Real Estate Weekly: BRAC furthers COPT push into N.Va.

Leases, news and notes from Maryland's commercial real estate industry

Corporate Office Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust based in Columbia, said it plans to enter the the Springfield market in Northern Virginia with a new business park.

The project, known as Patriot Ridge, will contain about 15 acres and has development potential of between 800,000 and just short of 1 million square feet of space. COPT plans to start construction of the first building, with approximately 240,000 square feet of space, in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The property is adjacent to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s new, 2.4 million-square-foot headquarters, now under construction at Fort Belvoir. The military base is slated to receive personnel as a result of the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure process, and COPT said its new development is aimed at serving entities relocating to Fort Belvoir as a result of BRAC.

Civic Works to expand in Baltimore

Civic Works, Baltimore’s urban service corps, said it was awarded two grants totaling more than $1 million to expand an existing program that trains unemployed and underemployed persons in environmental remediation.

The Foundation for an Open Society awarded Civic Works $532,319 and the Maryland Department of Human Resources gave $524,023. The nonprofit organization said it will move its green jobs training operations to a dedicated building at 6260 Frankford Ave., in the Moravia Business Park, where it will construct improved hands-on practice areas that better resemble real-work environments.

Brokerage Sierra U.S. opens Baltimore office

Sierra U.S., a Chicago-based commercial brokerage focused on retail, restaurant and entertainment clients, has opened an office at 616 Water St. in Baltimore, serving the mid-Atlantic region from Delaware to Northern Virginia.

The office is headed by Mark Mueller, formerly of KLNB and the J. Gordon Mueller Co. Sierra also has a regional office in Boca Raton, Fla.

Mullan Contracting Co. wins Towson construction contract

Mullan Contracting Co. of Lutherville was awarded a contract by Vornado Realty Trust to construct a shell building on a pad site at the Towson Place shopping center, on Goucher Boulevard in Towson.

Construction is underway with an anticipated delivery date of third quarter 2011. Noodles & Company has signed a lease with the owner and landlord to occupy one of the two available spaces contained within the free-standing building.

The second space is presently being actively marketed for lease by the landlord.

Lebhar chosen for magazine’s ‘Big50’

Bertram Lebhar IV, president and CEO of The Atlantic Remodeling Corp., has been selected by Remodeling magazine, a national trade publication, to join the Remodeling Big50.

Lebhar was the only head of a remodeling company in the metropolitan Baltimore region to be chosen for the prestigious award.

The Big50 consists of 50 remodeling companies whose owners exemplify the best of the industry that year, according to the magazine. Winners are chosen in various categories; Lebhar was selected in the sales and marketing category.

McHenry Row offices 75% pre-leased

The Offices at McHenry, a five-story office building under construction at the forthcoming McHenry Row mixed-use development at Key Highway and Fort Avenue in Baltimore City, is 75 percent pre-leased, firms handling the leasing for the project say.

On Wednesday, gkv, a full-service marketing and communications firm, announced it will move to the building early in 2011. Other office tenants in the 79,000-square-foot building will be the Baltimore Metropolitan Council and KCI Technologies.

Grocery store Harris Teeter, The Greene Turtle restaurant, Dunkin’ Donuts, M&T Bank and PNC Bank also have signed leases for retail space at the project. NAI KLNB, in conjunction with Cushman & Wakefield, is handling commercial office space marketing and leasing for developer Mark Sapperstein.

UMd. appoints new dean for architecture school

The University of Maryland announced the appointment of David Cronrath, a registered architect and academic, as the new dean of its School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Cronrath is currently dean of the Louisiana State University College of Art and Design. He will begin his Maryland post in July, succeeding current Dean Garth Rockcastle, who will remain on the faculty. Cronrath was involved in the post-Katrina reconstruction of parts of New Orleans, as well as focused on severe erosion experienced by Mississippi Delta communities.

He said he wants to use that background to address erosion in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Promotions at MacKenzie

MacKenzie Ventures of Lutherville, the holding company for a group of affiliated commercial real estate firms, announced the appointments of Robert J. Aumiller to president of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services LLC and Glenn T. Ercole to president of MacKenzie Capital LLC.

Both positions are newly created, according to a company spokesperson. Aumiller, a MacKenzie employee for 26 years and a principal of MacKenzie Ventures, will lead business development for the company’s commercial brokerage division. Aumiller also continues in his current post as executive vice president of MacKenzie Ventures.

Ercole, who joined MacKenzie in 1990, has been senior vice president and principal of MacKenzie Capital, the financial arm of the parent company. Gary T. Gill remains CEO of MacKenzie Ventures.

BDC picks façade designers

Two Baltimore architectural firms have been selected by the Baltimore Development Corp. from a pool of 18 applicants to help design improvements to building facades in six Baltimore neighborhoods, using federal housing and economic stimulus funds.

BDC officials said the firms, John Mariani Architecture P.A. and a partnership comprised of K. Lechleiter Architect LLC and PI.KL Studio LLC, will work on the $800,000 project, focusing on Belair-Edison, Brooklyn, Oldtown, Pennsylvania Avenue, Pigtown and West Baltimore Street.

The façade improvements are a part of a Community Development Block Grant program.

The Week in Leases

  • Chrysler LLC renewed its lease for 13,609 square feet for five years at 6085 Marshalee Drive in Elkridge in Howard County. UGL Equis represented Chrysler in the deal, while CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord.
  • Amerinational Community Services Inc. has leased 2,150 square feet at the Foundry on Fort Avenue, 921 E. Fort Ave., in Baltimore’s Locust Point neighborhood. Manekin LLC represented the tenant in this transaction. Merritt Properties LLC, the building owner, was self-represented. Amerinational Community Services provides support services to government affordable housing programs.
  • Native Son Ltd., an electrical contracting firm, leased 5,400 square feet of warehouse and office space at the Windsor Corporate Park, a four-building business complex located in the 2600 block of North Rolling Road in Baltimore County. Cushman & Wakefield represented Native Son in the transaction. The building owner, Merritt Properties LLC, represented itself.
  • Michele’s Granola agreed to a 3,390-square-foot lease for office and warehouse space at 9 W. Aylesbury Road in Timonium. Preston Partners represented Michele’s; Merritt Properties LLC, the owner, was self-represented.
  • Transwestern announced four recently completed industrial transactions:

— Three bulk warehouses totaling 429,100 square feet, purchased by Colony Realty Partners from seller INVESCO, represented by Transwestern. The properties are 8263-8265 Patuxent Range Road in Jessup, comprised of 238,540 square feet, and 8700 Larkin Road in Savage, comprised of 190,560 square feet. The portfolio is 83 percent leased.

— A 121,528-square-foot industrial warehouse at 8730 Greenwood Place in Savage was sold by Morgan Stanley to ATAPCO Properties. Transwestern represented both buyer and seller in the transaction.

— Potomac Wholesale Inc. signed a 10-year, 120,000-square -foot warehouse lease at 7825A Rappahannock Avenue in Jessup.  The space will serve as Potomac Wholesale’s primary distribution center for the Mid-Atlantic region.  Guest Services Inc. is the building owner. Transwestern represented the tenant in the transaction.

— 1040/1041 Swan Creek Drive, a 512,430-square-foot industrial property in the Marley Neck Industrial Park, was purchased by AMB Property Corp. from ASB Real Estate Investments. Transwestern represented the seller

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