Real Estate Weekly: Systems Alliance shifting HQ to Hunt Valley

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

Systems Alliance Inc. of Sparks, a regional systems integrator and provider of information technology and business consulting services, said it will occupy new quarters in Hunt Valley on Aug. 1.

The 8,000-square-foot space at Executive Plaza III, 11350 McCormick Road, while smaller than its current, 10,000-square-foot headquarters, is a more convenient location for staff, clients and partners, with better amenities on site and nearby, said David Schreiber, SAI’s marketing manager.

“The new offices have been completely renovated and redesigned according to our specs,” Schreiber wrote in an e-mail, and offer “more natural light, more contemporary (tech company) design, better overall layout, upgraded finishes, flooring, lighting, etc.”

Bill Whitty of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services represented SAI. Hill Management Co. is the landlord of Executive Plaza III.

Pebblebrook’s new offering totals 17M shares
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust of Bethesda this week announced the commencement of a public offering of 17 million common shares of beneficial interest, par value of 1 cent per share.

The company intends to grant the underwriters of the offering a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2.55 million common shares to cover over-allotments, if any. The company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for hotel investments and for general business purposes.

Raymond James and BofA Merrill Lynch are the joint book-running managers for the offering. Baird, Credit Agricole CIB, Janney Montgomery Scott and Piper Jaffray are acting as co-managers.

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust is a real estate investment trust that acquires and invests primarily in upper-upscale, full-service hotels located in large urban and resort markets, with an emphasis on major coastal cities.

CoStar Group sees 2Q sales, profit boost

CoStar Group Inc. said it posted record revenue for the second quarter of $55.8 million, driven by high renewal rates for the subscription-based real estate information it sells.

Bethesda-based CoStar said subscription-based revenue accounted for approximately 94 percent of its second-quarter revenue.

Net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2010 was $3.3 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared with $2.9 million, or $0.14 per diluted share for the same period a year ago.

The renewal rate for CoStar’s subscription-based services increased to approximately 92 percent in the second quarter, up from 83 percent in the second quarter of 2009. That’s the highest level since the second quarter of 2007, executives said.

“There is no stronger testament to the overall value and utility of CoStar’s services than the satisfaction of our clients as demonstrated by the exceptionally high renewal rates for our services,” said CEO Andrew C. Florance in a statement.

Northern Pharmacy expanding on Harford Road
Northern Pharmacy and Medical Equipment, one of the oldest pharmacies in Baltimore, is holding a ceremonial groundbreaking on July 27 for an expansion of its store at 6701 Harford Road.

The expansion will provide 5,000 square feet of additional retail and office space. The building façade will be refurbished and new signage will be provided.

Northern Pharmacy has been located in Baltimore City for over 70 years. Kimball Construction Co. of Baltimore is the general contractor for the expansion project.

Land for sale in Greensboro
The Hogan Cos. of Annapolis, a land brokerage company, said it has been retained to market 660 acres of industrially zoned land in Greensboro, a community in Caroline County.

Priced at $12.75 million, the property is one of the largest contiguous industrially zoned tracts in the state, Hogan Cos. said, and may also be suitable for both residential and commercial development.

The site has road frontage along Md. Route 312, which bisects the property, as well as river frontage along the Choptank River.

This Week in Leases

  • National Railroad Passenger Corp. – also known as AMTRAK — has signed a five-year lease for 48,000 square feet of industrial space in North East with landlord Peninsula Holdings LLC. AMTRAK will use the building  at 101 Peninsula Drive to house three separate support divisions for the railroad company. Transwestern’s Tom Gentner, Mark Glagola and Brian Watts represented the landlord. Todd Hughes of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the tenant. The building is located in the Peninsula Industrial Park in Cecil County, marketed by brokers as being midway between Philadelphia and Baltimore along Interstate 95, allowing for easy access to major markets.
  • Audacious Inquiry, a management and technology consulting firm, has leased 2,685 square feet of office space at 5523 Research Park Drive in Baltimore, part of the bwtech@UMBC research park. Jamie Campbell, Ridgely Bowman, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw of Merritt Properties represented their firm, the landlord, and served as the only brokers on the deal.