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Real Estate Weekly – 7/12/13

Mullan picked to build medical facility in Frederick

The Mullan Contracting Co., of Lutherville, has been selected by Righttime Medical Care to construct its first “after hours” medical facility in the Frederick marketplace. The Annapolis-based company, which offers an alternative to hospital emergency room visits, intends to open a free-standing facility within Market Square, a mixed-use lifestyle development located at the intersection of MD Route 26 and Worman’s Mill Road. Construction recently started and the facility is expected to open this fall. Market Square is configured to support nearly 200,000 square feet of retail space, along with a residential component consisting of a mix of luxury townhomes, townhome-style condominiums and luxury apartment units.

Montgomery County looking for 200-plus volunteers for homelessness campaign

The Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to end homelessness in Montgomery County, has joined forces with the Montgomery County of Health and Human Services to jointly lead the implementation of a county-wide 100,000 Homes Campaign through a public-private partnership. The 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement of over 175 communities working to find permanent homes for 100,000 chronically homeless/medically vulnerable Americans. Last month executives from MCCH, HHS, and other Montgomery County team members took part in 100,000 Homes training, in preparation for recruiting 200-plus volunteers needed to conduct medical vulnerability surveys as a part of the campaign’s November 2013 registry week. These surveys will help identify those homeless people who are most medically vulnerable and in need of permanent homes and ensure that they will not die on the street. Persons interested in volunteering for the Montgomery County 100,000 Homes registry week can visit MCCH’s website to sign up.

Towson Commons sold to N.Y. investment group

Towson CommonsCassidy Turley, a national commercial real estate services provider, announced it arranged the sale of Towson Commons, a 401,775-square-foot, urban mixed-use project at 1 West Pennsylvania Ave. and 40 West Chesapeake Ave. in Towsonnd. The 70.01 percent leased development includes office, retail and a contiguous 887-space covered parking garage. General Dynamics Information Technology recently renewed and expanded to take over 146,000 square feet within the office portion of the project, while a 48,000-square-foot LA Fitness will occupy a former movie theater space at the end of this year. Details of the transaction, including financials, were not disclosed. The buyer was New York-based Garrison Investment Group. Jonathan M. Carpenter and James S. Wellschlager of Cassidy Turley’s Capital Markets Group represented the seller, Towson Commons HH LLC/Capmark REO Holdings LLC.

Merritt Construction Services completes projects at GBMC

Merritt Construction Services has completed an interior build-out and a parking area expansion at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center’s (GBMC) Center for Neurology in Towson. Merritt’s scope of work included a 3,400-square-foot neurology suite that allowed GBMC to expand the department by 60 percent and add two new physicians to the team. The suite features five exam rooms, a patient waiting area, a patient registration area, an Electroencephalogram (EEG) room and three new physicians’ offices with room for future expansion for another physician. Merritt also renovated the hospital’s Bluebell Park, reconfiguring and expanding the existing parking lot area outside of the Center for Neurology and the Medical Imaging of Baltimore building. GBMC’s project management firm ProSys, architecture firm Hord Coplan & Macht, and engineering firm Leach Wallace assisted Merritt with the neurology suite, completing it in less than 60 days. ProSys and civil engineering firm Daft McCune Walker, Inc. assisted with the Bluebell Park renovation.

Gerard J. Wit elected chairman of nonprofit business group

Gerard J. “Jerry” Wit, senior vice president for marketing and leasing for St. John Properties Inc., has been elected chairman of Maryland Business for Responsive Government (MBRG). The nonprofit organization is dedicated to educating elected officials, the general public and the regional business community about the critical need to foster economic development and job creation in Maryland. MBRG is affiliated with the Maryland Business Leadership PAC and the Maryland Foundation for Research and Economic Education (Maryland FREE). Former MBRG Co-chairs Ellen Sauerbrey and Marvin Mandel will transition to emeritus status and will remain active in the educational and operational efforts of the organization. Wit will team with MBRG President Kim Burns to manage the group’s strategies and day-to-day activities, in addition to working with the other 19 members of the Board of Directors that reflect a cross-section of state businesses and organizations.

St. John Properties plans to build new office, flex and retail buildings

St. John Properties Inc., a local real estate development company, announced plans to begin construction on 10 office, R&D/flex and retail buildings by mid-September at six business parks in the Baltimore area, ranging from Reisterstown in Baltimore County to Annapolis in Anne Arundel County. Combined, the new buildings, which are being constructed on a speculative basis with no pre-leasing commitments, total more than 250,000 square feet of space. Earlier, St. John Properties began construction of five buildings, totaling over 320,000 square feet, at business parks in Howard, Harford and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland and a site in Northern Virginia. Gerard J. “Jerry” Wit,, St. John’s senior vice president for marketing and leasing, said the company’s research indicates “sustained pent-up demand for strategically positioned office and retail space in Central Maryland and Northern Virginia, and we are aggressively reacting to this trend.”

Open house scheduled for new office/warehouse space

Michigan Manufacturing International, a supplier of mechanical assemblies and components, is holding an open house for real estate agents and brokers, and companies looking for new office or warehouse space to lease, on Thursday, July 18. The open house will take place on Sonny Schulz Boulevard in the Matapeake Industrial Park in Stevensville. Realtors and potential tenants will have an opportunity to learn about new flexible warehouse spaces with water views that are available for lease. Each 3,750-square-foot flex warehouse suite is offered at $7 per square foot, and will be available on Oct. 1, 2013. Water view office space will be available in early 2014. To RSVP, call Michigan Manufacturing International at 800-677-0504 or send an email to czang@benchworks.com.

Ruppert Landscape hosts ABC summer networking event

Ruppert and ABC Summer NetworkingRuppert Landscape hosted the Associated Builders and Contractors of Metro Washington’s summer networking event on Wednesday, July 10, at Ruppert’s corporate headquarters in Laytonsville. More than 450 people attended. ABC’s Metro Washington Chapter has been holding its Summer Networking Event at Ruppert headquarters for nearly 15 years. “Our involvement with ABC affords us the opportunity to interact with other contractors and customers who are serving our industry,” said Chris Davitt, Ruppert’s president. “We are pleased to be involved with an organization that does such great work on behalf of our industry and keeps us up to date on local, state and national issues impacting the building and construction industries.” ABC of Metro Washington represents approximately 500 non-unionized contractors, specialty contractors and suppliers throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Ruppert Landscape, an employee/family-owned business, provides commercial landscape construction and management in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina.

Redland Corporate Center now filled

First Potomac Realty Trust, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that focuses on office and business park properties in greater Washington, announced that a professional services firm has signed a lease to expand into the remaining 30,036 square feet at Redland Corporate Center in Rockville, bringing the property to 100 percent leased. Redland Corporate Center consists of two multistory, Class A, LEED Gold certified office buildings totaling 348,469 square feet. First Potomac acquired the two buildings in a joint venture with Washington’s Perseus Realty LLC in November 2010.

CDA bond series highly rated

Fitch Ratings, a global credit rating agency, assigned ‘AA+’ credit bond rating to Maryland’s Community Development Administration on its $52.5 million housing revenue bonds, 2013 series B and C, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The Community Development Administration, the housing finance unit within the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, “has demonstrated strong programmatic oversight capabilities and has had a long successful history of administering multifamily programs,” Fitch noted, according to a release published in the Journal. Last month, Moody’s Investors Service rated two of the CDA’s multifamily home development revenue bonds at ‘Aaa’, the highest rating achievable.

Station North improvements completed

The Central Baltimore Partnership announced the completion of seven high-impact neighborhood improvement projects in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, which received $100,000 in funding from the Towson-based Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. The initial award was announced in December 2012. The projects, all of which were completed within six months, included renovation of a former fast-food restaurant for office space, an art gallery and performing arts venue; construction of an ornamental garden; and improvements to and around Penn Station Plaza. Together, the seven projects cost $178,000, with the remainder coming from matching funds and in-kind services generated by CBP and its affiliates.

SECU highly ranked for first mortgages

SECU, Maryland’s largest state-chartered financial cooperative, has again been named one of the Top 300 First Mortgage Granting Credit Unions in the country, according to an annual survey conducted by the American Credit Union Mortgage Association. SECU was first in Maryland and 29th nationally among mortgage-granting credit unions as of Dec. 31, 2012, up four spots from the previous year. Data compiled by ACUMA show that SECU originated $619.3 million in 2,973 fixed and adjustable first mortgages through the end of 2012. SECU also sold $266.2 million in first mortgages over the same period. Outstanding fixed and adjustable first mortgages totaled $982.7 million.

Plans for new Shore hospital on hold

(AP) Shore Health System officials say plans to build a new Shore Regional Medical Center in Easton have been put on hold indefinitely. The announcement to delay the $250 million project came after recent budget cuts to staff and services at other Shore Health locations, including Dorchester General Hospital and Memorial Hospital at Easton, the Star-Democrat reported. Kenneth Kozel, president and CEO of Shore Health System, said the system doesn’t have the money for such a project right now. But he said Shore Health System and the University of Maryland Medical System are “unwavering” in the decision to build the center next to the Talbot County Community Center.

Perry Hall to have dog days year-round

Baltimore County will build a dog park at Honeygo Regional Park in Perry Hall, it was announced by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. The Perry Paw Dog Park will be the county’s fourth dog park, joining the Barc Park at Hannah More in Reisterstown, Paw Point at Robert E. Lee Park in Lake Roland, and the soon-to-be-opened dog park at St. Helena in Dundalk. Perry Paw Park is currently in design and will be put out for public bid in the next four to six weeks. Kamenetz commended the Perry Hall community for raising $20,000 in private funds to support construction.

LEASES

First Potomac Realty Trust, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns and operates office and business park properties in the Greater Washington area, announced that Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) has signed an 11-year lease for 19,830 square feet at 440 First Street NW. Located in the Capitol Hill submarket, the 10-story, 140,000-square-foot, Class A building is expected to be substantially complete by the end of July. It features two levels of underground parking, two rooftop terraces, a conference center/boardroom, a state-of-the-art fitness center and retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. First Potomac is pursuing LEED Platinum certification for the building, which is also the first in the downtown office market to use a Dedicated Outside Air System with 100% fresh air.

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