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Real Estate Weekly: Tech park for Hagerstown, jobs for Pikesville, personnel and leases

Tech park for Hagerstown

A Western Maryland-based economic development group said it purchased 173 acres for a technology business park in the Hagerstown area.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation said Wednesday it bought the land between Hagerstown Community College and the Meritus Medical Center from Pennsylvania-based Diakon Senior Living for about $3.5 million. The property was previously earmarked for residential development.

Diakon is keeping 50 adjacent acres for potential expansion of a senior living community. The foundation said it will work with local representatives to market the property to businesses willing to complement the community college’s biotechnology program.

Blueprint for growth

Blueprint Maryland, a statewide nonprofit alliance formed and chaired by businessman John Delaney, has opened an office in Chevy Chase in preparation for launching an exchange of ideas among economic development stakeholders.

Delaney said the organization will marshal state and national economic policy experts, as well as solicit ideas from community groups, labor unions, businesses and individuals, to identify solutions and develop strategies for long-term job growth.

Delaney, a Montgomery County resident, is the co-founder and chairman of two Chevy Chase-based companies, Alliance Partners, an asset management firm, and CapitalSource Inc., a commercial lending firm.

Md. REIT buys hotel

Chesapeake Lodging Trust of Annapolis said Monday that it has purchased Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter from InterContinental Hotels Group for $55.5 million, giving it access to the San Diego market.

The real estate investment trust paid for the transaction by borrowing under its revolving credit agreement. CLT said it is in a long-term management deal with InterContinental to continue operating the property under the Hotel Indigo name.

The hotel is located in downtown San Diego and houses guestrooms and suites, meeting space, a business center, fitness center, Table 509 Bar and Kitchen and Level 9 Rooftop Bar.

Shoreline work completed

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced the completion of the $4.7 million Pleasure Island Dredging and Living Shoreline Enhancement Project.

The dredging and beach replenishment project restores boating access to the Pleasure Island Channel, improves water quality and protects 2,200 feet of fragile shoreline, according to officials.

The project was managed by Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability staff and was funded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources through the Maryland Department of the Environment with federal economic stimulus money.

Sewage study group named

Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday named a cross-section of business, agriculture, science, environmental advocacy and government representatives from throughout Maryland to study the impact of on-site septic systems on undeveloped land.

The Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal will be chaired by Del. Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore City, chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee. Jon Laria, partner in the law firm of Ballard Spahr and chair of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, will serve as vice chair.

For the makeup and tasks of the 28-member commission, go to http://www.governor.maryland.gov/pressreleases/110621.asp.

Hotel REIT backed

RLJ Lodging Trust of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust focused on acquiring premium-branded, focused service and compact full-service hotels, said it has obtained a $300 million unsecured revolving credit facility.

Wells Fargo Securities LLC and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. were the joint lead arrangers. The facility matures on June 20, 2014, and has a one-year extension option. It has an accordion feature that enables the company to increase the available amount to $450 million, subject to certain conditions.

RLJ’s has 140 hotels in its portfolio with more than 20,400 rooms in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

Pikesville due more jobs

Tuesday was the occasion for double groundbreaking ceremonies in Pikesville with the start of construction of a headquarters building for Goodman-Gable-Gould / Adjusters International and, separately, a new Walgreens drug store.

The $2 million, 7,000-square-foot headquarters building for Goodman-Gable-Gould, a national loss consulting and public adjusting organization founded in Baltimore, is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011, and will be staffed by 25 full-time employees.

Walgreens expects its 18,000-square-foot store with drive-through pharmacy to open by March 2012 and employ up to 30 people.

BRAC-linked grant to Md.

Maryland has been awarded a $7.7 million federal grant to help more than 6,500 people who are moving to the state because of Base Realignment and Closure.

U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin, both D-Md., along with Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, announced the grant on Wednesday. The National Emergency Grant from the Department of Labor will help Maryland and the District of Columbia assist people who are seeking jobs to get through the federal hiring process.

Officials said BRAC will have brought as many as 20,000 direct federal jobs in Maryland by September. They also said up to 40,000 indirect and induced jobs will result by 2015.

Annapolis’ water costlier

By a vote of 6-3, the Annapolis City Council on Tuesday approved a steep increase in the city’s water and sewer rates beginning July 1. Residents will see the change on their quarterly bill in September.

The average city household that used to pay $86 every three months on water and sewer bills will now pay up to $166. The $401 that average commercial users paid per quarter will soar to $763. Council members voting against the increase said it will create financial hardships for residents on fixed incomes and those who haven’t rebounded yet from the recession.

REIT buys hotels stake

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust of Bethesda, whose holdings include the W Hotel in Boston and the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, agreed to pay $152 million to buy a stake in six boutique hotels in midtown Manhattan.

The company took a 49 percent interest in the luxury hotels in a joint venture with New York-based Denihan Hospitality Group. The transaction values the properties at about $910 million, Pebblebrook said. The hotels are the Affinia Manhattan, Affinia Shelburne, Affinia Dumont, Affinia 50, Affinia Gardens and The Benjamin.

Denihan will continue to manage the properties, which have about $600 million in debt.

Urgo’s new hotel venture

Bethesda-based Urgo Hotels LP said it has formed a joint venture with The Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based global asset manager, to acquire two landmark hotels in Miami Beach, Fla., for $26.7 million.

The hotels are the 75-room Blue Moon Hotel, which was developed by the late TV host Merv Griffin, and the 71-room Winterhaven Hotel. Both properties are located in the historic art deco district of the resort’s South Beach area. Both hotels are scheduled to undergo phased renovations over the next six months.

The identity of the seller or sellers was not disclosed.

Change on Planning Board

Silver Spring resident Casey Anderson, an attorney who works as a partner at a litigation consulting firm, was sworn in Thursday as a commissioner on the five-member Montgomery County Planning Board.

Anderson was appointed by the Montgomery County Council this month to replace former Commissioner Joe Alfandre. A former newspaper reporter and congressional staffer, Anderson is experienced in antitrust, intellectual property, mass torts, accounting and securities fraud, and employment discrimination cases.

Norman Dreyfuss, a developer and affordable housing advocate, also was sworn in Thursday, after being reappointed to a second term on the Planning Board.

Forrester to build Va. high school

Forrester Construction Co., a Rockville-based general contracting, construction management, and design/build company, will head the construction team building the new $100 Million Wakefield High School, which is one of three public comprehensive high schools in Arlington County, Va.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site on June 9. The project will involve the construction of a 380,000-square-foot, four-level school for 1,600 students to replace the existing 60-year-old building. The new school will feature 50 classrooms, a large student commons area, state-of-the-art science labs, music and art rooms, media center, 625-seat auditorium, two gyms, new athletic fields, two indoor pools, a diving well, and a geothermal heating and cooling plant.

The project will also include abatement and demolition of the existing school and pool buildings once occupancy of the new building is achieved. The project is required to meet LEED Silver Certification, but is expected to achieve Gold.

The owner is Arlington Public Schools and the architect is Bowie Gridley Architects of Washington, D.C. Actual construction work will start shortly after July 1, with completion of the school building due in time for the opening of the 2013-14 school year.

Color Mercy Ridge ‘silver’ (LEED certified, that is)

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Mercy Ridge Retirement Community in Timonium set the stage for green senior living by announcing that it is one of the first established retirement communities in the United States to become LEED Silver certified.

Mercy Ridge partnered with CQI Associates LLC, a Columbia-based energy and environmental management consulting firm, to complete the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Mercy Ridge will host an anniversary celebration at its campus from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 11, at which time it will be presented with the LEED Silver certification from the USGBC.

PERSONNEL

Jennifer Rauhofer, an agricultural engineer by training, has been named to the post of president of Hunt Valley-based Stormwater Maintenance LLC and Stormwater Consulting Inc. (formerly T.E. Scott & Associates Inc.), effective immediately. Rauhofer will oversee all financial, managerial, operational and ecological restoration design aspects of the firms. Prior to joining the firms, Rauhofer was the Chesapeake/Delaware Bay Bioregional Team Leader at Baltimore-based Biohabitats Inc. She has a broad range of experience in stormwater management and environmental restoration design, ranging from all aspects of design through construction, and managing multiple design teams in fast-paced production settings. Rauhofer holds a B.S. degree in agricultural engineering and an M.S. degree in agricultural and biological engineering from Pennsylvania State University. She is a licensed professional engineer in 10 states.

Continental Realty Corp., a Baltimore-based commercial, retail and residential development and management company, named Crystal Frey as Vice President of Human Resources. Frey worked for 20 years at Marcor Environmental, of which 16 were as head of human resources. In her new post, Frey will direct the development and implementation of all company-wide human resources policies and programs covering employment, recruitment, performance management, retention, legal compliance and benefits. Frey holds a B.A. degree from Salisbury University and an MBA with a concentration in human resources from the University of Baltimore.

Kevin McAndrews has been promoted to president of Atapco Properties, of Baltimore. McAndrews had been vice president of acquisitions and development. Atapco is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Trading and Production Corp.

LEASES

NAI KLNB has brokered a lease for Baseball Factory for 22,000 square feet of office space at 9212 Berger Road, a single-story, 60,000-square-foot commercial office building in Columbia. Brad Berzins of NAI KLNB represented Baseball Factory and Andy Andrews of Cassidy Turley represented the landlord, Platt Development Group, in the transaction. Baseball Factory, which employees 45 full-time and 1,000 part-time workers, expects to move into its new headquarters in third-quarter 2011.

The Associated Press and Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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