Real Estate Weekly: Office leasing activity sluggish in Baltimore metro area

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

Cassidy Turley, a national commercial real estate services provider, said leasing activity in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area office market remained sluggish during the first half of 2010.

In its 2010 Midyear Office Market Statistical Overview, the company said the market added only 413,000 square feet of new space during the first six months of the year, 65 percent of which was leased. The vacancy rate rose to 19.4 percent from 18.7 percent in January.

However, based on expected GDP growth and more hiring by businesses, Cassidy Turley said it expects the Baltimore market to strengthen over the next four quarters.

Omega Healthcare adds to long-term care facilities portfolio

Omega Healthcare Investor Inc. said this week it purchased 40 long-term care facilities from affiliates of CapitalSource Inc. for about $270 million.

That’s pursuant to a securities purchase agreement announced in November 2009.

The 40 facilities acquired by Omega represent 4,882 available beds located in 2 states and are part of 13 in-place triple net leases among 2 operators.

Omega Healthcare is a real estate investment trust based in Hunt Valley that owns 293 nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and other specialty hospitals with more than 34,000 beds.

St. John a finalist in NAIOP competition

St. John Properties, a Baltimore-based commercial real estate firm, has been named a finalist in the annual NAIOP National “Developer of the Year” competition.

The company is one of only five firms across the country to make the finalist list, with the ultimate winner to be announced at NAIOP’s Development ?10 conference in Orlando, Fla., in November.

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, represents developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. St. John Properties Inc., founded in 1971 as MIE Properties, owns and has developed more than 15 million square feet of R&D/flex, office, warehouse and retail space in Maryland, Colorado, Louisiana, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Plans scuttled for $100M State Dept. center on Eastern Shore

Federal officials said they are abandoning an effort to build a State Department training facility on 2,000 acres of private land near Ruthsburg in Queen Anne’s County, and are actively seeking another site.

General Services Administrator Martha Johnson announced the decision Monday, noting community and environmentalist objections to the $100 million anti-terrorism training center.

In a letter to Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Johnson said a preliminary analysis showed a “significant change in land use and considerable noise and traffic impacts.” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a news release that he hoped another site in Maryland would be selected.

Leasing contract awarded for Harford County retail development

NAI KLNB and KLNB Retail have been awarded the exclusive leasing contract for Hickory Crossroads, a planned, 50,000-square-foot, mixed-use development in Harford County.

Developed by Fountain Green LLC, the property will be located at the intersection of U.S. Route 1 (the Bel Air Bypass) and Md. Route 543 (Fountain Green Road). Current plans call for a 16,250-square-foot retail building, a 25,500-square-foot, one-story, Class A office building, and two retail pad sites, one suitable for a restaurant, the other for a bank branch.

Patrick A.M. Miller of KLNB Retail and Joe Nolan of NAI KLNB are handling the retail space and office space, respectively.

This Week in Leases

Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC of Timonium reported the following lease and purchase transactions for June:

  • Experimental Machine Inc., a machine shop, leased 20,240 square feet of flex space at 10923-29 McCormick Road in Hunt Valley. Richard F. Blue Jr. and D. Middleton Smith of Blue & Obrecht represented the tenant. Louis P. Boeri Jr. of Merritt Properties LLC represented the landlord.
  • Tsunami Martial Arts Academy LLC leased 4,166 square feet of flex space at 1718 Belmont Ave. in Windsor Mill. Krager D. Sanders and Richard F. Blue Jr., both of Blue & Obrecht, represented the tenant and the landlord, respectively. The landlord is Belmont Realty Associates.
  • Stat Experts Inc., a provider of on-demand and scheduled courier services, leased 11,092 square feet of industrial space at 6704 Whitestone Road in Woodlawn. Blue & Obrecht represented both parties in the deal: Richard F. Blue for the landlord, Colony Realty Partners, and Paul F. Obrecht III and Krager D. Sanders for the tenant.
  • Civic Works, Baltimore’s urban service corps and an AmeriCorps program, leased 12,009 square feet of industrial and flex space at 6260 Frankford Ave. in the Moravia Business Park in Baltimore. The landlord, C.F. –  P.F. Obrecht Properties Inc., was represented by Blue & Obrecht’s Richard F. Blue Jr., Paul F. Obrecht III and D. Middleton Smith. Tony Gross of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services represented Civic Works.
  • Stilwell Plumbing & Drain Cleaning, a residential and commercial plumbing service company, purchased a 3,500-square-foot industrial building at 6905 Proctman Ave. in Baltimore. The seller, Summitt/Cullen Properties, was represented by Blue & Obrecht Realty’s Paul F. Obrecht III and D. Middleton Smith. Jason Lusby of Remax First Choice represented the buyer.

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