Real Estate Weekly: Rubeling & Associates launches architecture education program

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

Rubeling & Associates, a Towson-based architecture and interior design firm, launched a new service to help private and independent schools determine and plan for enrollment changes over the next five or more years.

Aimed at executive leadership and business management professionals, the Rubeling program, called “Designing a Sustainable Enrollment Model,” addresses enrollment issues that impact budgets, staffing and use of school facilities, as well as the morale of staff, parents and benefactors.

“We guide schools through a process of studying their enrollment, tuition and budget history, implementing benchmark school planning data, and forecasting student enrollment and budget projection costs through 2015,” explained Al Rubeling Jr., founder and president of Rubeling & Associates. “In four to six weeks, a school will be able to establish a grounded plan of attack to assist its leadership in focusing on a vision through difficult and challenging times.”

COPT prices shares
Corporate Office Properties Trust of Columbia priced a sale of 6.5 million shares of common stock at $34.25 per share.

COPT, a real estate investment trust that develops, owns and manages office properties typically located in large business parks close to governmental installations, announced on Monday that it would use the net proceeds from the offering to pay off debt and for other expenses. COPT expects to net about $223 million from the offering, or up to $256 million if underwriters purchase an additional 975,000 shares to cover over-allotments.

The offering will close on Friday. COPT’s shares, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $35.97 on Tuesday, up 10 cents from Monday’s closing price.

Down on the Farm
State Farm Insurance Co. of Bloomington, Ill. and the Enterprise Community Loan Fund of Columbia announced the creation of a the Neighborhood Partners Fund, a multimillion-dollar fund to finance the creation and preservation of affordable housing and community facilities.

These facilities will include charter school and health care facilities in targeted urban areas. The fund, administered by Enterprise, is a 10-year revolving loan facility that will assist nonprofit and mission-aligned developers.

Neither the size of the fund nor recipients were disclosed. Project locations and additional information will be announced when plans are finalized, according to the announcement.

KLNB Retail expands
KLNB Retail, which specializes in the sale and leasing of retail projects under the KLNB LLC family of companies, has hired a team of three Investment Sales professionals for its downtown Washington, D.C. office.

In conjunction with this move, the full-service commercial real estate services firm revealed plans to triple the size of its downtown offices located at 5225 Wisconsin Avenue. KLNB LLC now employs 76 full-time real estate brokerage professionals in five separate offices in the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia marketplace.

Through its Paragon Commercial Property Management subsidiary, the company also offers a full slate of property and asset management services.

The sales team consisting of Andy Stape, Matt Adler and Tanya Slesinger previously worked together with a commercial real estate brokerage firm in the Washington D.C. region. Together, they bring more than 40 years of investment sales experience to the NAI KLNB platform. Over the past six years, the team closed 55 sales transactions valued at nearly $1 billion, and was ranked No. 3 by CoStar Group in a listing of the top retail sales producers in the metropolitan area.

KLNB retail sales unit lists Shoppes at Gateway Plaza
KLNB Retail Investment Sales has been awarded the exclusive sales listing for The Shoppes at Gateway Plaza, a nearly 24,000-square-foot retail center located at 7185 Columbia Gateway Drive in the 630-acre Columbia Gateway Business Community in Columbia.

Gil Neuman of KLNB Retail Investment Sales is managing the sale of the center. The Shoppes at Gateway Plaza is presently 87 percent leased to 10 different tenants, with a mixture of restaurants, business services such as a branch of The Columbia Bank, and complementary uses.
The Shoppes is the only retail center servicing Columbia Gateway Business Community, the largest suburban office park in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. The KLNB unit is aiming for a 2010 year-end close for the property.

Hogan Cos. picked to market Boonsboro residential project
The Hogan Cos. of Annapolis, a land brokerage firm, announced it has been selected to exclusively market a 157-unit market rate, age-restricted residential community within the town boundaries of Boonsboro in Washington County.

The project is sited between Routes 40 and 66, and has frontage on Chase Six Boulevard. It will include a mix of residential product types, including single family, villas and condos.

The project is located in a recently established neighborhood, with existing schools, grocery shopping, variety retail, a gym and day care within walking distance, according to a release from the Hogan Cos. Mike Sponseller of Hogan is the listing agent.

Construction contract awarded for Phase 1 of new Columbia park
Howard County has awarded a contract for construction of Phase 1 of Blandair Park, a centrally located, 300-acre parcel of land in Columbia, the Howard County Executive’s office announced.
The contract was awarded to Urban N. Zink Contractor Inc. of Chase.

Phase 1 — the first of seven phases — is a 25-acre parcel in the south area of the park. Phase 1, located on the west side of Oakland Mills Road, will contain three lighted, synthetic turf multi-purpose fields; one playground; a parking lot for 270 cars; and pathways for pedestrians and cyclists that will connect into the county’s existing pathway system. Completion is targeted for December 2011. A second contract will be let this month (November 2010) for the construction of a picnic shelter and comfort station.

Funded by a combination of state and local dollars, the park, when completed, will preserve the majority of existing forest, wetlands, meadows and a historic farm complex, while providing active and passive recreation experiences.

Baltimore City fire stations due energy improvements
Baltimore City officials last week announced the award of a $4.8 million Energy Performance Contract for Baltimore’s 44 fire stations and related facilities.

Present at the announcement, held at an East Baltimore fire station, were Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Councilman Warren Branch, Fire Chief James Clack and Department of General Services Director Theodore Atwood, among others.

The contract, awarded to Johnson Controls Inc., was approved by the Board of Estimates in September. JCI has since completed a detailed energy audit to determine the specific needs for each station and facility, and the estimated energy savings. Over the 15-year life of the EPC contract, DGS estimates it will generate $7 million in energy savings.

Improvements to be made include lighting system upgrades such as occupancy sensors, light fixtures, bulbs and ballasts; weatherization to reduce air leaks, including weather stripping, caulking and sealing, attic insulation, thermal panels and concrete repairs for buildings as needed; new heating and cooling systems, including replacement of 12 boilers and boiler control upgrades; energy-efficient, ductless, split-air conditioning units; window and door replacements; rainwater harvesting for non-potable use such as watering plants and washing fire engines; replacement of existing water meters with newer, more efficient meters; and installation of solar thermal hot water heaters.

JCI was scheduled to begin installing the energy-saving measures on Monday (Nov. 1), and expects the upgrades will take about a year to complete.

Fitzgerald opens grandly with art-themed soiree
The Fitzgerald, a 275-unit, luxury apartment building located in the heart of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Cultural District, held grand opening ceremonies last week with an art-themed soiree entitled “Art Unveiled” that brought together local restaurateurs, musicians, artists and performers.

The building at 1201 W. Mount Royal Ave. sits on 4.6 acres of land owned by the University of Baltimore. It contains studio, one- and two-bedroom residential units.

In addition to the apartment units, The Fitzgerald also consists of 24,000 square feet of street-level retail and a 1,245-space, public parking garage. Retail components include a 20,000-square-foot, two-level, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers Superstore with a Starbucks-branded café and designated areas for UB textbook and institutional sales, which opened in late summer. Additional retail will open this winter, according to the developer, the Bozzuto Group of Greenbelt.

The Fitzgerald’s residents began to occupy their units in June, and the building is currently 57 percent leased. At the current leasing pace, the building could set the record for the fastest lease-up pace in The Bozzuto Group’s 22-year history, according to an announcement by the company. The development is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, and is on track to become the largest LEED-certified apartment community in the Baltimore area.

The Fitzgerald is a joint venture among The Bozzuto Group, Gould Property Co., NYSTRS and former Baltimore Raven Michael McCrary, and was developed by Bozzuto Development Co. and built by Bozzuto Construction Co. Management is provided by Bozzuto Management Co.

Rooftop garden designed with bees in mind
A rooftop garden specifically designed to attract honey bees is being built atop a former ice storage building in Baltimore.

It is the first such garden in the city and one of the first in the country, according to the designer, Architecture and Design Inc. of West River, and the roofing company, Green Roof Service of Bel Air.

The installation of the roof is open to the public, and is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday atop the recently remodeled Ice Storage House at 330 W. 23rd St., one block from Howard Street. The building, formerly known as American Ice Company Baltimore Plant No. 2, was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2002.

The garden will provide a habitat that is designed to bloom almost year-round, providing a source of food and water for bees, while reducing the building’s energy consumption. Green roofs slow and store contaminated storm water runoff, reduce air-borne pollutants, and mitigate the urban heat island effect, thus benefiting the urban environment and the Chesapeake Bay.

The building’s owner, Resource Conservation Technology, which develops and distributes advanced technology for energy, water and environmental conservation, supplied all the components for the green roof.

This Week in Leases

  • Mack-Cali Realty Corp. of Edison, N.J., a real estate investment trust that owns, develops, builds, manages and leases primarily office and office/flex buildings in the Northeast, announced that ASRC Aerospace Corp., a provider of engineering, technical, operations and maintenance, and professional services to government and industry, signed a 14,159-square-foot lease expansion for approximately three and a half years at 6303 Ivy Lane, an 8-story Class A office building at Capital Office Park in Greenbelt. Michael Gillman of CB Richard Ellis represented the tenant, and Mack-Cali was represented in-house by Kenneth Smondrowski. The 112,047-square-foot office property is 85.6 percent leased.
  • Washington Property Co. of Bethesda, a full-service commercial real estate company, announced the following leases, totaling 13,443 square feet of space:

* 8757 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring: The Obesity Society Inc. leased 3,487 square feet for a move of its office from another Silver Spring location. Brad Wilner of CB Richard Ellis represented the tenant; Todd Bosley and Tim Jaeger of CB Richard Ellis and Marc Witowski of WPC represented the owner.
* 7833 Walker Drive (Golden Triangle I), Greenbelt: The Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children signed a lease for 3,110 square feet for its new Prince George’s County location. Jason Klein of The Walker Group represented the tenant; Todd Bosley and Tim Jaeger of CB Richard Ellis and Marc Witowski of WPC represented the owner.
* 7850 Walker Drive (Patriot West), Greenbelt: GME Four Corners LLC, owner of four McDonald’s restaurants in Prince George’s County, signed a lease for 1,286 sq. feet in the building. Steve Catalano of Commercial 100 represented the tenant and Brent Prossner of Edge Commercial and Marc Witowski of WPC represented the owner
* 5845 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, Va. (Huntwood Plaza): Long & Foster renewed a lease of 1,396 square feet. Derek Hendon of WPC represented the landlord in the transaction.
Derek Hendon of WPC also negotiated the following leases on behalf of the owners of the properties:
* GRQ LLC, a lobbying firm, renewed its lease of 1,173 square feet at 8618 Westwood Center Drive, Vienna, Va.
* Cornerstone Deli renewed its lease of 1,852 square feet, also at 8618 Westwood Center Drive, Vienna, Va.
* Bruce H. Hayes signed a lease for 1,139 square feet, also at 8618 Westwood Center Drive, Vienna, Va. The landlord was represented by WPC’s Derek Hendon and Carter Byrnes of CB Richard Ellis.