Real Estate Weekly: Creditors pursue Doracon Contracting

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

Three creditors of Doracon Contracting Inc. filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday, attempting to liquidate the financially troubled development company.

They are Potts & Callahan Inc. of Baltimore, an excavation company that claims in court documents it is owed $108,532; Powell’s Trucking Co. Inc. of Baltimore (claiming a debt of $73,351); and Middle River-based concrete company Paul J. Rach Inc. (claiming $34,325).

In August, The Daily Record reported that Doracon, owned by Ronald H. Lipscomb, had stopped working in Maryland and moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C. Lipscomb and the company are facing multiple lawsuits for unpaid bills totaling more than $1 million.

St. John starts new building construction at APG
St. John Properties Inc. of Woodlawn, developer of the 416-acre GATE office and technology business park adjacent to Aberdeen Proving Ground, said construction of three more Class A office buildings is underway at the Harford County location.

Two buildings each contain 75,000 square feet of space; the third will offer 29,400 square feet.
In addition, St. John is erecting five other buildings, for a total of 467,000 square feet of new office space at

The GATE (an acronym for Government and Technology Enterprise) where there is strong demand due to ongoing military base consolidation.

WRIT to offer unsecured notes
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust of Rockville announced an underwritten public offering of $250 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2020 under its shelf registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

WRIT said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for the purchase of its outstanding 3 7/8 percent convertible senior notes due 2026 and 5.95 percent senior notes due 2011, pursuant to the previously announced tender offers for these notes which commenced Sept. 23, 2010.
Remaining net proceeds, if any, are intended to be used to repay borrowings under WRIT’s lines of credit or for general corporate purposes.

LEED gold for The Summit
Washington Property Company of Bethesda announced that its recently completed office building in Gaithersburg, The Summit at Washingtonian, has been awarded LEED gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Use of local, recycled materials during construction, creation of collection and storage areas for tenant recycling, and the purchase of renewable enery, as well as installation of water-efficient plumbing fixtures and a condensate water recovery system used for landscape irrigation were among factors that led to the gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation, according to WPC, a full-service commercial real estate company.

Merritt in the LEED
Merritt Properties announced that its 8840 Stanford Boulevard office building in Columbia has been certified as meeting the gold standard under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-EBOM (Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance) category.

The building, which is more than 20 years old, was retrofitted by Merritt to meet LEED sustainability standards. Tenants of the 93,000-square-foot, Class A building, part of Merritt’s Columbia Corporate Park, include Farrell & Gunderson, Tresys Technology, Northwestern Mutual and Technology Sales Leads.

ABC honors KBE
KBE Building Corp. of Columbia, a commercial construction company headquartered in Farmington, Conn., was honored recently in the 2010 Excellence in Construction Awards competition held by the Metro Washington, D.C. and Virginia chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.

KBE was recognized in the Retail/Interiors category for its work on the new Harris Teeter store in the Park Potomac Shopping Center in Potomac. The 48,000-square-foot, full-service grocery store is a prototype for Harris Teeter’s “Suburban Urban Store” concept, and was built atop an underground parking garage.

The Suburban Urban store marries features of Harris Teeter’s high end, smaller urban stores and its larger suburban locations.

Main Street conference slated
Main Street Maryland, a program of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, along with Downtown Delaware and the Baltimore Main Streets program, will present the 2010 Delaware-Maryland Downtown Revitalization Conference on Sept. 27-28 at the Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

The conference, entitled, “Revitalize!”, is anticipated to draw approximately 200 attendees from local governments and nonprofits from both states. Attendees will hear about best practices from leaders of the National Trust Main Street Center, meet with experienced small business specialists and network with other professionals involved in downtown and preservation efforts.

Main Street Maryland is a comprehensive downtown revitalization program created in 1998 by the Maryland DHCD to strengthen the economic potential of Maryland’s traditional main streets and neighborhoods.

Grant for transit center
Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation announced an $818,300 federal grant to design and build a transit center in Langley Park.

The center would serve bus riders in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, offering a comfortable, safer shelter for passengers who are transferring between buses. The Maryland Transit Administration, which will build the center, said about a dozen bus routes, serving about 30,000 residents, come together in the planned location at the northwest corner of University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue.

Many pedestrian accidents and fatalities have occurred in the area. The transit center also would be a stop on the planned Purple Line light rail line from Bethesda to New Carrollton.

Promising development site in P.G. County
Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are looking for a developer for a 39-acre site around the New Carrollton Metro station in Prince George’s County.

The site, which links Metro’s Orange Line with Amtrak, MARC and two bus systems, is one of 14 transit-oriented development areas designated by the state, putting it at the head of the line for public financing and consideration for location of state buildings.

Gov. Martin O’Malley announced in June that the state Department of Housing and Community Development would move close to a Prince George’s Metro station, but has not yet chosen which one.

Staples goes solar
Staples Inc., a Framingham, Mass.-based office products company, and SunEdison LLC of Beltsville, a provider of solar energy services, unveiled Monday a 1.5 megawatt solar power installation at the Staples distribution center in Hagerstown.

Designed, constructed and maintained by SunEdison, the Hagerstown installation consists of more than 11,000 solar panels. It will generate an estimated 2 million kilowatt hours of energy annually.

Combined with a recent solar installation at the Staples distribution center in Hanover, Staples is now hosting more than 2.5MW of solar capacity in Maryland.

Fillat designs Queenstown eco-resort
Peter Fillat Architects of Baltimore announced it has started work on the Queenstown Harbor Resort in Queenstown.

The project is a four-star boutique-style resort inside a 36-hole champion golf course called the Queenstown Golf Resort. Queenstown Harbor Resort will have 120 rooms, with 80 rooms in a main building and 40 additional rooms scattered among five two-story golf villas.

The facilities will incorporate solar hot water systems, geothermal heating, green roofs, indigenous materials, and rainwater collection and reuse. The project will embrace sustainable design practices and seek LEED Gold certification.

Blakefield renovations due
Rubeling & Associates, a Towson-based architecture and interior design firm, announced it has begun designing a new addition and renovations at Wheeler Hall at Loyola Blakefield, a Jesuit-run middle school/high school in Towson. Wheeler Hall was built in 1933 and currently houses the Upper High School.

Renovations focus on upgrading the heating and air conditioning systems, as well as enhancements to the facility’s mechanical, electrical, plumbing, life safety, and technology systems. The addition will provide handicapped accessibility, a new internal stairwell, restrooms and classroom space.

Groundbreaking is anticipated in January 2011 with a September 2011 completion date.

Easement protects Mo. Co. land
The Maryland Environmental Trust purchased a conservation easement to protect a 17-acre property owned by Timothy Hussman in Montgomery County.

The price paid was not disclosed. The easement helps protect water quality and quantity in the nearby Triadelphia Reservoir by requiring stream buffers and limiting impervious surfaces.

Additionally, the easement protects 1,200 feet of scenic land along Brighton Dam Road and meets the planning goals for the area as defined by Montgomery County. The easement was purchased with funds from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which owns and manages the Triadelphia Reservoir and surrounding lands.

Hord Coplan lands school projects
Hord Coplan Macht Inc. of Baltimore, a full-service architecture and landscape architecture firm, said it received orders from three private schools.

The firm will design a new building at the Barrie School in Silver Spring to house elementary students and a library/media center. Also, HCM is designing a 50-bed dormitory at the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va., and an artificial-turf athletic field to replace a natural grass field at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore.

HCM said the assignments will greatly expand its independent school practice.

Razing likely for hospital
The head of the Washington County Health System said Washington County Hospital will probably be torn down after a new medical center opens.

President and CEO James P. Hamill told about 80 people Wednesday night about the likely demolition at a meeting to discuss the transition when Meritus Medical Center opens on Dec. 11. Hamill said initially there was interest in redeveloping the old hospital. But in the current economy, no one has shown interest.

Although the decision is months away, he said it is more and more likely the facility will be demolished.

This Week in Leases

  • Cassidy Turley, a provider of commercial real estate services, announced it has been selected by RREEF, the investment arm of Deutsche Bank’s asset management operations, to handle leasing of three industrial buildings in eastern Baltimore County. The buildings at 8901 and 8965 Yellow Brick Road in Rosedale and 670 Chesapeake Park Plaza in Middle River total 407,930 square feet. RREEF acquires and manages investments in commercial and residential property and real estate securities on behalf of institutional and private clients worldwide. Jarred M. Testa, J. Richard Latini and Craig S. Lewis of Cassidy Turley are the listing brokers.
  • Maryland Signs and Graphics, a full-service sign company, has signed a five-year lease for approximately 4,000 square feet at 31 W. Chesapeake Ave. in Towson, in space formerly occupied by Wolford Bakery. Both the tenant and the landlord, Seitz and Moore LLC, were self-represented in lease negotiations. Help in securing financing was provided by the Baltimore County Small Business Resource Center, a partnership between the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce and Baltimore County Department of Economic Development. Owners Frida and David Kurniawan are holding a grand opening on Oct. 10-11 at the location in the heart of downtown Towson.
  • Sperry Van Ness Miller Commercial Real Estate in Salisbury represented the landlord in two Verizon Wireless leases near Salisbury. Wesley Cox of SVN’s Hanna Team handled lease negotiations for a 3,300-square-foot lease at a former Boaters World Center at 2423 N. Salisbury Blvd. The tenant, Moorhead Communications Inc., was represented by H&R Retail. Also, ABC Phones of North Carolina Inc. leased 4,500 square feet at 625 N. Dual Highway in Seaford, Del. The space was formerly occupied by a Blockbuster video store. Fameco Real Estate represented the tenant while SVN’s Cox represented the landlord in this transaction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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