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Real Estate Weekly: Legg Mason headquarters deemed LEED gold

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

Legg Mason Inc. announced that it has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified gold for the space it occupies at its headquarters in Harbor East.

The base building has achieved Silver Certification. The certification is established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. Legg Mason partnered with the property’s developer, Harbor East Development Group, and interior design firm Gensler to incorporate green features into the office space and building.

These include low-flow water fixtures; investment in renewable energy equal to 100 percent of the facility’s electrical usage; use of recycled materials obtained where possible from local manufacturers; extensive use of glass to maximize natural light and reduce the need for electricity; and state-of-the-art video conferencing facilities to reduce travel between offices for meetings.

Control tower underway
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday at the Frederick Municipal Airport at the site of a new air traffic control tower.

The $5.3 million project is being paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration using economic stimulus funding. Construction is expected to begin almost immediately, with completion expected within 18 months.

The airport, which handles mainly private aircraft, is the second-busiest in Maryland in number of takeoffs and landings after Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

However, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which is based in Frederick, has said many corporate jet aircraft operators have avoided Frederick because it has lacked a control tower.

Hatcher opens in Baltimore
The Hatcher Group, a Bethesda-based public affairs firm that works with foundations and nonprofit organizations to advance social change, has opened a Baltimore office at 1501 St. Paul St.

Hatcher is sharing the 1,700-square-foot space with Drexler, a web development and design firm. Hatcher’s services to clients include communications strategy, messaging, event planning, media outreach, website development, policy writing and more.

Clients in Baltimore include OSI-Baltimore, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Baltimore HealthCare Access, among others. The three-person Baltimore office is headed by Tom Waldron, a former State House bureau chief with The Baltimore Sun.

Two at Mullan earn LEED accreditation
Two project managers employed by the Mullan Contracting Co. of Lutherville, Rick Jackson and Rich Fields, have earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate Accreditations from The Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

According to Katy Byrne, executive director of USGBC-Maryland, LEED accreditation is becoming increasingly attractive to construction contracting professionals who are seeking a way of distinguishing themselves from their peer group.

Mullan Contracting Co. is a full-service construction management and general contracting firm specializing in commercial, office, retail, hospitality, health care and institutional construction.

Constellation to develop solar power system in N.J.
Baltimore’s Constellation Energy Group announced that it has entered into agreements with Johnson Matthey Inc. and Preferred Unlimited Inc. to deploy a new 5.2-megawatt DC solar photovoltaic power system to serve the Johnson Matthey facilities in West Deptford, N.J.

The solar installation will use high-efficiency photovoltaic panels from SunPower Corp., which will also design and build the system. Constellation Energy will finance, own, operate and maintain the system, and Johnson Matthey will purchase electricity produced by the installation under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

The solar installation is expected to produce approximately 20 percent of the West Deptford facility’s electricity requirements.

GSA announcement of new home for SSA Metro West applauded
The General Service Administration’s announcement last week that it picked the Chevy Chase-based JBG Cos. to design and build a new home for the Social Security Administration’s 1,600 Metro West employees elicited delight from several Baltimore-area public officials.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is “very pleased that the GSA has selected a developer for this very important project,” said spokesman Ryan O’Doherty. “This is a major investment and great news for Baltimore.”

“You can call it three things: Jobs, jobs, jobs,” said City Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector, whose district includes the Northwest Baltimore site. “It’s a major economic boost for the area.”

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., said: “The construction of this facility will revitalize the area, providing much needed jobs in Northwest Baltimore. It will also create economic development opportunities for small businesses in the area. Finally, the convenience of the new location will help hundreds of Social Security employees utilize their workplace surroundings, while providing better transportation options for their commute.”

The new facility, which will occupy a site in the 6100 block of Wabash Avenue owned by the Maryland Department of Transportation, is intended to replace the current SSA Metro West office on North Greene Street in Baltimore, which was deemed too large for the SSA’s needs. The new facility will be more size appropriate and will also be designed as a sustainable workplace, which will include LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Cie Studios moves to Bagby Building
Cie Studios, a developer of interactive applications for business, said it is moving into larger quarters in Baltimore’s historic Bagby Furniture Company Building at 509 S. Exeter St. in Harbor East.

Headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., Cie Studios first opened an office in Baltimore in 2004, to work closely with East Coast clients including Pioneer Electronics, Scion, Volkswagen and Epson. The move was scheduled to take place on Friday.

The company’s former office at the historic Stieff Silver Building in Hampden (800 Wyman Park Drive) contained approximately 1,500 square feet of space; the new quarters at the Bagby Building will be twice that amount, according to Jennifer Walter, a company vice president and head of the Baltimore satellite office of Cie Studios.

Walter said with business growing, the firm will be hiring more employees to add to the five workers in Baltimore.

“The newest hires we’ll make here are for designers, Flash and application developers,” she said in an e-mail.

Cushman & Wakefield adds Preston Partners team
Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate services firm, said a seven-member team of experienced sales and leasing agents from the Columbia and Lutherville offices of Preston Partners Inc. joined its Baltimore-Washington transaction services group last week.

Michael A. Elardo, E. Hayes Merkert, Danielle K. Schline, Christopher P. Wright, Brian N. Kruger and Jonathan Casella were to join C&W’s Baltimore office. Jeffrey R. Pacy was to move to the firm’s Bethesda office.

“[I]n order to go to the next level, we feel that merging with Cushman was the final piece, and in the best interests of allowing the brokers to execute business on a broader scale,” said David P. Scheffenacker Jr., founder and president of Preston Partners Inc., and related companies Preston Capital Management and Preston Financial, Inc.

Preston will continue as a regional development company known as Preston-Scheffenacker Properties.

Completion near for new library at CCBC Catonsville
The Community College of Baltimore County held grand opening ceremonies on Tuesday for its new, 75,000-square-foot library, the first new building in 10 years to be constructed at the college’s Catonsville campus.

The $28 million building houses not only library space, but has seven classrooms, a Student Success Center, a cyber café and more. It is also LEED silver certified, with eco-conscious features like energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, water-conserving fixtures in restrooms, and recycled and recyclable materials in flooring and ceiling panels.

Students have been using five classrooms on the building’s first floor since the start of the fall semester, while minor work continued on the upper floors.

Full completion is expected in late November. Plans call for the campus’s existing, 41,000-square-foot library building to be converted into a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math building.

This Week in Leases

  • JNET I Communications LLC, a customer management and fulfillment services company, leased 12,360 square feet of warehouse/office space at 4240 Shannon Drive in Baltimore City, landlord Merritt Properties LLC announced. Pat Franklin, Whit Levering and Lou Boeri of Merritt Properties negotiated the lease on behalf of the landlord. Kim Vo of Mohr Partners represented the tenant.
  • Cushman & Wakefield’s Baltimore office announced that Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP, one of the largest litigation firms in Pennsylvania, has signed a new lease for 4,817 square feet of office space at Woodholme Center 1, 1829 Reisterstown Road, in Pikesville. Rich Thomas of C& W represented TT&H; Doug Brinkley and Lizzy Sweeney of Casidy Turley represented the landlord, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust. The law firm, currently located in the Sophmar Building at 6 E. Mulberry St. in downtown Baltimore, will move its staff and five resident attorneys to the new office in mid-November. The office is big enough to enable the firm to expand when ready, C&W representatives said. Headquartered in Harrisburg, TT&H maintains satellite offices in Bethlehem, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., as well as Baltimore.
  • Two separate divisions of the Baltimore-based Strata Group — Yerman Witman Gaines and Conklin Realty, and Continental Title Group, a division of Real Estate Title and Escrow LLC — have signed new leases for 8,000 square feet of space at The Offices at McHenry, a mixed-use project in Southeast Baltimore. Both companies expect to occupy their new offices early in 2011. Joe Nolan of NAI KLNB and Tim Jackson of Cushman & Wakefield represented the developer and landlord of the project, Mark Sapperstein, in both transactions. The tenants were self-represented. Continental Title Group (formerly Continental Title Inc.) a commercial and residential title company, is relocating from its office of nearly 25 years in South Baltimore to open the new, 5,000-plus square-foot space in McHenry Row. Yerman Witman Gaines and Conklin Realty LLC, a residential real estate brokerage that has shown rapid growth in the last four years, has leased more than 2,500 square feet of space. The Offices at McHenry are part of Sapperstein’s 175,000-square-foot McHenry Row project, located near the intersection of Key Highway and East Fort Avenue in Locust Point.