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Real Estate Weekly – 8/16/13

Texas Roadhouse to open restaurant at SJPI business park in Frederick

Texas Roadhouse, a Louisville, Ky.-based chain of casual-dining restaurants, restaurant has signed a ground lease with St. John Properties Inc. for a 2.25 acre pad site at Westview Business Park, a 49-acre business community located at the intersection of Interstate 270 and MD Route 85 (Buckeystown Pike) in Frederick. Construction of the 7,163-square-foot, free-standing restaurant is scheduled to start by the end of September, with completion scheduled to occur in the second quarter of 2014. The site will be the chain’s first Frederick County location and ninth in Maryland. Texas Roadhouse operates more than 400 restaurants in 48 states and two overseas. Bill Holzman, vice president of retail leasing for St. John Properties, represented the landlord, and Tom Poss of Accel Realty Partners LLC represented the tenant in the transaction.

Lakeforest Mall modernization underway in Gaithersburg

Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg announced it is implementing a $1.2 million renovation plan to improve the overall aesthetic and functionality of the interior areas of the mall. Improvements include a complete reconfiguration of Center Court, a new and improved children’s play area, and new furniture for the Cafes in the Forest Food Court. The Center Court construction, commencing in August, includes removing the original seating and fountains to level the entire area. The new 5,245-square-foot, one-level space will be ideally suited to host popular community events. The Center Court elevator will also be modernized. The Center Court renovation is being designed and managed by Heath Design Group of Baltimore, and is expected to be completed by early November.

Morgan State University employees eligible for down payment assistance

More than1,500 employees at Morgan State University became eligible for additional down payment assistance on Maryland Mortgage Program products after the Northeast Baltimore university joined the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s House Keys 4 Employees program. Connelly Funeral Home of Essex and Laser Art Inc. of Washington, D.C. also joined the program this month. Through Partner Match programs such as House Keys 4 Employees, DHCD provides a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $2,500 to a participating partner’s financial contribution for down payment and closing cost assistance. DHCD now has 272 Partner Match participants, including 144 House Keys 4 Employees partners.

Southwest Property in Linthicum bought by Consolidated Equities

MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, of Lutherville, announced the sale of a two-building property at 724 Nursery Road in Linthicum. The seller was KIMCO Realty Corp. and the buyer was Consolidated Equities. The sale price was not disclosed. The sale consists of two single-story flex buildings totaling 22,900 square feet and a long-term ground lease to Southern Maryland Oil, the operator of a Shell station and automobile repair bays. The flex buildings were 100 percent leased and occupied by long-term tenants including Otis Elevator at the time of sale. MacKenzie’s Investment Sales team of Donald K. Schline and Daniel A. Hudak arranged the disposition on behalf of KIMCO.

DHCD outlines mortgage programs at meeting in Western Maryland

Members of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s lender network made nearly 16 percent more loans in Western Maryland in fiscal year 2013 than in 2012; but the state has the capacity to do so much more. That was the message at an Aug. 6 information-sharing breakfast for Western Maryland lenders and Realtors at the Hager Hall conference center in Hagerstown. And to ensure that DHCD’s lender partners have questions or concerns answered promptly, the agency has appointed two new ombudsmen — Vicki Jones and Ed Anthony. They can be reached at singlefamilyhousing@mdhousing.org. DHCD has been holding a series of regional events, providing education and training opportunities throughout the state. In June, the team met on the Eastern Shore with members of the Maryland Mortgage Bankers Association.

Perdue’s renovated headquarters awarded LEED Platinum designation

Perdue Farms announced that it has received Platinum certification — the highest possible ranking — for the renovation of its corporate office building from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program. The completion of a four-year, $10.5 million, renovation of the 94,000-square-foot building in Salisbury makes the Perdue headquarters the first USGBC LEED Platinum building on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and one of fewer than 20 LEED Platinum-certified commercial projects in the state. “Perdue Farms’ LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership. The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the (building) industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Perdue serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Schilling Green II receives Honorable Mention by NAIOP

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, has recognized Merritt Properties’ Schilling Green II with an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Sustainable Development Award. The LEED Platinum office building, located in Hunt Valley, will be recognized at NAIOP’s Development ’13 Conference on Oct. 7-9 in San Diego, Calif. Schilling Green II is a four-story, 126,000-square-foot, Class A office building. The project transformed a previously developed site and outdated warehouse into a showcase for sustainable commercial real estate, which is now 90 percent occupied, according to the Merritt announcement of the award.

DiamondRock second-quarter results top estimates

DiamondRock Hospitality Co., of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns upscale and luxury hotels, reported second-quarter Funds From Operations of $43.2 million, or 22 cents per diluted share, compared to $46.4 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, for the year-ago period. Revenue totaled $224.2 million in this year’s quarter versus $210.8 million in the 2012 period. Ten analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast, on average, earnings of 21 cents on revenue of $218.74 for the 2013 quarter. Revenue per available room, or revPAR, a measure of hotel rates and occupancy, rose only 0.2 percent, to $146.84, impacted by renovations at three New York City hotels that decreased the availability of rooms. Excluding those renovations, revPAR rose by 6.7 percent.

Pebblebrook acquires Hollywood hotel

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust focused on luxury hotels in large U.S. cities, announced that it has acquired the boutique Redbury Hotel in Hollywood, Calif., for $34 million. The 57-room, all-suite, luxury, full-service hotel is located at the iconic intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The Los Angeles-based SBE Hotel Group will continue to manage the property. In 2012, the Redbury Hotel operated at 84 percent occupancy, with an average daily rate of $274 and room revenue per available room of $230. With the latest acquisition, Pebblebrook now owns 27 hotels, including four in west Los Angeles.

Kids have ideas for hotel design, too

Recognizing that children travel with parents and frequently stay in hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott hosted the first-ever Kids Roundtable on Travel to uncover what children truly want from a hotel, and glean insights on the future of travel. Among the ideas generated by the 10 participants, ranging in age from 8 to 12 years old: access to guest rooms that recognizes your fingerprint instead of keycards; wall color that changes at the click of a button; design elements that are predetermined by the guest before arrival; a robot butler serving your every whim. The key findings conveyed the need for hotels to focus on personalization and customization for young guests. The roundtable took place on Aug. 3 at the Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Midtown East.

HUD makes public housing upgrade grants

Two dozen housing authorities across Maryland are being awarded more than $25.7 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of a package of grants totaling $1.7 billion nationally to help public housing authorities build, repair, renovate and/or modernize public housing in their communities. In Maryland, those agencies receiving more than $1 million are the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, $16.4 million, followed by the Housing Opportunity Commission of Montgomery County, $1.7 million; Annapolis Housing Authority, $1.5 million; Hagerstown Housing Authority, $1.3 million; and Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County, $1.1 million.

Maryland hit by foreclosure wave

A second round of the housing crisis is striking Maryland as a backlog of delinquent loans move to foreclosure. The Washington Post reported that between January and June, Maryland saw the third highest rate of foreclosures in the nation after having one of the lowest foreclosure rates. There were 9,330 foreclosure filings in the first three months of the year. That was more than twice the total of a year earlier. Baltimore has the largest share of foreclosures. But the problem has spread across the state, especially in areas with high unemployment rates, including the Eastern Shore.

Deep Creek Lake planning moves forward

Representatives of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Garrett County officials signed an agreement outlining the development of a comprehensive watershed management plan for Deep Creek Lake. The plan, which was outlined last month at a State of the Lake presentation, will serve as a best-practices guide to ensure the lake and its watershed remain healthy and protected. A nine-member steering committee will guide the development of the plan. Steering committee members represent agriculture, forestry, businesses, recreational interests, residents and the Brookfield Power Co. David Myerberg, a Deep Creek property owner, will chair the committee.

Ellin & Tucker reveals relocation plan

Ellin & Tucker, a Baltimore-based accounting firm, announced that it will move from its current location at 100 S. Charles St. to new quarters at 400 E. Pratt St. in September 2014. The firm will occupy approximately 31,000 square feet on two floors at 400 E. Pratt St., a building that is currently undergoing major renovations. Ellin & Tucker will occupy the entire, 24,000-square-foot second floor, plus 7,000 square feet on the third floor. Courtenay Jenkins of Cushman & Wakefield represented Ellin & Tucker in the deal. Whitney Nye of Cushman & Wakefield represented the landlord, PDL Pratt Associates.

SBA’s Sandy assistance deadline near

Small businesses, agricultural and aquacultural entities and private nonprofit organizations in four counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore have until Sept. 16 to apply for low-interest disaster assistance loans as part of the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Small Business Administration said. Economic Injury Disaster Loans up to $2 million are available at 3 percent for private nonprofit organizations of all sizes and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. Loans are targeted at Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties in Maryland, and Accomack County in Virginia. Loan application forms are available online at www.sba.gov/disaster, or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

PERSONNEL 

Photo caption: From left, Mayra Filippone, Joe McGinley, Jennifer Saunier, Isaac Hametz and Travis D’Onofrio.

Mahan Rykiel Associates Inc., a Baltimore-based landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm, has expanded its staff with the recent additions of Mayra Filippone, Isaac Hametz, Joe McGinley, Travis D’Onofrio and Jennifer Saunier. Filippone, a landscape architect, is licensed to practice in Maryland and New York. The other four, who have yet to be licensed, are staff landscape designers. “These new additions to our firm allow us to continue to grow the practice and expand our design research capabilities,” said MRA President Richard Jones.

Jones Lang LaSalle, a national professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services, said Clare Berrang has joined the firm’s Tenant Representation Group as a vice president in the Baltimore office. Berrang has more than 11 years of commercial real estate experience. She was previously employed as a vice president at MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, and more recently, in the Baltimore office of Colliers International. At JLL, Berrang will continue advising companies with office and lab space requirements throughout the Baltimore metropolitan region, focusing on providing long-term, cost-efficient, customized occupancy strategies for her clients.

LEASES 

Merritt Properties LLC reported the following lease transactions were recently concluded:

* The Marshall Financial Group LLC, a comprehensive financial, investment and insurance services group, has leased 1,248 square feet of office space at Schilling Green II, 225 Schilling Circle, Suite 255, in Hunt Valley. Karen Deeley of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services represented the tenant. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs represented the landlord.

* VERSA Integrated Solutions, a provider of IT engineering services for the federal government, leased 3,554 square feet of office space at Calverton Corporate Park, 3901 Calverton Blvd., Suites 185-195, in Calverton, Prince George’s County. Jeff Groves of Transwestern represented VERSA, and Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw represented the landlord in the lease deal.

* Choice Learning & Management Solutions LLC, a training company, leased 563 square feet of office space at Columbia Corporate Park, 8850 Stanford Blvd., Suite 1800, in Columbia, Howard County. Dave Sciamarelli of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services represented the tenant. Merritt was represented by its in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw.

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