Dec 13, 2012
This week, Mercy High School dedicated four renovated science labs for physics, biology, chemistry and physical science and an entirely new lab for upper-level electives.
The all-female private Catholic high school at 1300 E. Northern Parkway named its center the Dorothy Williams Bunting Science Center after the mother of local philanthropist Mary Catherine Bunting, a chairwoman of Mercy’s “Passion for the Future” capital campaign. The science labs are a major part of that campaign. Rubeling and Associates of Towson designed the center.
Each lab will have SMART Boards, lab stations and a teacher prep room for storage of chemicals and glassware.
“This renovation plan has been in the works for a few years,” said Nancy Uryasz, Mercy’s science department chair. “It has been so exciting to watch this grow from stage to stage … in these labs, we are working in a wonderfully stimulating environment.”
The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition recently made a set of recommendations to help families get faster relief if they are living under threat of losing their homes to foreclosure.
The nonprofit has been monitoring a $25 billion settlement hashed out to provide relief from five major U.S. banks to troubled borrowers as well as direct payments to states and the federal government. The national mortgage settlement was announced in February by 49 state attorneys general across the U.S. in response to the housing collapse and foreclosure crisis.
The recommendations by MCRC were made in response to a second “progress report” released last month that the coalition’s executive director, Marceline White, called “very modest, at best.”
“Much more needs to be done at the federal and state level to help working families save their homes,” White said in a statement.
Figures released by a national monitor of the settlement show that 6,933 Maryland families received help under the settlement between March and September of this year. Relief averaged $79,721 per family. In that same time period, though, data show that 64,275 Maryland families received notices that their homes were in danger of foreclosure, with more than 24,800 receiving notices in September alone.
The report also says that from March to September, 35 percent of those who got relief under the early phase of the massive settlement lost their homes to short sales, in which the proceeds recovered are less than the total debt. White has said in the past that the banks involved in the settlement — Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Ally/GMAC and JPMorgan Chase — were aggressively pushing troubled homeowners toward short sales under the settlement instead of working toward loan restructurings and modification offers.
“The slow pace of principal-reduction loan modifications not only hurts families facing foreclosures but stands in the way of the recovery of the housing market and the national economy from the economic crisis,” a MCRC release said this week. “With more than 11 million homeowners thought to be more than $600 billion underwater on their mortgages, many economists believe consumer spending won’t really recover until many more homeowners can get out from under their upside-down mortgages.”
White also has called on the banks to release geographic data of the relief by ZIP code to better track how the money is being distributed among communities.
“We know what communities have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis but we don’t know if they’re getting the relief they need,” she said in a statement. “Now we need to see the kind of data that will show us where relief is going.”
This week, Bozzuto Construction Co. unveiled a slate of new projects to the south of Charm City that will total more than $107 million in contracts: a new shopping and residential complex that will feature apartments and a Safeway in Northwest Washington; the MetroTowns at Parkside; a $19 million Pollin Memorial Community Development in Northeast Washington; the $20 million Kingsview Village Apartments in Germantown; and the $28 million, 284-unit Tyler House Apartments in Northwest Washington.
The $40 million Petworth Safeway & Residences development will feature two levels of underground parking and five levels of 218 apartments. It will include an “urban concept” Safeway retail store, two levels of below-grade parking and five levels of apartments. The project is designed by architect Torti Gallas and Partners of Silver Spring and is expected to be ready by summer 2014.
On Monday, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori will lead the blessing and ribbon cutting of the newly minted University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson.
The event will begin at 11 a.m. in the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel at the hospital, known as St. Joseph Medical Center until it was sold to the University of Maryland Medical System in a deal that closed on Dec. 1.
TIDBITS: Commercial real estate website www.TenantRex.com launched this week, offering available lease information through crowd sourcing. The goal is to create “the largest and most accurate commercial real estate database available,” says Zach Bruno, a TenantRex principal. “Brokers can increase their commissions by saving hours of cold calling. Tenants can lower their occupancy costs by discovering what other tenants in their area or building are paying. CRE professionals, such as analysts, appraisers, and researchers, can access previously unattainable data leading to timely and powerful reporting,” the company boasts … Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake helped to open the city’s first PriceRite grocery store this week at 1205 W. Pratt Street in the Mount Clare Junction Shopping Center. PriceRite officials made a donation to the Maryland Food Bank to help celebrate the opening … Kronos Systems Inc. recently leased 2,483 square feet of office space at 6021 University Blvd. in Ellicott City. Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw of Merritt Properties LLC helped to ink the deal … This week, Washington developer Broadwater Capital purchased the Odd Fellows Hall at 300 Cathedral St. to convert it into 59 market-rate apartments. The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore cheered the deal because it is another expansion of residential housing in the center-city area, also known as “The 401” based on the Census codes.