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Real Estate Weekly: Md. pension system sells shopping center for $102M

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

The state retirement system sold an Annapolis shopping center, the Festival at Riva, for $102.5 million at the close of 2010 to Glendale, Calif.-based American Realty Advisors.

According to Michael Golden, spokesman for the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, the pension system bought the property in 1995 for $41.7 million and sold it on Dec. 29.
Golden said the decision to sell the 304,251-square-foot retail center stemmed from the retirement system’s desire to spread out its real estate holdings and divest itself of properties in which it is the sole owner. CB Richard Ellis Inc. represented the retirement system in the sale.

C&W picked to market space in downtown building
Cushman & Wakefield said it has been retained by Franklin Street Properties Corp. as the exclusive real estate agent to lease 120 E. Baltimore St. a 25-story, 325,978-square-foot, Class A building in downtown Baltimore known as the SunTrust Bank Building.

The building has a  total of 137,692 square feet available for lease, with typical floor sizes of approximately 18,107 square feet. Included in that total is a block of 91,083 square feet of contiguous space, one of the largest in downtown Baltimore.

C&W leasing agents T. Courtenay Jenkins, Tim Jackson and Whitney Nye will market 120 E. Baltimore St. on behalf of the landlord.

Warehouse in Hanover acquired
First Potomac Realty Trust Inc. of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns industrial and office properties in the Greater Washington metropolitan area, announced its acquisition of 7458 Candlewood Road in Hanover, a warehouse facility, for $22.6 million.

First Potomac financed the acquisition of the 295,673-square-foot building by assuming a $14.7 million first mortgage and drawing on its revolving credit facility. Although fully leased to four tenants, one company, Frank Parsons Paper Inc., which occupies nearly three-quarters of the building, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will give up a portion of its space.

First Potomac said it has identified tenants to potentially backfill the space that Parsons will relinquish.

Bethesda firm finances long-term care deal
Walker & Dunlop LLC of Bethesda, a commercial real estate financial services provider, said it gave $104.7 million of acquisition funding to Ark Holding Co. of Memphis, Tenn., an owner and operator of long-term care facilities, for the purchase of 18 skilled nursing facilities in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

The financing was funded under the federal 232/223(f) loan program that provides low interest rate and non-recourse financing with flexible prepayment requirements.

The financing is structured to provide maximum flexibility so Ark Holding Co. can upgrade the facilities in the coming years.

Merritt sells land to Kaiser Permanente
Merritt Properties said last week it closed on the sale of 9.6 acres at its Beltway Business Park in Halethorpe. The buyer, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, paid just under $5.4 million for the property.

Kaiser plans to develop a multi-specialty health care facility, its first in the Baltimore area. The 130,000-square-foot building, scheduled to open in June 2013, will bring together primary care and a number of specialty services in one location. It is the first integrated care facility of its kind in the Baltimore area for the health plan and care provider, which is looking to grow its membership throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Merritt Construction Services, a division of Merritt Properties, has been contracted by Kaiser to finish the land, making all preparations required to build on it, including sewer, water, grading, roads and telecommunications infrastructure.

The Beltway Business Park is located at the intersection of Washington and Lansdowne Boulevards in Halethorpe. The park is highly visible and easily accessible from I-95 and I-695, important features to Kaiser Permanente in their search for land. The business park currently has three buildings totaling 139,400 square feet.

Columbia office building sells for $7.25 million
Cassidy Turley announced the sale of 7700 Montpelier Road, a 43,785-square-foot, single-story office building in Columbia that is fully leased to Johns Hopkins University.

The property fetched a price of $7.25 million. Jon Carpenter, Jay Wellschlager and Philip Iglehart of Cassidy Turley’s Capital Markets Group represented the owner, CSG Partners LLC, in the sale to Romanek Properties in partnership with Syndicated Equities, both of Chicago.

Brokers said the property’s strong location within the Baltimore-Washington corridor and seven-year lease to a triple A credit-rated tenant were responsible for the significant interest shown in the property prior to sale.

This is the second transaction for the Capital Markets Group team within a week, having represented RREEF in the sale of 7603 Energy Parkway to Industrial Income Trust on Dec. 30.

REIT acquires Capitol Hill office building for $15.3M
First Potomac Realty Trust of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns and manages office and industrial properties in the Greater Washington metropolitan area, announced it has acquired 440 First Street, N.W., in Washington, paying $15.3 million for the 105,000-square-foot office building in the Capitol Hill submarket.

The property is currently subject to a land lease with a remaining term of 45 years. First Potomac Realty Trust has reached an agreement with the landowner to purchase the fee interest in the land and said it expects to close that transaction in the next few weeks.

The property, built in 1982, was occupied by a single tenant until mid-2007. First Potomac said it plans to perform a complete renovation and modernization of the building, including significant exterior façade enhancements and new mechanical systems with the goal of achieving LEED certification.

The company is also considering expanding the building, as there is additional floor area ratio on the site that would allow up to 30,000 square feet of rentable space.

With its newest acquisition, First Potomac now owns four office buildings in Washington. Douglas J. Donatelli, First Potomac’s chairman and CEO, said the acquisition of 440 First Street, like other of its Washington property purchases, “was an off-market deal that underscores the strong relationships we have in this market.”

Pebblebrook gets loan
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust of Bethesda said it closed a $31 million, five-year loan from UBS Real Estate Securities Inc. at a fixed rate of 5.44 percent.

The loan is backed by a mortgage on the 256-room Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Wash. The company said it would use the money to pay for future acquisitions and general business purposes. Pebblebrook said it now has $174.6 million in debt at an average interest rate of almost 4.1 percent.

It has not drawn on a $150 million line of credit. The real estate investment trust owns eight hotels with 2,300 rooms, primarily in big cities and resort markets.

This Week in Leases

  • Science Applications International  Corp., a government services contractor that is listed on the Fortune 500, said it signed a new lease with St. John Properties to occupy 50,000 square feet of office space at The GATE (Government and Technology Enterprise) office and tech park at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The new facility will build on SAIC’s existing presence in nearby Abingdon, Edgewood and Aberdeen, as well as at customer sites in the area. SAIC has supported major Army and Department of Defense programs at APG for more than 20 years, providing services in areas including engineering, technical integration, logistics, and safety and risk management.
  • InSync Cycle Studio LLC has signed a 1,440-square-foot lease at 11121 York Road in the Ashland Marketplace in Hunt Valley. Kyle Durkee, associate director with Cushman & Wakefield’s Baltimore office, represented the tenant. The landlord was represented by Sierra Mid-Atlantic LLC. The fitness facility will be dedicated exclusively to indoor cycling in what is known as Spinning, and is the first facility of its kind in the Baltimore-Washington area. InSync Cycle will provide its patrons with state-of-the-art bikes, experienced instructors and a healthy atmosphere for riders of all levels. The facility will open its doors to the public on Feb. 19. Other tenants in the retail center include The Little Gym, a children’s fitness center, and the Pennsylvania Dutch Market supermarket.