Real Estate Weekly: COPT buys N.Va. data center for $115M

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

Corporate Office Properties Trust of Columbia announced its acquisition of a 233,000-square-foot, two-story, unfinished data center in Manassas, Va., as well as the assets of a related company, for approximately $115 million.

The data center, known as Power Loft @ Innovation, was serviced by Power Loft LLC, which provided development management, property management and leasing services to the data center. Located on a secure, 20-acre site within the 1,500-acre Innovation Park, 30 miles southwest of Washington, the structure is currently 16 percent leased to two long-term tenants.

COPT said it will complete construction, at an estimated cost of $116 million. COPT also announced it has formed a joint venture with James F. Coakley, the founder of Power Loft LLC. The new joint venture, known as Powerloft Services LLC, will assume the responsibilities of the former operating company relating to development, management and leasing. COPT will own a controlling interest in the joint venture.

Clark Construction exec honored

A Maryland-based construction company executive is among 15 commercial real estate professionals who were named recipients of the 2010 Developing Leaders Award, presented by NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

Matthew O’Malley, preconstruction executive with Clark Construction Group LLC in Bethesda, was among those receiving the award, an annual honor bestowed upon up-and-coming professionals who have distinguished themselves in their profession and show great promise as future leaders of the commercial real estate industry.

NAIOP, based in Herndon, Va., was formerly called the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

Enterprise Homes Inc. starts affordable housing project

Enterprise Homes Inc., a Columbia-based developer of affordable and mixed-income communities in the mid-Atlantic region, announced that construction is scheduled to begin next week on the Greens at Hammonds Lane, a 90-unit, $14.5 million rental housing development for low- and moderate-income seniors in Brooklyn Park.

Funding for the development comes from Capital One, which is providing both debt and equity financing. Additional funding includes Anne Arundel County HOME Funds through Arundel Community Development Services, an energy-efficiency grant administered through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and syndication of tax credit equity through Enterprise Community Investment Inc.

The development is expected to open in summer 2011 and will be managed by Habitat America.

Roadblock to expansion for Suburban Hospital

A Montgomery County zoning appeals board deferred a decision on whether Suburban Hospital in Bethesda can proceed with a planned $200 million expansion.

A nearby neighborhood has opposed the planned demolition of 23 hospital-owned houses to make room for the expansion. On Wednesday, the hospital’s lawyers objected to a hearing examiner’s ruling in June that the hospital should revamp its proposal in order to maintain a residential feel along Old Georgetown Road.

A lawyer for the Huntington Terrace Citizens’ Association said the group supports the hospital’s expansion but believes it can do so without removing the houses. The board is scheduled to vote on the issue on Oct. 20.

Energy savings at airports

The Maryland Aviation Administration awarded a contract to Pepco Energy Services Inc. of Arlington, Va., to undertake a comprehensive energy savings and renewable energy performance project at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Martin State Airport.

The $20.9 million project calls on Pepco Energy to design and implement a total of 13 energy conservation measures that will improve the overall energy efficiency of more than 30 airport buildings, including the main terminal, covering more than 9 million square feet.

Pepco Energy will also install more than 1 acre of solar power generation equipment. Construction is scheduled to be complete in December 2011.

Electronics retailer hhgregg opens more stores

National consumer electronics retailer hhgregg Inc. announced the opening of 10 new stores in the Greater Washington area, including four in Maryland: Waldorf, Rockville, Largo and Frederick.

The openings bring to 11 the number of hhgregg stores in Maryland. All of the stores opened in 2010 as part of the Indianapolis-based retailer’s push into the mid-Atlantic region. Each store contains about 30,000 square feet and is staffed by 50 employees.

The company currently operates 168 stores in 15 states.

Whiting-Turner wins $59M construction project for Marines

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of Baltimore was awarded a $59.2 million, competitively bid contract by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest in San Diego, Calif., to design and construct two dining facilities for enlisted personnel at the Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

One facility will provide cafeteria-style dining and fast-food-type service for approximately 3,374 permanent staff and recruits; the other will provide similar services for approximately 2,300 personnel. Work is to be completed by September 2012.

The contract contains planned modifications which, if issued, would increase cumulative value to $64.5 million.

DiamondRock Hospitality acquires NYC hotel

DiamondRock Hospitality Co. said that it acquired the 169-room Hilton Garden Inn Chelsea in New York City for $68.4 million.

The hotel is the third in New York owned by the Bethesda-based real estate investment trust, which used corporate cash for the transaction. The 3-year-old hotel, located on West 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, is in “one of the most desirable 24-hour destinations in Manhattan given its abundance of restaurants, nightlife and shopping,” the company said in a statement.

It also has strong business traveler traffic due to its central access to both midtown and downtown Manhattan.

UMBC to break ground on performing arts building

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday at its campus in Catonsville for its newest building, the Performing Arts & Humanities Building.

The PAHB will enhance UMBC’s teaching, research and public outreach and heighten the visibility of the arts and humanities as major components of campus and community life. The building will be constructed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver certification standards.

Designed to be built in two phases, the first phase will cost $87.6 million and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.

KLNB brokers sale of Pa. shopping center

KLNB Retail Sales has brokered the sale of Airport Plaza Shopping Center, an 84,000-square-foot neighborhood retail project in Allentown, Pa.

A joint venture between MCB Real Estate and The Hampshire Cos. acquired the center from The Rosen Group Inc. Gil Neuman of KLNB Retail Sales and Special Assets represented the seller in the transaction while the purchaser was self-represented.

Positioned approximately three miles from Allentown-Lehigh Valley International Airport, Airport Plaza Shopping Center is 100 percent leased and is anchored by Redner’s Warehouse Market, a 56,000-square-foot regional supermarket chain.

Six other tenants, including Rent-a-Center and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, comprise the retail mix which services more than 250,000 consumers residing within a five-mile radius of the project.

This Week in Leases

  • Columbia-based Manekin LLC, a full-service commercial real estate firm, teamed with Jackson Cross Partners of Philadelphia to broker an $11 million sublease of a data center infrastructure facility in Philadelphia. The data center, a 27,500-square-foot building dubbed Philadelphia Technology Park, signed a 12-year sublease for a site in South Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Business Center. The space, originally intended for use by the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, eventually was taken over by NASDAQ when it merged with the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. NASDAQ elected not to occupy the space after the merger. Manekin Vice President James S. Leanos and Jackson Cross Partners’ Pete Davidson represented PTP. Jack Meyers and Roger T. McManimon of Cushman & Wakefield of Pennsylvania Inc. represented NASDAQ. PTP’s owner, Enterprise Technology Parks LLC, also owns Baltimore Technology Park, a 30,000-square-foot data center in South Baltimore.
  • HK Partners DC Inc., a freight trucking company, leased 614 square feet of office space at 8850 Stanford Blvd. in the Columbia Corporate Park. Merritt Properties’ Jamie Campbell, Ridgely Bowman, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw represented the landlord in the lease discussions.
  • The following lease deals were announced by Merritt Properties LLC: Precision Balancing Inc., an HVAC contractor, leased 2,700 square feet of warehouse-with-office space at 3600 Commerce Drive in the Baltimore Business Community in the Halethorpe area of Baltimore County.  The Baltimore Business Community is a single-story flex-office development containing 289,840 square feet of space. The team of Jamie Campbell, Ridgely Bowman, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw of Merritt Properties represented the landlord. Also leasing space in the Baltimore Business Community was Reliable Ambulance and Wheelchair Transportation.a The firm, which offers emergency transportation services, leased 1,500 square feet of office space at 3601 Commerce Drive. Jamie Campbell, Ridgely Bowman, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw of Merritt Properties negotiated the lease on behalf of the landlord. Finally, Business and Engineering Systems Corp., a provider of text mining and systems engineering, leased 11,232 square feet of office space at 20098 Ashbrook Place, a two-story, Class A office building in Ashburn, Va. Keith Wallace and Steve Shaw of Merritt Properties represented the landlord in the transaction.
  • First Potomac Realty Trust, a Bethesda-based real estate investment trust whose holdings are primarily office and industrial properties in the Greater Washington region, announced that it has signed a renewal lease for approximately 130,000 square feet with Home Depot USA Inc., the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer, at Glenn Dale Business Center in Glenn Dale. The property is a single building totaling 315,191 square feet in Prince George’s County. The renewal extends Home Depot’s commitment to the property into 2014.
  • First Potomac also said it executed a new, 10-year, 21,350 square-foot lease with The Tile Shop, a do-it-yourself retailer, at its Snowden Center property in Columbia. The Tile Shop is expected to open for business in the second quarter of 2011. Snowden Business Center consists of five, single-story buildings totaling 144,684 square feet.

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