only one of its kind in Maryland, Independence Square is a 4,800-square-foot virtual village where, after surgery, patients can practice navigating their way through true-to-life situations, gaining skills and confidence to complete everyday tasks before going back out on their own. In the virtual environment, patients experience all types of surfaces they will need to navigate: grass, gravel, sand, curb, steps, ramp, cobblestones — even brick sidewalks. They also may engage in essential activities like shopping for groceries, boarding a bus or car, getting in and out of bed, and using an ATM. The facility was designed by a team of architects and designers and cost $400,000. It was funded by donations and in-kind support raised by the Saint Agnes Foundation.

Walker & Dunlop boosts first-quarter loan volume

Walker & Dunlop Inc., of Bethesda, a real estate lender focused on multifamily loans, said its loan originations for 2013’s first quarter totaled $1.73 billion, a 157 percent increase over the $674.5 million in first-quarter loan originations it reported in the prior year. Originations were below the company’s first-quarter guidance range of $1.9 billion to $2.4 billion, largely due to the delay in the passage of the federal government’s continuing budget resolution which restricted the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ability to issue new loan commitments in March. However, the company reaffirmed its 2013 loan origination guidance of $10 billion to $12 billion.

Coal tar banned in Montgomery County

Montgomery County officials are warning residents, businesses and contractors planning to reseal driveways or parking lots that coal tar, commonly found in resealing products, is now illegal in the county. Last year, the Montgomery County Council passed a bill that banned the use of coal tar products, effective Dec. 18, 2012, for reasons pertaining both to coal tar’s health effects and its potential for pollution. Under the law, use of a coal-tar based sealant can lead to a fine of up to $1,000 for both the property owner and the applicator. Officials say alternatives to coal tar-based sealants are sold in home improvement stores. For information, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/coaltarban.

Tilghman Island tower receives funding

Maryland emergency management officials have received funding to construct a radar and video tower on Tilghman Island. The Star-Democrat of Easton reported that officials expect to build the 140-foot tower at an inn that the state owns and leases out as a conference facility. The tower, which will hold a radar unit, surveillance camera and microwave antenna, is intended to track commercial shipping and other traffic approaching or leaving the Port of Baltimore. The state emergency management agency received funding for the tower through a federal port security grant program.

REIT sells apartments in Silver Spring

Home Properties Inc., of Rochester, N.Y., a multifamily real estate investment trust that owns apartment communities, primarily in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, announced the sale of Falkland Chase, an apartment development in downtown Silver Spring. The property was sold for $98 million, and net proceeds to Home Properties, after closing costs and $35.9 million in debt repayments, were $60.3 million. Home Properties will record a gain of approximately $36 million in the 2013 first quarter. Home Properties has owned the 450-unit development since September 2003.

Eight developers vie for county sites

Baltimore County received eight bids from developers for three properties that the county wants to replace. In December, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the county was seeking to sell the three county-owned sites, provided proceeds from the sales were enough to cover the replacement costs, with money left over for the county. The sites are the North Point Government Center in Dundalk (two bidders); the Towson Fire Station and Public Works Facility (five bidders); and the Randallstown Police Substation (one bidder). Officials said they would review the bids to see if they met the previously stated conditions.

Marshall expands management portfolio

Marshall Hotels & Resorts Inc., of Salisbury, a hotel management company specializing in the mid-size market, said it added four hotel management contracts and one country club management engagement to its portfolio in the first quarter of 2013. The properties are the Magnuson Hotel & Conference Center, a 159-room, full service hotel in Tyler, Texas; Ramada Inn, a 103-room hotel in Vineland, N.J.; a former Quality Inn in Carmel Church, Va., which will be renovated and rebranded; the 128-room Fernwood Hotel and Convention Center in Bushkill, Pa.; and the Vestal Hills Country Club in Binghamton, N.Y. Marshall currently manages 46 hotels under several brands in a dozen states.

LEASES 

Bombardier Transportation, an affiliate of Bombardier Inc. the Montreal-based manufacturer of airplanes and trains, has signed a lease with St. John Properties Inc. for 6,039 square feet of space at Baltimore Gateway, a five-story, 100,000-square-foot office building at 3700 Koppers Street in Baltimore. Matt Lenihan of St. John Properties represented the landlord and Tony Caselena of Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors represented the tenant in the transaction. The building was the former corporate headquarters of Environmental Elements Corp. It was purchased by St. John Properties in 2012 and extensively renovated. Bombardier will use the leased space to service a $200 million-plus state contract to provide operational and maintenance services for the Camden and Brunswick lines of the MARC commuter rail system. More than 100 Bombardier employees are expected to occupy space in the building.

Ruby Reef Inc., a provider of aquarium water treatments for the control of fish disease, has leased 2,610 square feet of office and warehouse space at 11221 Dolfield Blvd., a flex building in Owings Mills owned by Merritt Properties LLC. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs represented the landlord in the transaction.

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