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Real Estate Weekly – 7/29/11: ICBN construction moves ahead

ICBN construction moves ahead

The Inter-County Broadband Network awarded a contract for construction to four companies: S&N Communications Inc., KCI Convergent Technologies Inc., Southern Maryland Cable Inc. and Henkels & McCoy Inc. They will work to help establish a single high-speed broadband network that will provide every county in Maryland with critical high-tech infrastructure. All of the companies except H&M have Maryland offices

Howard County is responsible for managing $72 million of the $115 million federal grant, the third largest in the nation, through direct deployments in collaboration with the ICBN, an inter-governmental consortium comprised of 10 central Maryland jurisdictions (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Frederick, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and the cities of Baltimore and Annapolis). Under federal guidelines, funds must be spent by the summer of 2013.

The ICBN will directly connect 715 anchor institutions in Central Maryland, including hundreds of K-12 public schools, libraries, public safety agencies, community colleges and other government institutions. In addition, in each of these communities the ICBN will connect to existing networks with thousands more institutions.

Traffic Group tackles a tough one

The thousands of workers, shoppers and residents who travel every day to and from Annapolis Town Centre at Parole probably are oblivious to the complex road system they rely on. But to the specialists at The Traffic Group Inc., a White Marsh-based traffic engineering and transportation planning firm, getting those people to and from their destination smoothly and rapidly was a priority.

The Traffic Group prepared the initial Traffic Impact Analysis for the development of Annapolis Town Centre. The firm also handled all concept plans and the traffic signal design plans for the 2 million-square-foot, mixed-use development.

“This was a particularly complex project because we had to plan a road system that allowed for the demolition of a vacant shopping center — Parole Plaza — and its replacement with nearly 675,000 square feet of retail space, 91,700 square feet of office space, a 200-room hotel, and 900 condo units,” said Wes Guckert, The Traffic Group’s president.

Plum assignment for KLNB Retail

KLNB Retail has been named the exclusive listing broker for the sale of Market Square at National Gateway, an 82,000-square-foot retail center that is contained within the mixed-use Eclipse on Center Park community in Arlington, Va.

Located near the intersection of Route 1 and South Glebe Road, the transit-oriented development serves as the retail component for Eclipse at Center Park, an upscale condominium project featuring 465 residential units. It is also part of the 2 million-square-foot National Gateway development of Potomac Yard.

The team of Christopher Kubler, Kevin Barrett and Dallon Cheney is overseeing marketing and sales efforts for the retail project, which is 100 percent leased.

Manekin Construction reaches out

Manekin Construction LLC of Columbia has become a Baltimore-Washington area dealer for Butler Building Systems, a manufacturer of pre-engineered metal buildings typically associated with large, clear-span facilities such as industrial, distribution, hangar, church, athletic and vehicle maintenance applications.

Manekin Construction decided to establish the relationship after it completed two food distribution centers, an equipment materials storage facility and a multi-purpose church project, using pre-engineered metal buildings. Becoming a Butler dealer allows Manekin Construction more control over the engineering-fabrication process, as well as better pricing and expedited service, officials said.

“The affiliation with Butler allows us to further diversify our ability to service multiple market segments,” said Daniel Sharpe, vice president for Manekin Construction.

Owings Mills construction project takes shape Officials from Baltimore County and state governments, the county library system, the Community College of Baltimore County, as well as business and community representatives of the Owings Mills area, took part Thursday in a ceremony marking the official start of construction for a new library and community college building that will anchor a mixed-use transit oriented development at the Owings Mills Metro station. The six-story building will house the largest branch of the Baltimore County Public Library along with a new center for the Community College of Baltimore County. The $30 million building is designed to meet LEED Silver standards for commercial construction set by the U.S. Green Building Council. The target completion date is winter of 2013.

Marshall grows portfolio

Marshall Hotels & Resorts Inc. of Salisbury, a hotel management and services company serving the mid-sized hotel market, added four properties to its management portfolio: the 90-room Pocono Inne Town Magnuson Hotel, in Stroudsburg, Pa.; 131-room Sea Esta Motels, a four-motel complex spanning Dewey Beach, Del., and Long Neck, Del.; 88-room Four Points by Sheraton Long Island City/Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, N.Y.; and the 60-room Econo Lodge University Arena, in Charlottesville, Va. The company currently manages 51 hotel properties in nine East Coast states and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Camp Conowingo preserved

Camp Conowingo in Cecil County, a popular summer camp run by the Girl Scouts, has been permanently protected, The Trust for Public Land, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland announced. TPL facilitated the state’s purchase of a conservation easement over approximately 577 acres of the camp, restricting future uses on the site to protect the property’s standing forests and Conowingo Creek, a Susquehanna River tributary. The easement will allow recreational and educational programs offered by the Girl Scouts to continue. The DNR will own and manage the easement.

Apartments sell for $190M

Jones Lang LaSalle, an international real estate finance and professional services firm based in Chicago, announced that its Capital Markets unit closed the sale of a portfolio of multifamily properties in the Windsor Mill/ Woodlawn areas of Baltimore city and county. Harbor Group International LLC of Norfolk, Va., a private real estate investment and management firm, purchased the six-property, 1,984-unit portfolio for $190.1 million from seller SRH/CMS Berkshire Limited Partnership. The sale consisted of Crossroads at Rolling Road, 808 units; Diamond Ridge, 92 units; Glens at Rolling Road, 270 units; Granite Run, 264 units; Rolling Wind, 280 units; and Stratton Meadows, 270 units.

EA to move HQ

Merritt Properties of Baltimore, a commercial real estate developer, said it has started construction on Schilling Green II, a four-story, Class A office building and single-story annex in Hunt Valley. The building at 225 Schilling Circle is designed for LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building’s first tenant, EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc., will lease 75,400 square feet. EA will move its headquarters, also in Hunt Valley, consolidating more than 200 employees from three Baltimore County locations and one in York, Pa. EA also will lease the adjacent annex building for its ecotoxicology and biological testing laboratories.

Players tackle renovation

Former NFL football players, together with local homebuilders and contractors, are turning an older part of the children’s residential wing at St. Ann’s Infant & Maternity Home in Hyattsville into a warm, comfortable living space for about 230 children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Former Washington Redskins include Brig Owens, Spain Musgrove, Ken Jenkins, Ed Simmons and Frank Grant. John “Boomer” Stufflebeem (ex-Detroit Lions), Al Chesley (Philadelphia Eagles) and John Booty (New York Jets) are also volunteering. The charitable foundation of the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association is coordinating the community service project.

Baseball ‘miracle’ field

The Washington Nationals, in association with the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation, the Miracle League of Montgomery County, the Kiwanis Club of Bethesda, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and others, on Monday will hold a ribbon cutting to mark the grand opening of the Washington Nationals Miracle Field. Located in South Germantown Recreational Park, the field will provide children with mental and/or physical challenges the opportunity to safely play baseball. The field incorporates a cushioned synthetic turf that allows children using wheelchairs and walkers to “run” the bases without fear of injury.


St. John Properties Inc. has promoted Matt Holbrook to regional partner. Holbrook has been serving as director of federal programs for the Baltimore-based real estate development and management company, a role he will continue. In his new position, he will manage and direct the comprehensive development, acquisition, construction, leasing and asset/property management activities for St. John Properties’ 1.2 million-square-foot portfolio in Frederick and Montgomery counties and Virginia. His responsibilities include the identification of new land, acquisitions, property entitlements, establishing and strengthening relationships with the commercial brokerage community and directing leasing, construction, design and property management functions. Prior to joining St. John Properties, Holbrook held an executive position with Opus East, a commercial real estate developer.

Christina Berzins has been promoted to vice president, contracts and acquisitions, of St. John Properties. Berzins has worked for the company since 2004. She will be responsible for the completion of new land and property acquisition, as well as overseeing all contract negotiations. Berzins is the primary liaison with outside legal counseling firms and works directly with the St. John Properties sales, leasing and marketing teams. She has a degree in jurisprudence from the University of Baltimore. She serves as a board member of the Edward St. John Foundation.

Kathleen C. (KC) Gibison has been named managing director of The Sopher Group, of Baltimore, which specializes in real estate and business transactions. Gibison will continue counseling clients in real estate transactions, including contract negotiation, selection of business entities, choice of financing, and use of 1031 tax deferred exchanges. In addition, she will devise strategies focused on new business development and supervise the attorneys and support staff for The Sopher Group, Strata Law, and Continental Exchange Inc. Gibison has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Towson State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Steven J. McAdams has been named a senior associate with a focus on sales and marketing for the Hogan Companies, of Annapolis. He will be on the land and commercial brokerage team, and will assist with valuations, bank asset solutions and lender services. McAdams’ 20 years of real estate experience includes 18 years as founder, owner and president of Residential Appraisal Service. McAdams is a commissioner on the Maryland Real Estate Appraisers and Home Inspectors Commission. He began his real estate career in 1990 as a member of the Prince George’s County Board of Realtors.


First Potomac Realty Trust of Bethesda reported that CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has signed a 10-year lease extension on 204,000 square feet at 840 First Street NE to keep its Washington, D.C., headquarters at the building through 2023. The 12-story office tower, which First Potomac acquired this year, is located adjacent to Union Station in the city’s burgeoning NoMa submarket. CareFirst is the largest health care insurer in the mid-Atlantic region with nearly 3.4 million members.

Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC reported the following recently signed leases:

* B’Moore Marketing Inc., a marketing group for the racing and automotive industry, leased 2,560 square feet of flex space at 7123 Windsor Mill Road in Baltimore. Krager D. Sanders of Blue & Obrecht Realty represented the tenant, and Dave Fritz of NAI KLNB represented the landlord, Rutherford Business Center LLC.

* Choo Smith Enterprises LLC, owned by former Harlem Globetrotter Choo Smith, leased 4,992 square feet of office space at 7125 Ambassador Road in Windsor Mill. Smith was represented by Blue & Obrecht’s Krager D. Sanders. Greg Prossner was in-house representative for owner Corporate Office Properties Trust.

Merritt Properties LLC reported a recent lease transaction:

* Glenridge Health Care Solutions, a health care consultant, leased 4,403 square feet of office space at 8840 Stanford Boulevard in Columbia. The Merritt team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw negotiated on behalf of the landlord. Dennis Dempsey of DJD Realty Services represented the tenant.


RLT Partners LLC purchased a 5,742-square-foot building at 11031 McCormick Road in Hunt Valley. Richard F. Blue Jr., Patrick M. Smith and Paul F. Obrecht III of Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC represented the seller, Glencoe Properties II LLC. Christopher C. Smith of TriAlliance Commercial Real Estate represented RLT Partners.

One comment

  1. Does anyone know anything about the construction issues with the Blue Ridge Community College? Our small, veteran owned structural engineering company was hired to do the fin design for $1,260 by Window Specialists and now they won’t pay us. They say there are issues with Manekin. Can anyone verify what the truth is?