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Real Estate Weekly – 10/4/13

New retail center to replace Carrolltown Mall in Eldersburg

The Carroll County Planning Commission gave its OK to plans by Black Oak Associates to redevelop the Carrolltown Mall in Eldersburg. Black Oak, an Owings Mills-based, private development firm focused on mixed-use and retail projects, said it will immediately begin construction of Eldersburg Commons, a $50 million, 290,000-square-foot retail destination. Eldersburg Commons will feature a new Walmart Supercenter and more than a dozen new retailers, including fashion, home furnishings and pet stores. They will be joined by a mix of restaurants and fast casual dining options. The new shopping center, expected to open in fall 2014, will replace the 35-year-old Carrolltown Mall on Liberty Road. The redevelopment is expected to create 221 jobs during its construction phase and will permanently support more than 630 new jobs upon completion. It is also projected to generate tax-related fiscal impacts of approximately $540,000 in new annual revenue for Carroll County and $6 million over the next decade.

Robinson Nature Center certified as green attraction for eco-travelers

Howard County’s 2-year-old James & Anne Robinson Nature Center in Columbia has been certified as a Maryland Green Travel Attraction Partner by the Maryland Office of Tourism. The nature center earned a LEED Platinum designation — the highest available — from the U.S. Green Building Council, for features such as geothermal heating and cooling, a green roof and solar panels. Through the building’s features and exhibits, visitors can learn green practices that can be implemented at home, work or school. The Maryland Green Travel program encourages environmentally friendly practices in all aspects of the state’s tourism industry. Developed by the Maryland Office of Tourism in partnership with the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Tourism Council, the program recognizes tourism businesses that are committed to improving their operations in order to reduce their environmental impact, and promotes Maryland as a green destination to the eco-minded traveler.

Construction starts on new park in Perry Hall designated growth area

Ground-breaking ceremonies were held Tuesday in Perry Hall to celebrate the start of construction of Gough Park, a new 17-acre park that will address a shortage of sports playing fields in the designated growth area. “Public parks enhance our lives, and I am delighted to break ground on Gough Park, which will provide the people of Perry Hall with a fun, safe place for their families to play sports, exercise, have a picnic or simply connect with nature,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. The park will feature athletic fields, walking trails, a comfort station and pavilions. The site, which was purchased by Baltimore County more than a decade ago and has sat unused until the present, will support multiple recreation council sports and activities in the Perry Hall area. It is expected to be completed in just over a year.

MacKenzie represents First Potomac REIT

in sale of office/flex property in Baltimore MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, of Lutherville, said it brokered the sale of the Triangle Business Center, a four-building office/flex complex at 1500-1506 Joh Ave. in southwest Baltimore on behalf of the seller, First Potomac Realty Trust. The sale price was not disclosed. The 74,182-square-foot development, currently 50 percent leased, was acquired by Baltimore-based real estate development company Klein Enterprises, which anticipates using hands-on leasing and management techniques to enhance the property. Don Schline and Mike Spedden of MacKenzie’s Investment Sale team represented First Potomac in the disposition of the property.

Mortgage assistance program ends for veterans and military families

An innovative Maryland initiative that helped make homeownership more accessible to veterans and military families ended Sept. 30 after helping more than 100 families achieve their dream of homeownership. The state spent $23.5 million by the time it closed Maryland Homefront: the Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program,. Through the initiative, qualified buyers received $10,000 in down payment assistance and a half percent discount on the regular Maryland Mortgage Program rate. The discount and down payment assistance meant significant savings for military and former military families seeking to buy a home in Maryland. The program was launched in July 2012.

Greystone closes $15.9M loan for multifamily property in Lanham

Greystone & Co. Inc., a New York-based, national provider of multifamily and health care mortgage loans, announced it provided $15.9 million in Fannie Mae financing for Whitfield Towne Apartments, a 322-unit property in Lanham. The deal was the culmination of $34.2 million in funds in the last 18 months on behalf of Rockville-based Avis-R Co. For Whitfield Towne Apartments, Greystone refinanced a $11.5 million bridge loan, which was closed by Greystone in April 2012, with a $15.9 million Fannie Mae DUS loan. The Greystone bridge loan enabled the borrower to take control of the property and invest approximately $2,375,000 in capital improvements, helping to obtain long-term financing.

MacKenzie finds new way to publish quarterly reports

In a departure from the standard practice of issuing separate quarterly reports for different market sectors (office, industrial, retail, etc.), MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services has put its third-quarter 2013 report on all three sectors on the Internet, complete with colorful, easy-to-comprehend charts and graphics and market outlook essays by economist Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group, and MacKenzie’s own Karen S. Deeley. There’s also an archive of downloadable past quarterly reports going back to 2009. To access the interactive website, go to http://www.mackenziecommercial.com/marketreport/.

DC Dental expands Woodlawn facility

DC Dental, a dental industry supplier, said it installed state-of-the-art upgrades at its 35,000-square-foot distribution facility in Baltimore County, signifying a major step in furthering the company’s expansion in the mid-Atlantic region. The company said it expects completion of full automation in November 2013 in its facility at 2048 Lord Baltimore Drive in Woodlawn. Upon completion, the new space will be 100 percent cloud-based with NetSuite’s Enterprise Resource Program and eBizNET’s Warehouse Management Systems to increase customer satisfaction, efficiency in sales, regulatory compliance and warehouse management functionality.

USNA considering golf course upgrades

The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis is considering more than $6 million in renovations to the Naval Academy Golf Club, including improvements to the course’s irrigation system, grass and practice areas. The Capital of Annapolis reported the school is looking at a plan that proposes $4.6 million in improvements to the golf course, which was designed in 1944 and serves about 600 members and their spouses. The plan proposes another $1.9 million in improvements to practice areas and would close the course for four months in 2014. Earlier this year, the academy commissioned Jessup-based McDonald Golf Inc. to review a golf course restoration plan that had been completed in 2007. McDonald Golf delivered a 44-page revised plan to academy officials two weeks ago.

Rockville REIT agrees to sell medical office buildings

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, a Rockville-based REIT that owns commercial and multifamily properties in the Washington area, said it has agreed to sell its entire, 17-building medical office building portfolio, as well as two suburban Virginia office buildings and a land parcel, to an unidentified buyer for $500.75 million. The sale is being structured as four independent transactions, with a projected date for closing two of the deals on Nov. 12 and the other two closing not later than Jan. 31. The properties are located near major medical centers in the District, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. WRIT announced in January it wanted to focus on its office, multifamily and retail properties.

Study examines U.S. housing problems

The National Center for Healthy Housing, a Columbia-based nonprofit dedicated to creating safe and healthy housing for America’s families, said a recently completed study, “The State of Healthy Housing,” finds 35 million — 40 percent — of homes in 46 metropolitan areas in the U.S. have one or more health and safety hazards. The Baltimore area fell from 29th place in 2009 — the date of the previous report — to 36th place in the current study. The top areas for healthy housing are the San Jose, Calif., Indianapolis and Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., metropolitan areas. The findings are based on 20 healthy housing characteristics contained in the Census Bureau’s “American Housing Survey.”

Walker & Dunlop plans to refinance debt

Walker & Dunlop Inc., of Bethesda, a real estate lender focused on multifamily loans, announced it plans to enter into an institutional senior secured term loan with an aggregate principal amount between $150 million and $200 million to fund repayment of its existing senior credit facility and for general corporate purposes, including strategic growth opportunities. The facility is expected to have terms that are customary for this type of financing, and is expected to close in October 2013, subject to market and other customary conditions. The company said it expects to receive ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service related to this transaction.

WRIT acquires Va. apartment building

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, a Rockville-based REIT that earlier this week announced it will sell its entire medical office building portfolio plus other properties in the Washington, D.C., area for more than $500 million, announced that it has acquired The Paramount in Arlington, Va., an apartment building with 135 units and 3,600 square feet of retail space. WRIT paid $48.2 million for the 17-story building in an all-cash transaction. The purchase price places the value of each unit at approximately $345,000, based on an average unit size of 1,015 square feet. The building was built in 1984 and is 94 percent occupied.

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