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Real Estate Weekly – 4/4/14

Construction of regional bus maintenance facility underway

Construction has started on a $14.8 million Regional Transit Maintenance Facility in Savage that will provide a centrally located facility for the repair and cleaning of buses. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 28, attended by several members of the Maryland congressional delegation as well as the Howard and Anne Arundel county executives, members of both county councils and representatives of the O’Malley administration. Located at 8800 Corridor Rd., the 22,000-square-foot facility will be used for public transit vehicles serving Howard and Anne Arundel counties. Construction costs are being paid through a combination of federal, state and local funding, including $6.6 million from the Federal Transit Administration, $5.1 million from Howard County, $1.75 million from the Maryland Transit Administration and $1.27 million from Anne Arundel County. The facility is being built to LEED Silver standards, and completion is expected by mid-November of 2014.

Jovian Concepts moves offices to business park in Columbia

Jovian Concepts Inc., a systems engineering consulting firm, moved its headquarters from Cockeysville in Baltimore County to a location in Howard County, bringing 45 high-tech jobs to the Columbia Gateway Business Park. The firm held a ribbon-cutting last week at its new, 3,000-square-foot offices at 6700 Alexander Bell Drive. The company began in 2009 with its founder, Richard Scheper, as the sole employee. It has since grown to a firm that generated more than $6 million in revenue in 2013. Jovian employs highly technical personnel in the disciplines of systems engineering and integration, software development, testing and operations. While most of their work has been as subcontractors with federal agencies, the company is exploring opportunities at the state level. Scheper cited “the talented workforce, great quality of life and the proximity to our clients” as factors in the company’s decision to relocate to Howard County.

Gabe’s store to open in Glen Burnie

Gabriel Brothers Inc., a discount fashion retailer, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday at its new store in Glen Burnie. The 50,000-square-foot store was built on the site of a former Wal-Mart at 7968 Crain Highway, in the East Park Shopping Center. The store, known to its loyal fans as Gabe’s, is the second in the Baltimore area and the third in Maryland — the first is in Abingdon in Harford County, and there’s another one in Cumberland. The Glen Burnie location has the distinction of being the company’s first new store to open in 2014. Gabriel Brothers offers well-known brands like Liz Claiborne and Ann Klein at prices up to 70 percent off the name brands. The Morgantown, W.Va.-based company owns about 95 stores under the names of Gabe’s and Rugged Wearhouse in locations along the East Coast from Washington to Maine and into parts of Canada.

Ruppert Landscape acquires competitor in friendly transaction

Ruppert Landscape Inc., of Laytonsville, a commercial landscape installation and landscape management services provider, announced its acquisition of A R Star Services Inc., of White Hall, also a commercial landscape management services company. Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition brought with it commercial landscape management contracts, primarily in northern Baltimore County. The purchase also included trucks and street-sweeping equipment, allowing Ruppert to expand its services to providing parking garage, street and parking lot sweeping. A R Star owner Bob McElwain, who started the company in 1976, will remain for the next six months as a part-time consultant to ensure a seamless transition. McElwain said he approached Ruppert about acquiring his company, “knowing that they would carry my business forward in a way consistent with how I operated for three decades.” Ruppert has 16 branch offices and 900 employees in Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Philadelphia, Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta.

Dog park’s opening cause for celebration

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will be joined by an enthusiastic crowd of community leaders, politicians, dog enthusiasts and their pets to celebrate the grand opening of the Perry Paw Dog Park at Honeygo Regional Park. The $205,000 dog park is a major enhancement to the popular Honeygo Run Regional Park in Perry Hall. It includes a third-of-an-acre area for small dogs and a 1.06-acre area for larger breeds. It feature a key card entry system for member dog owners, doggie water fountains and other amenities. The park is operated by the Perry Paw Dog Park Committee, which sets the operating rules, coordinates paid memberships and oversees the daily operation of the park. The group raised $20,000 toward construction of the dog park.

Odenton Town Center getting new businesses

Metropolitan Management Co., an affiliate of Baltimore-based Klein Enterprises, said the Odenton Town Center is getting some new businesses later this year. Baltimore Coffee & Tea Co. will begin construction in the near future of a 2,440-square-foot store in the Village of Odenton Station, a mixed-use, residential and commercial development. Baltimore Coffee & Tea, which has stores in Frederick and Annapolis and a roasting plant and store in Timonium, is expected to open the new location later this summer. Also, the All American Steakhouse & Sports Theater will open a 6,500-square-foot restaurant and sports bar at Meade Center, a mixed-use project near Fort George G. Meade, in November. All American Steakhouse currently has facilities in Edgewater and Perry Hall in Maryland, and in Ashburn and Manassas, Va., and is opening another restaurant in Waldorf this summer.

Choice announces development incentive

Choice Hotels International Inc., of Rockville, a hotel franchise chain, announced a first-ever development incentive for new construction of Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites hotels to further fuel growth of the Comfort portfolio. The new construction development incentive reduces fees totaling three years of royalty value on approved Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites projects. There are currently nearly 1,900 domestic Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites hotels. In addition, more than 300 existing Comfort properties are under major transformation, accounting for roughly 20 percent of the entire Comfort system. Choice Hotels has dedicated approximately $40 million for property improvement, the largest such investment the company has ever made in a single brand improvement.

Shaw Sports Turf scores with Ripken Foundation

The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has named Shaw Sports Turf, of Calhoun, Ga., as the exclusive provider of synthetic turf for its Youth Development Parks initiative. The initiative is developing multi-purpose, low-maintenance baseball fields with synthetic turf for underserved young people across the United States. The initiative has completed 18 parks in 10 states, with an additional 23 fields in development and fundraising phases throughout the country. The foundation’s goal is to complete 50 parks by 2015. Shaw Sports Turf has completed over 1,500 synthetic turf installations over more than two decades, including for the Baltimore Ravens, Vanderbilt University and the Johns Hopkins University.

LEASES 

LaserShip Inc., a parcel carrier company that specializes in providing “last mile deliveries,” has signed a lease with Hill Management Services Inc., of Timonium, for 18,000 square feet of space within 2709 Rolling Road in the Rolling Road Commerce Center. Based in Vienna, Va., LaserShip provides same-day and next-day deliveries to service the rapidly expanding e-commerce and product supply businesses stretching from Maine to Florida. 2709 Rolling Road is a 78,000-square-foot warehouse building that features ceiling heights ranging from 20 to 22 feet, dock and drive-in door capabilities and a complementary office component. Danielle Beyrodt, vice president of leasing and acquisitions at Hill Management Services represented the landlord and Matthew Laraway of Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant in this transaction.

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