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Real Estate Weekly – 3/28/14

Nine jurisdictions added to Sustainable Communities roster

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Smart Growth Subcabinet added nine localities to the roster of Sustainable Communities, bringing the total number to 64. Each of those communities has developed and committed to a revitalization and reinvestment plan that supports principles of sustainability. Designation as a Sustainable Community entitles the jurisdiction to tax credits and other financial benefits to stimulate development of affordable housing and historic preservation projects, promotion of employment opportunities, and support of environmental and commercial growth. Newly named to the Sustainable Community list are: Manchester and New Windsor in Carroll County; Middletown in Frederick County; Edgewood in Harford County; North Laurel/Savage in Howard County; Greenbelt, North Brentwood and Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County; and Fort Ritchie-Cascade in Washington County.

Affordable housing projects chosen for federal tax credits and grants

Fourteen affordable rental housing projects throughout Maryland will receive more than $19.6 million in rental housing funds and nearly $17 million in federal low income housing tax credits, it was announced by Raymond A. Skinner, secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Combined, the projects will create or preserve 971 rental housing units, add more than 2,600 jobs and put more than $230 million into the economy in Baltimore city and nine counties, Skinner said. Awards are determined through competitive application rounds held periodically by DHCD. Chosen in this round were: Berger Square and Obery Court/College Creek Phase III in Anne Arundel County; Bon Secours-Gibbons Apartments, City Arts II and Mulberry at Park in Baltimore City; Hopewell Point in Baltimore County; Sinclair Way in Frederick County; The Meadows in Garrett County; Riverwoods at Tollgate and Winstons Choice Family Homes in Harford County; Bladensburg Commons in Prince George’s County; The Reserve at Somerset Commons in Somerset County; Booth Street Apartments, Phase I in Wicomico County; and Cannery Village in Worcester County.

Ulman welcomes IT company to Howard County

Convergence Technology Consulting, which recently moved into nearly 8,000 square feet of office space in the Columbia Gateway Business Park, was formally welcomed to Howard County by County Executive Ken Ulman. “This is a company that did $30 million in revenues last year and they expect to nearly double that in the next few years,” Ulman said. “When companies with that kind of momentum want to move to your county it says you’re doing something right.” Convergence Technology Consulting specializes in application delivery through virtualization, mobility and custom application development. The company has 65 employees and plans to hire more over the next few years.

Curator sought for Cecil farm complex

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is looking for someone to preserve the historic Grove Farm outside of Earleville in Cecil County. The 19th-century, Federal-style manor is being offered through the agency’s Resident Curatorship Program, which grants lifetime leases on significant properties in exchange for restoration and maintenance. DNR invites resident families, nonprofits, and commercial entities to apply as long as their missions and use of the six-acre property are in keeping with DNR and the surrounding, 750-acre Grove Farm Wildlife Management Area. The farm’s curator should expect to invest at least $175,000 over a five- to seven-year period. The deadline to submit a detailed proposal is June 30, 2014. For information, go to dnr.state.md.us/land/rcs/index.asp.

Diabetes and Endocrinology Center relocates to UM Midtown Campus

The University of Maryland Midtown Campus (UMMC), formerly known as Maryland General Hospital until it was absorbed into the University of Maryland Medical System, is getting a new occupant. The University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology is moving from its location at 22 S. Greene St. in downtown Baltimore to the UMMC at 827 Linden Ave. The move was scheduled to begin Wednesday. The center is located on the second floor of the main hospital building at UMMC Midtown Campus. The diabetes and endocrinology practice is the first major medical subspecialty to move from UMMC’s downtown campus to the UMMC Midtown Campus. The center will eventually move into a new ambulatory care building at UMMC Midtown, along with other subspecialties, once the building is completed in 2016. Construction of the ambulatory care center is scheduled to begin in spring 2014.

Havre de Grace warehouse sold

A 175,000-square-foot warehouse in Havre de Grace has been purchased by a well-known jelly and jam producer. The building at 350 Old Bay Lane was purchased by Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Co. for $3 million, or $17.14 per square foot. The seller, ConStar International Inc., one of the world’s largest suppliers of polyethylene plastic containers, has owned the building for the past decade and used it for manufacturing. The Smucker company has a plant next door, at 340 Old Bay Lane, where it processes fruits, vegetables, juices and specialties for canning. Built in 1973, the property sits on 16 acres and features 15 loading docks. MacKenzie Senior Vice President and Principal Daniel A. Hudak and Vice President Michael V. Spedden represented ConStar. Peter Dudley of KLNB LLC represented Smucker.

SARC planning new safehouse for domestic violence victims

SARC, Harford County’s resource for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse and stalking, is undertaking a campaign to design and build a model facility based on research that dignifies survivors and provides them with a welcoming, secure environment. Luisa Calazzo, SARC’s CEO, said the new facility will cost an estimated $5 million. The fundraising campaign, still in its early stages, has about $200,000 committed, she said. The nonprofit organization’s current facility in Bel Air, which it calls a safehouse, provides 24-hour shelter, support, advocacy, crisis intervention and case management. But it is located in a more than 100-year-old converted building that was not designed with clients in mind. Last year, the safehouse housed over 200 clients, more than half of them children. There were 28 clients in seven bedrooms with three shared bathrooms. It is hoped the new facility will be built and occupied in from three to five years, Calazzo said.

St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center will have its own Opening Day

Long before the Baltimore Orioles played downtown at Camden Yards (or even at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street), the National League World Champion Baltimore Orioles played before crowds on East 25th Street. What was known as Union Park served as a stadium for nine seasons, from 1891 to 1899. Today the area is no longer a baseball park, but a mostly residential section in the Barclay neighborhood of Baltimore. St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center has occupied that sacred baseball space since 1973. The housing nonprofit recently undertook restoration of the historic space. On baseball’s Opening Day on Monday, St. Ambrose will open its space at 317 E. 25th St. to the community, with complimentary hot dogs and beverages from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Donors to the project will be recognized and local baseball historian David Stinson will be on hand to sign books and talk about the historic property.

Major renovations planned for Merritt Manor Shopping Center

Continental Realty Corp., of Baltimore, announced plans to undertake a comprehensive improvement at Merritt Manor, a 91,000-square-foot neighborhood shopping center at 1115-1245 Merritt Blvd. in Fundal. Continental acquired the property last spring and has since increased overall occupancy to approximately 92 percent, adding several new or expanded leases to the retail center, which was built in 1976. Renovations will be made to the shopping center’s exterior façade, the parking lot and sidewalk areas, improvements to project signage and the refurbishing and addition of landscaping. All work will be performed by The Mullan Contracting Co. of Lutherville. Continental Realty Corp.’s diversified portfolio consists of more than 2.5 million square feet of retail space, as well as multifamily developments with more than 7,000 apartment homes. The portfolio’s value exceeds $1 billion.

Largest U.S. neuroscience facility completed at NIH

Perkins+Will, a Chicago-based, global architecture and design firm, announced the completion of the 320,000-square-foot second phase of the National Institutes of Health’s John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center. Located on the western edge of NIH’s Bethesda campus, the research center is comprised of 10 different institutes, including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of Mental Health. “The project is designed with the latest and best technology to be highly energy efficient,” said Dan Watch, a Perkins+Will principal. Sustainability features include geothermal wells; ground source heat pumps; chilled beams; LED lights; and a photovoltaic array which augments energy generation and usage. The research center is also home to a technologically advanced MRI suite, the first of its kind in the world. Together with the first phase, which was completed in 2004, the 843,442-square-foot research center comprises the largest neuroscience facility in the United States.

Negro Leagues Baseball museum opens in Owings Mills

The Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball officially opened Thursday at the Owings Mills branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, a $30 million facility that also houses the Owings Mills campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. The museum, previously operating under the name Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of Maryland Inc., had been housed in various temporary locations since 1996 until the county offered to give it a permanent home in the new library. At the opening ceremony, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz honored the late “Bert” Simmons, who played for the legendary Baltimore Elite Giants in the 1950s and for whom the museum is named.

State housing department offers special financing for veterans

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development said it is offering special mortgage rates and significant down payment assistance for veterans and active duty military personnel and an even lower rate for disabled veterans. Veterans and active duty military personnel are eligible for a special interest rate of 3.5 percent for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. Disabled veterans can qualify for a 3.0 percent rate. Qualified borrowers can utilize the conventional, FHA, VA or Rural Home Service programs, and they can purchase a home anywhere in Maryland. Veterans purchasing under the program may make use of DHCD’s $5,000 Down Payment Assistance program plus applicable funds through the agency’s Partner Match program. The special rates are offered through the Maryland Homefront: The Veterans and Military Family Mortgage program. The initiative ends at the close of business on May 30.

PERSONNEL

Paul Lund, design executive joins Hord Coplan Macht

Paul R. Lund, an experienced design professional, has joined the higher education practice of Hord Coplan Macht as a principal. Lund brings 22 years of design experience to the Baltimore-based architecture, landscape architecture, planning and interior design firm. Before joining HCM, Lund was a principal at Bowie Gridley Architects in Washington. He has worked on notable projects for the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, American University and Johns Hopkins University, among others. Lund’s own alma mater is the University of Cincinnati, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture.

Scott Dorsey honored by NAIOP Maryland

Scott E. Dorsey, chairman and CEO of Merritt Properties LLC, has been named winner of the 2014 NAIOP Maryland Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is presented biannually by NAIOP Maryland to honor significant accomplishments in and contributions to the Maryland marketplace over an extended career. Dorsey began his commercial real estate career with Merritt Properties in 1972 and has occupied nearly every position within the company. In his current role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the Baltimore-based company that owns and manages more than 16 million square feet of commercial real estate properties, valued at more than $1.6 billion. Company founder Leroy Merritt received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. NAIOP is a trade association for real estate development companies and brokerages and associated firms.

Ruppert Landscape honors employees

Eight Ruppert Landscape employees from Maryland were among 18 of the regional landscaping company’s staff members honored at a banquet at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City for their superior efforts and dedication that benefited customers and other employees, the company announced. Honorees from Maryland were Joe Mangano, Mark Kaercher, Wayne Taylor, Stacy Fryfogle, Elmer Mancia, Tom Flint, Darrin Middleton and Derek Kohler. Ruppert Landscape, headquartered in Laytonsville, provides commercial landscape construction and management from 16 offices in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina.

LEASES

Merritt Properties’ in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs recently completed two leases. Choo Smith Enterprises LLC, a community-based entertainment company, leased 1,440 square feet of office space at the Owings Mills Corporate Campus, 10045 Red Run Blvd., Suite 120, in Owings Mills. Also, Beach Products Inc., a wholesale supplier of towel specialties, leased 7,480 square feet of warehouse space at 8881-8883 Kelso Drive, in Essex.

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