Cancer center at University of Md. topped out

The $200 million Maryland Proton Treatment Center at the University of Maryland BioPark held a topping out ceremony Thursday on the city’s West Side.

The 122,000-square-foot building is set to open in 2015 and will be the state’s only site for the high-tech, modulated proton therapy cancer treatments that allow doctors to deliver a targeted dose of radiation directly to a tumor and minimize the damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine and its Department of Radiation Oncology will operate the center in a partnership with San Diego-based Advanced Particle Therapy. The building was designed and constructed by Haskell.

The ceremony featured the lifting of a nine-foot white beam that had been signed by workers and UM officials in several colors, each one representing a different cancer — gray for brain cancer, pink for breast cancer and orange for kidney cancer. The beam will eventually be displayed in the center’s lobby with a bell, which patients will ring to celebrate completion of their proton treatment.

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This week, officials of Baltimore County, the Cordish Cos. and Heritage Properties broke ground for the $85 million Towson Square development by unveiling the names of three new eateries for the project.

The restaurants that have recently leased space to flank a new 15-screen movie theater project owned by Cinemark Theatres are Nando’s Peri-Peri, La Tagliatella and On the Border Mexican Grill. Five additional restaurants are expected to open at the site.

The movie complex and restaurants are expected to open next year.

Towson Square, located on 4.2 acres on Joppa Road behind the iconic old Hutzler’s building near the Towson Town Center, will join Barnes & Noble, Trader Joe’s and Pier 1, located nearby. The development will hold an 850-space parking garage expected to be completed this fall.

“‘Dinner and a movie’ will soon have a whole new meaning in downtown Towson,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This $85 million investment adds new jobs, new entertainment choices and renewed excitement to the center of Towson. The quality of the project will further solidify Towson as a regional destination in Baltimore County.”

The Cinemark Theatres will offer about 3,400 seats and digital projectors. The theaters will also have a 200-seat restaurant and bar area, it was announced.

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Delta Associates this week released a report along with Transwestern that showed flex-industrial market conditions in the Washington and Baltimore region improved last year.

The report said that net absorption rates totaled 4.3 million square feet in 2012, compared with 1.4 million square feet in 2011, just above the long-term average. Vacancy rates declined to 9.5 percent from 10.6 percent in 2011. Investment sales in the region totaled $1.2 billion in 2012, compared with $726 million in 2011.

Overall, improving conditions allowed landlords to increase rents over the past 12 months by an average of 3.2 percent in the region, Delta Associates officials said.

The report also stated that overall, the flex-industrial market is gaining at a slower pace than in past cycles and that growth is expected to continue in the second half of 2013. In the first half of the year, tenants may “remain hesitant about leasing space due to uncertainty regarding the federal budget and its potential impact on the local economy,” the report says.

It adds, optimistically: “We expect conditions to quicken during the second half of 2013 with a more robust market during 2014.”

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NAI KLNB recently brokered a $2.85 million sale of the Empire Towers building at 7300 Governor Ritchie Highway in Anne Arundel County to an unnamed buyer.

The 141,000-square-foot, 10-story building was built in 1978 and is located in Glen Burnie. It is among the tallest in the county and holds Class B office space. Empire Towers is 40 percent leased.

The sale was conducted in conjunction with www.auction.com. David Fritz and Chris Kubler of NAI KLNB represented the seller, C-III Asset Management.

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St. John Properties Inc. and Greenebaum Enterprises Inc. recently broke ground on a four-story, 138,000-square-foot Class A office building at 8135 Maple Lawn Blvd. in Howard County, set to open in November.

The new space is located in the 600-acre, mixed-use Maple Lawn business community off U.S. 29. The massive development has 388,000 square feet of existing office space and rights for more than 800,000 additional square feet.

Maple Lawn’s objective is to provide a mixed-use community of commercial office space, research and development-flex space, medical buildings, restaurants and retail in a main street-style setting along with a full-service hotel and conference center.

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TIDBITS: Michael P. Meisel, principal of Meisel Capital Partners, and William S. Berman, licensed real estate broker and certified shopping center manager, recently joined forces to open United Fidelity Investments. The Owings Mills-based company will acquire, develop and manage commercial real estate properties. … The selling price for Harborplace last fall was close to $100 million. New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. bought the city’s premier tourist attraction in October from General Growth Properties. The sales price was first reported in The Sun. … A $70 million redevelopment of the city’s Rotunda mixed-use development will soon begin. A city design panel last week approved new designs for the project that will add 382 apartments and townhomes to the site, as well as a parking garage. About 140,000 square feet of new retail space will also be built. … Continental Realty Corp. recently hired Belinda L. Torres as director of marketing. Torres was previously director of marketing for Hirschfeld Management, Inc. … St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in East Baltimore celebrates its 150th anniversary this weekend, marking 220 years as the nation’s oldest African-American Catholic faith community. Archbishop William E. Lori of the Baltimore Archdiocese will be the guest celebrant at an Opening Mass of Celebration on Sunday at 10 a.m. The church is at 1501 E. Oliver St.

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