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Report reflects rebound in Baltimore’s office properties market

On Falls Road, near the intersection with Lake Avenue, sits a development that has the best functioning garage in Baltimore.

Gone is the traditional carport. The place is now a high-class hotdog heaven.

The quaint Victorian that sits next door, home of Bonjour French Bakery and Cafe, is often overrun with those seeking a $5 Haute Dog, served on a bun of French bread and slathered with homemade tomato and onion jam, bacon and onion marmalade and Dijon mustard imported from France. Patrons stand on the sidewalk and wash it all down with a bottle of fizzy Perrier.

Only in Baltimore!

Owner Daniel Raffel, a former chef and onetime catering director at the Brass Elephant, said the stand has served as many as 300 ’dogs in 3½ hours.

“I am truly astonished. It has taken on a life of its own,” Raffel said, of the launch last summer of Haute Dog that was preceded by years of rushed catering jobs. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

“I feel like the luckiest person in the world,” he added. “Everybody comes in with a smile and everybody leaves with a smile.”

The Haute Dog stand may be a victim of its own success. Raffel said he received a zoning notice from Baltimore County officials this week seeking tweaks to the operation. An Aug. 21 deadline was given to make fixes to comply with the huckster’s license he holds.

In the meantime, the dogs will soon get a second house. Look for an expansion to set up shop right in front of the posh Inn at the Colonnade on W. University Avenue in north Baltimore, Raffel said.

Grand opening is set for Aug. 5. After that, look for Haute Dogs on wheels as Raffel said he is planning to go mobile with a food truck.


A new 11,000-square-foot Marley Fire Station will be built by The Mullan Contracting Co. at 7726 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.

The station house will cost $2.8 million — with $1.8 of that coming from federal stimulus funds. It is expected to open next spring and will be constructed on land donated from the Anne Arundel County Board of Education. The structure will have three drive-through bays for the housing of fire and emergency response equipment, a bunkhouse and administrative offices, kitchen facilities, as well as meeting space and a small social gathering hall for use by the neighborhood community. Both volunteer and career firefighters will be stationed there.

The new fire station replaces the facility at 100 Summit Avenue that opened in 1943.

Wheeler Goodman Masek is the project architect, Bay Engineering is the civil engineering firm and Skarda and Associates Inc. is the structural engineer.


The Baltimore office of Colliers International released a report this week that reflects what experts there say is a “rebound” in the Baltimore region’s office properties market.

Key findings include:
•    The Baltimore office market showed signs of growth in the first half of 2011
•    The total vacancy rate dropped to 14.7 percent from 15.5 percent in the third quarter of 2010
•    Net absorption of office space remained steady with more than 600,000 square feet of positive absorption
•    Class A office space rental rates remained at just under $25 per square foot.
•    Class A office space vacancy rates dropped slightly to 17.1 percent in the second quarter of 2011, as opposed to 18 percent for the same period last year.


TIDBITS: Gilman School has hired Global Facility Solutions to upgrade the campus’s energy usage systems. Global is a Maryland-based company.  The project will be delivered under the BGE Smart Energy Rewards rebate program, meaning Gilman will receive a 50 percent rebate for the cost of the project … The final review of plans to convert part of the Power Plant at the Inner Harbor into the new home of Phillips Seafood Restaurant will be presented to the city’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel on Aug. 8 … Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz broke ground this week on a $30 million, six-story library and community college building that will anchor a mixed-use transit oriented development at the Owings Mills Metro station … The Manna Food Center in Montgomery County will move its Gaithersburg Satellite Distribution Site to the new Family Services Agency location Aug. 4. The new address will be 630 E. Diamond Avenue Gaithersburg, 20877.

Looking for a unique historic home in Rockville’s Historic District? The Davis House, built in 1930, was put on the market this week for $789,000. Pegged as a “classic American Foursquare with a magnificent modern addition” this dwelling is certain to draw many to open houses. The brochure says of the home: “It is a part of history and a tribute to fine craftsmanship that dates back to a time when craftsmen took pride in their work, yet it is forward thinking design and features the finest modern amenities, with a homeowner’s absolute comfort and contentment in mind. It touches both body & soul.”