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Real Estate Weekly – 4/25/14

David E. Johnson named EVP at Artemis Properties

Artemis Properties Inc., a Baltimore firm that develops and manages real estate owned by Baltimore attorney and principal Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, has named David E. Johnson as executive vice president. Johnson, the former president of Stratford Realty Management Co., has more than 30 years of diversified asset management, operations and marketing experience in the commercial real estate sector. In his new post, Johnson will direct and oversee Artemis’ day-to-day operations, focusing on its marketing and leasing, asset management and value-creation responsibilities. Johnson spent nearly 15 years at Stratford Realty Management, where he created asset management strategies for real estate holdings in New York City, Baltimore and Houston. Other past positions include senior vice president of Lexington Charles Limited Partnership and regional director of Equitec Financial Group.

Pullman earns platinum award for exemplary safety record

Pullman, of Hanover, a specialty contractor for the industrial, power, commercial and public markets, has been awarded the 2014 Tampa Electric Co.’s (TECO) Infinity Contractor Safety Award in the platinum category for small contractors. This award is presented for outstanding safety performance and exemplary safety programs among TECO contractors. The award recognizes excellent safety programs and cultures in use, as well as a desire and commitment to raise the safety awareness and performance of everyone in the workplace. Pullman’s Safety 24/7 and Frontline Safety programs involve empowering employees both at and away from work. Implementation and maintenance of a safety culture within the organization is achieved by utilizing robust safety programs, processes, training plans, goals and accountability measures. Pullman is a unit of Hanover-based Structural Group Inc., a national specialty construction contractor.

Potomac Photonics moves to bwtech@UMBC

Potomac Photonics, a digital manufacturing firm specializing in micro technologies for the biotech and medical device industries, has relocated from Rockville to Catonsville in Baltimore County. The company’s headquarters, R&D and digital fabrication production facilities are now in a 9,000-square-foot space at the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park. Potomac Photonics uses lasers, 3D printing and other digital technologies to manufacture devices and parts at the molecular level for pharmaceutical testing, medical treatment and other uses. The company’s Potomac Digital Fabrication Center is the third university-related 3D fabrication lab in the county, joining the CCBC Fab Lab and Towson University Object Lab. The company currently employs 20 people, including engineers and technicians, and anticipates hiring additional workers at all levels.

Hackerman-Patz House at Sinai celebrates 10th anniversary

The Hackerman-Patz House at Sinai Hospital celebrated its 10th anniversary Thursday with former and current patients at LifeBridge Health facilities, their families, members of both the Hackerman and Patz families, dignitaries and LifeBridge Health board members on hand. The Hackerman-Patz House, named in honor of its donors, the late Willard Hackerman and his wife, Lillian Patz Hackerman, offers a comfortable “home away from home” for families of patients being treated at LifeBridge Health facilities. Hackerman, who died earlier this year at the age of 95, was president and CEO of the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and a renowned philanthropist. Since the house, located on the campus of Sinai Hospital in Northwest Baltimore, opened its doors to both children and adults a decade ago, more than 8,000 families from every state in the United States and every continent have stayed there while their loved ones have been undergoing a variety of treatments.

Printing firm moving to Owings Mills

Merritt Properties LLC, a Baltimore-based commercial real estate development and management company, said it has entered into an agreement with Miller’s Minuteman Press, of Cockeysville, to build a single-story, 36,450-square-foot office and production facility in Owings Mills. The building at 11195 Dolfield Blvd. will be the printing company’s new corporate headquarters, allowing it to further centralize its production facility and expand its operations. The 7.5-acre site and building will be owned by Miller’s Minuteman Press owner Keith Miller. The graphic design, printing and mailing company is one of the largest Minuteman Press Franchises worldwide. It currently occupies four storefronts in Baltimore, Westminster, Towson and Hunt Valley.

Towson University gets help from BGE

Towson University has received $1.7 million from the Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. to help fund the upgrade of energy-efficient features in its buildings and garages, including an overhaul of campus lighting systems, university and company officials announced. The funding comes from BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program, which provides financial incentives and technical assistance for customers to encourage efficiency improvements. Officials also said the university has become the first higher education institution in Maryland to join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. In so doing, the university has pledged to slash energy consumption by 20 percent within the next four years.

Choice Hotels expands presence in China

Choice Hotels International Inc., of Rockville, a hotel franchise chain, said it is expanding its footprint in China by signing a development agreement for Choice’s Quality Hotel and Clarion Hotel brands with Boli Hotel Management Co. Ltd., a Chinese hotel operator. Choice already has several Comfort Inn hotels in China and decided it would spread its mark by introducing several of its other brands, officials said. The development will begin in Hangzhou, one of China’s most popular tourist destinations, with plans to expand across the region. Choice Hotels International franchises more than 6,300 hotels, representing more than 500,000 rooms, in the U.S. and more than 35 other countries and territories.

Federal Capital Partners plans Charleston rehab project

Federal Capital Partners, of Chevy Chase, a privately held real estate investment company that owns and manages in excess of $2.3 billion in assets, said it has joined with Roi-Tan Investments LLC, comprised of a group of investors in Charleston, S.C., to acquire the historic Cigar Factory Building on Charleston’s Cooper River waterfront. The joint venture intends to convert the building — which was formerly used by American Tobacco Co. to manufacture Roi-Tan Cigars — to a mixed-use property containing work/office space, restaurants, retail and parking. The total redevelopment cost will exceed $55 million. Both FCP and Roi-Tan will contribute equity to the transaction, and FCP will provide mezzanine debt financing.

Angelos Law Center’s design honored by AIA

The recently opened John and Frances Angelos Law Center at the University of Baltimore is among 10 American buildings picked by the American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment to receive a prestigious COTE Award. The COTE Top Ten Awards program, now in its 18th year, is the design profession’s best-known recognition program for sustainable design excellence. The building is “a highly sustainable and innovative structure that strives to reduce reliance on energy and natural resources, minimizing its dependence on mechanical ventilation and artificial lighting of interiors,” according to the AIA. The 12-story, 192,000-square-foot building was designed by Baltimore-based Ayers Saint Gross and Behnisch Architekten of Stuttgart, Germany.

LEASING

Cushman & Wakefield issued its MarketBeat Industrial Snapshot for the first quarter. Here is its synopsis of industrial leasing activity for the Baltimore area: “At 1.9 million square feet (msf), leasing activity in the Baltimore industrial market was down 14.1% from the year before. This came as no surprise since 2013 exhibited exceedingly strong market fundamentals and unprecedented demand. With that being said, first quarter activity was still higher than 2011 and 2012 first quarter activity by 35.8% and 25.0%, respectively. Growth in consumer spending was apparent as the wholesale and retail trade sectors accounted for the top three deals executed. Coca Cola Refreshments executed the largest deal at 7210 Preston Gateway Drive totaling 276,260 square feet (sf), while clothier Jos. A Bank executed two deals, a 149,410-sf renewal at 1332 Londontown Boulevard and an 186,687-sf lease at 626 Hanover Pike.”

The Emerging Technology Centers, Baltimore’s technology innovation incubator, said it has reached 100 percent occupancy for the first time in its 15-year history. There are now 19 new companies occupying its two locations at 101 N. Haven St., near the Highlandtown area, and at 1101 E. 33rd St., near Johns Hopkins University. Among new tenants are:

* Grumble Interactive — A mobile development company focused on a new group photo sharing experience.

* GSS Health — Management consulting and technical assistance firm, providing services to international public health clients in order to improve the quality of public health interventions, laboratory testing and clinical studies and support international health and disease surveillance programs.

* Maven — A health care software company building products designed to improve health care economics and outcomes, to dramatically impact the cost of health care delivery.

* Subscribepro — A provider of subscription management software for ecommerce.

* Synap — A platform to provide health care professionals with a view of the patient’s electronic health records in order to provide better care.

The ETC, a venture of the Baltimore Development Corp., is a nonprofit business incubator focused on early-stage technology and biotechnology companies. The ETC promotes economic development, providing business, technical, and networking connections to help these companies grow and prosper – adding to both the job and tax bases of Baltimore city.

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