New homes at Uplands ready by March

The first homes for sale at the new Uplands community in West Baltimore will be ready for delivery in March.

An official at Bozzuto Homes Inc., one of the developers of the $239 million project off the 4600 block of Edmondson Ave., said a set of townhomes selling for $199,000 to $214,990, each with a one-car garage, will be completed soon. The first of about 100 rental units at the site came on the market in the fall.

Overall, more than 400 townhomes and single-family homes will be built at the 100-acre site over the next five years, said Dar Mohamed, a community relations coordinator at the Uplands.

To date, the developer has sold 13 new residences with five more pending, Mohamed reported this week. “We are generating a lot of walk-ins,” he said.

There’s no model home yet for the residential sales portion of the project. But one should be completed this spring, and others will follow in early fall when duplexes and more townhomes are completed.

The new Uplands community was designed to replace a blighted and drug-infested low-income housing development of nearly 1,000 units that was razed along with other businesses.

The development stalled for about 10 years as the recession tightened its grip on construction starts, and former residents were involved in lawsuits over relocation issues.

Today, the area is notable for its wide-open, cleared land. The new housing resembles a small village with front porches and grassy front yards, two- and three-story dwellings with modern amenities and new streets and sidewalks.

The master developer for the project is Uplands Visionaries, LLC. That group includes Pennrose Properties, of Philadelphia.

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The Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Baltimore has a new slate of leaders.

This week, the nonprofit advocacy and professional development group of real estate reps for the commercial real estate industry announced that John M. Pezzulla, director of asset management at Federal Realty Investment Trust, would serve as president and Erika J. Palmer, an asset manager at Manekin LLC, as first vice president. Lynn L. Berger, senior property manager at Liberty Property Trust, is the immediate past president.

BOMA also named five new directors: Kevin J. Bauer, senior property manager at First Industrial Realty Trust; Joyce L. Frank, vice president for asset management at MacKenzie Management Company LLC; Terri Gavin, property manager, Montecito Medical Management; Monica LaVorgna, property manager at St. John Properties Inc, and Robert Shovan, city leader, at Cassidy Turley.

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The vacancy rate for Class “A” office buildings in the Baltimore marketplace is 13 percent, according to a report released this week by NAI KLNB.

The group’s annual Industrial-Office Market Review and Forecast for the immediate Central Maryland area, which includes the city and Baltimore and Harford counties, analyzes sales and lease transactions in 12 categories over the past year.

Class “A” has a vacancy rate of 10 percent in the Baltimore County-Interstate 83 corridor, the report said, and 13 percent in Towson. In western Baltimore County, the vacancy rate is also 13 percent, and on the county’s eastern side, the rate is 26 percent. Harford County’s Class “A” office space vacancy rate was 42 percent.

Forecasters said leasing activity is expected to remain slow in 2013, in part because of ongoing fiscal cliff concerns in Washington.

Those gloomy conditions will also be present in the investment sales category, the report said, and a rebound is not expected until 2015.

Home building is also sporadic, the report stated, with residential starts in Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery counties leading the state.

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The leasing and property management duties for a 145,000-square-foot retail center in Easton have been taken on by Manekin.

The company recently was selected to manage Tred Avon Square, located at the signalized intersection of Marlboro Road and the Easton Bypass, also known as Route 322.

Included in the shopping village: an Acme supermarket, Easton Premiere Cinemas, Delmarva Jewelers, Easton Eye Care, Bike Doctor, Great Clips, Hong Kong Kitchen and a Jo-Ann Fabrics store.

The center is nearly 100 percent leased.

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TIDBITS: Community Multi-Services Inc., a contractor that provides services for adults and children who are developmentally disabled, is moving to Silver Spring on April 1. The Ezra Co. recently negotiated the move into a 5,196-square-foot facility located at 8401 Colesville Rd. near the Silver Spring Metro station. … This week, a bill was introduced before the Baltimore City Council to create a tax-abatement program for a term of 15 years to help jump-start apartment development downtown and in other parts of the city. The proposed legislation provides for a phased schedule of tax breaks for developers of rental projects that contain 50 units or more and that would begin leasing before Dec. 31, 2017. … Bank of America is hosting a series of forums Feb. 12 to 14 to help homeowners struggling with mortgage delinquencies. The events will take place at the Hilton Baltimore downtown and the Sheraton in Towson from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. … RackTop Systems recently signed a lease with St. John Properties Inc. for office space in Maple Lawn, located off Route 29 in Howard County. The 4,500 square feet at 11840 West Market Place will allow RackTop Systems to drastically increase its IT production capabilities.

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