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Real Estate Weekly: Aug. 22, 2014

Commercial moves

Coastal Companies held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new 240,000-square-foot headquarters in Laurel on Thursday. The dairy and produce distributor’s new facility is expected to be complete in early 2016. The new headquarters will be home to a variety of Coastal Companies subsidiaries including Coastal Sunbelt Produce, East Coast Fresh and Cold Chain Logistics. The company, which currently is in Savage, received a $1 million conditional loan from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development as well at $150,000 in relocation funds from Howard County.

Greenspring Wealth Management has increased their footprint at 501 Fairmount Ave. to 6,086 square feet. The four-story building, which consists of 88,000 square feet of Class A office space, is now 88 percent leased. Owner and manager Heritage Properties anticipates announcing two new leases that would bring the occupancy level to 97 percent. Greenspring Wealth Management is a privately owned wealth management and retirement plan consulting firm. The company has locations in Georgia and Maryland, including its headquarters in Towson. There will be 10 employees working in the Towson office.

The Baltimore Sun has leased a 14,400-square-foot space in Finksburg, commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley announced Tuesday. The space is in a 50,000-square-foot warehouse at 2920 Dede Road. Cassidy Turley represented the landlord, DR2011 LLC.  The Baltimore Sun was represented by CBRE.

AOL and Ad.com are moving their offices from Tide Point to Brewers Hill. David Knipp, vice president of Obrecht Commercial Real Estate, confirmed the company would be leasing about 45,000 square feet in the National East building and is expected to move into the space by spring of 2015. He said his company has been negotiating a lease with AOL and Ad.com for a “few months” and that office space is now more than 97 percent occupied.

 

Multifamily news

Apollo Properties of Virginia LLC has sold the 26-unit Dale Apartments near downtown Silver Spring. The property was purchased by 524-528 Thayer Street LLC for $2.3 million. The multifamily team for Greysteel Co., a Washington-based real estate investment firm, arranged the sale and served as the exclusive agent for the seller.

 

Retail Roundup

A decade after Nouveau Contemporary Goods left Mount Vernon, the store is reopening in the neighborhood, lured back by a booming high-end apartment market. Steve Appel said the lease is ending at the store’s current location at Belvedere Square and that he and co-owner Lee Whitehead felt the city center better fit their business needs. The store started as a boutique at Howard County’s Savage Mill in 1986 and moved to downtown Baltimore in 1987 before relocating to Belvedere Square in 2004.

Vanguard is close to signing letters of intent with three restaurant chains to open locations at Merritt PavilionPanera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Five Guys are all interested in negotiations. The developer also has removed a proposed amphitheater as part of the proposed redevelopment.

 

Big numbers

$25m Whole Foods opened its first Howard County location on Wednesday. A figure that stands out is the cost of renovating the Frank Gehry-designed former Rouse Co. headquarters. The Howard Hughes Corp. spent $25 million to prepare the building for the new tenant.

 

Personnel

Eric Holcomb has been named the executive director for the Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation. Holcomb, who has served as a preservation planner for the commission since 1994, will take over as executive director on Sept. 1. In this role he will serve as the division chief for Historical and Architectural Preservation within the Department of Planning.

Jennifer Sychuk has been promoted to vice president, asset management at St. John Properties. She has worked at the company since 2002 and was previously the assistant vice president, finance/asset Management where she was responsible for the financial analysis and valuation activities of the company’s assets.

 

Bigger picture

Tract housing, white picket fences and two-car garages may not define the suburbs for too much longer. In suburban Maryland town centers, such as Columbia, Towson and R0ckville, developers are showing a distinct preference for mixed-use projects that provide residents easy access to nearby retail and office spaces. The changes in design are being driven by millennials who prefer a more urban lifestyle and baby boomers who view these kinds of developments as cheaper and easier to age in.

 

The Mullan Contracting Co. completed a unique task last week. The Lutherville-based firm installed a five-ton, 40-foot-wide gold dome on the top of St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church as part of an expansion and renovation of the religious institution, located at 909 Shawan Road in Hunt Valley. The dome, which was manufactured by Architectural Fiberglass in Cleveland, required a tower crane and special rigging to be installed because it needed to remain level during the entire process.

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