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Real Estate Weekly: COPT reports record leasing volume in 2010

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

Corporate Office Properties Trust, a Columbia-based real estate investment trust that develops and owns properties primarily in large office parks located adjacent to government facilities, reported increased earnings in the fourth-quarter.

Funds from operations, a key measure of a REIT’s financial viability, rose to $31 million, from $22.4 million in the year-ago period. Diluted FFO per share, excluding operating property acquisition costs, was 70 cents versus 55 cents per diluted share in the prior-year period.

Net income totaled $16.7 million for fourth-quarter 2010 versus $9.5 million in the 2009 fourth quarter. However, revenue dropped to $151.4 million versus $178.3 million in the year-before quarter, due primarily to decreases in construction contract and other service revenue.

The company reported leasing 4.3 million square feet of space in 2010, the highest volume in its history.

Towson townhomes slated
Bozzuto Homes Inc., a subsidiary of The Bozzuto Group of Greenbelt, said it has started construction on Towson Green, a new residential development that will bring 121 for-sale townhomes to the heart of Towson.

The project, located between Towsontown Boulevard and East Burke Avenue just east of York Road, will offer townhomes of up to four bedrooms starting in the low- to mid-$300,000 range. M&T Bank provided a total of $10.3 million in financing.

The community will be LEED-Silver certified and will be ENERGY STAR certified, with sustainable design, construction and finishes. Also, its location in the Towson Commercial Revitalization District qualifies it for a Revitalization Property Tax Credit, which will give residents a significant property tax break for a five- to 10-year period, according to the Bozzuto company.

A sales center will open in March.

St. John donates to PAL
St. John Properties Inc., joined by The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads, contributed $15,000 to the Baltimore County Police Athletic League.

The donation represents a portion of the proceeds generated from last fall’s 3rd Annual Baltimore Crossroads@95 5K CrossCountry Challenge Race, in which approximately 1,000 individuals along with nearly 70 exhibitors took part. The race offered categories and classifications for various audiences and groups, as well as a family-oriented one-mile walk or run.

Over the past three years, a total of $50,000 has been donated from the race event to the PAL organization. Since 1977, Baltimore County PAL centers have provided a safe, constructive alternative to idleness for many youngsters throughout the region. The centers are staffed by county police officers and recreation coordinators, along with community volunteers.

The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads is a new, 365-unit luxury market-rate rental apartment community being developed by Somerset Construction Co. at Baltimore Crossroads@95.

School work for Mullan
Mullan Contracting Co. of Lutherville has been awarded a contract from Baltimore County to complete renovations and build additions to Milford Mill Academy, a high school that educates more 1,500 students enrolled in the ninth through 12th grades.

Over the course of the next 40 months, Mullan will construct a new addition to the school at 3800 Washington Ave. that will include a new gym and extra classrooms, as well as replace all electrical, plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilating and air-conditioning) systems.

In addition, a number of new interior and exterior doors will be installed in place of old ones, and a new main sewer line will be incorporated into the structure.

Mahan Rykiel highlights ‘green’ projects
Mahan Rykiel Associates, a Baltimore based landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm, is celebrating its role in two projects that won awards in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Wintergreen Maryland awards program.

The Fitzgerald at The University of Baltimore won for “Best of its Kind New Construction.” Knight Hall, which houses the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, won the “Bold Green University Award.”

Also, Ken Schmidt, a principal at Mahan Rykiel, was named a Leadership Finalist for his work on the “Green Tracks” Project for the MTA Redline Project. Finally, Mahan Rykiel served as the landscape architect on the St. Paul’s Upper School project, which was also named a Building Finalist.

Elkridge IT facility on tap
Intelligent Decisions announced Monday that it has purchased an office building in Elkridge to serve customers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., with IT solutions.

The 84,500-square-foot facility has a state-of-the-art technology lab for testing and evaluating the latest technology solutions and space for storage, custom integration, asset management and logistics services, two training centers for clients, and a high-tech conference center.

Intelligent Decisions has a range of clients in Maryland, including within the intelligence community.

Bovis gets Odenton work

The Dolben Co., a multifamily development and property management company, has retained Bovis Lend Lease to manage the construction of The Village at Odenton Station, a 400,000-square-foot, transit-oriented, mixed-use development.

The project, located adjacent to the Odenton MARC Rail Station, will consist of 235 apartments in four residential structures, a parking garage, clock tower and 57,000 square feet of retail space. Dolben is based in Woburn, Mass., with a Maryland regional office in Odenton.

New York-based Bovis Lend Lease is an international construction management company.

Former food plant sold
Manekin LLC of Columbia, a full-service commercial real estate firm, announced the sale of the former Martin Gillet & Co. property at 6801 Eastern Ave. for $3.25 million.

The buyer was Crossroads Eastern Avenue LLC and the seller was 6801 Eastern Avenue LLC. The property consists of two parcels totaling 4.48 acres that span the Baltimore City-Baltimore County line.

A 99,841-rentable-square-foot warehouse building is located on the Baltimore City parcel, with parking on the county side. The 76-year-old building originally housed Crosse & Blackwell, a condiments producer.

It was converted to office/warehouse and self-storage functions in 2002-03 and is currently 96 percent leased.

This Week in Leases

  • First Potomac Realty Trust of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns office and industrial properties in the Greater Washington area, announced the first two leases at Atlantic Corporate Park in Sterling, Va., bringing the property to 15 percent leased.  mindSHIFT Technologies, an IT management and services provider, has signed a 7.7-year lease for 24,000 square feet and Charron Consulting, a national construction project management firm, has committed to approximately 9,000 square feet for seven years. mindSHIFT Technologies will move approximately 100 employees into the property. Occupancy is expected in the second quarter. Charron Consulting is moving from a location in Sterling, Va. The new office gives Charron room to grow its current 26-employee staff. First Potomac acquired the newly constructed Atlantic Corporate Park in December for $22.55 million. The property consists of two four-story Class A LEED Gold Certified office buildings, totaling 219,980 square feet.
  • Greenberg Gibbons, an Owings Mills-based developer of mixed-use, town center and retail properties, announced two transactions — a lease deal and a sale — at its Annapolis Towne Centre. Include Software leased a 3,920-square-foot office space to serve as its national headquarters. Include Software’s products include Asset, a software package that helps manage business operations for the landscaping industry. Also, Eagle Title LLC, nationwide title and escrow company, purchased 3,600 square feet of space, and plans to open its new office in March. The two companies are the first businesses to move into Annapolis Towne Centre’s 47,000-square-foot, Class-A office building, which offers both sale or lease options.

2 comments

  1. It’s good to see REITs acquiring LEED certified buildings. It seems like more and more REITs are realizing LEED is a great long term investment. I know Cole REIT has recently acquired three different LEED Silver certified buildings in New York, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

  2. @ Katie – Cole REIT also acquired the Bing headquarters late last summer. The Bing building is a LEED Gold certified building.