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Real Estate Weekly – 8/19/11: Dunkin’ Donuts planned in Annapolis historic district

Dunkin’ Donuts planned in historic area

Feelings in Annapolis are mixed about a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts store in the city’s historic district, the Capital newspaper reported. Todd Lalumiere, the operator of three Dunkin’ Donuts stores, wants to open the new store at 38 West Street before Christmas, and has asked the city to grant him a special exception to do business in an area with mixed-use zoning. Some residents say adding the store could tarnish the local feel of the street, but a planning department official said the staff will recommend approval. She noted the location formerly was a Thai restaurant, and a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant was also housed there.

Omega gets new credit facility

Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. of Hunt Valley, a real estate investment trust that invests in the long-term care industry, said it has obtained a new, unsecured credit facility from a syndicate of 10 national and international banks. The $475 million revolving line of credit, which replaces an existing credit facility, matures on Aug. 17, 2015. It includes an accordion feature that permits the company to expand its borrowing capacity to $600 million. The new credit line will be used for acquisitions and general corporate purposes, the company said. As of Tuesday, Omega had borrowed approximately $65 million under the new credit line.

Calif. firm to open plant in Hancock

A building materials company said it plans to produce lightweight concrete products in Hancock. Privately held Evolve Composites of Torrance, Calif., said it will create at least 60 jobs within three years at a former Fleetwood Travel Trailer plant. Chief Executive Martin Bristow told The Herald-Mail newspaper of Hagerstown that Evolve is expanding into the northeastern United States after opening plants in Pompano Beach, Fla., and Birmingham, Ala. The Fleetwood trailer plant closed in 2005.

O.C. awards boardwalk rehab contract

The Ocean City Town Council has awarded a $1.1 million contract to RBCI Inc. of Easton for the first phase of reconstruction work on the city’s boardwalk. The company’s bid was about $1.1 million less than the city’s original estimated cost of $2.2 million. The savings brings the total cost of two-phase project to $6 million. The first phase entails rebuilding the boardwalk between the inlet and Somerset Street, and 15th and 27th streets. The project is scheduled to begin Oct. 3 and is expected to be finished by April 2012, the Daily Times of Salisbury reported.

New building opens at Fort Meade

High-ranking military officials and civilian lawmakers gathered Wednesday at Fort Meade to mark the official opening of the Defense Adjudication Activities facility, a new, 151,000-square-foot building constructed as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) relocation. Completed in May, the building will house 10 Department of Defense agencies, with office space for 760 personnel. Employees, who have been relocating their offices to the building at the rate of 150 people per week, will process security clearances for Department of Defense representatives and contractors who work with sensitive information.

Sidewalk to be built along Route 1 in Elkridge

A Howard County construction project to install a sidewalk along U.S. Route 1 in Elkridge is scheduled to begin Monday. Work will include installation of new sidewalk, pedestrian ramps, accessible pedestrian signals and roadway striping in two locations — southbound U.S. Route 1 from Ducketts Lane to Troy Hill Drive, and at the intersection of northbound U.S. Route 1 and Meadowridge Road. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by late September, according to a county news release. “This is the first of many pedestrian enhancements to come along the Route 1 corridor,” said County Executive Ken Ulman in a prepared statement.

‘Honey’ of a donation supported by Bethesda-based REIT

First Potomac Realty Trust, a Bethesda-based real estate investment trust, joined with Sweet Virginia to donate $10,000 to Capital Hospice to support its mission of coordinating care to those living with serious illnesses. Representatives from First Potomac and Sweet Virginia, Northern Virginia’s charitable beekeeping and flower growing cooperative, presented a check Monday to Capital Hospice at its facility in Falls Church, Va. Subsequently, Capital Hospice received a matching anonymous donation, bringing the total money raised to $20,000. The money will be used to help build a new in-patient hospice center. Sweet Virginia manages local honeybee colonies to produce natural Northern Virginia wildflower honey. Instead of selling the honey, the cooperative gives jars away to people who make donations to one of the life-affirming Northern Virginia charities it supports, such as Capital Hospice.

Unique play space to be built at Pierce’s Park

Pierce’s Park, a new, $2 million downtown park being built in a cooperative venture between the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, is getting an unusual new feature — living willow tunnels to provide a unique play space at the park.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the park, located on a one-acre parcel on Pier 5 between the Columbus Center and Eastern Avenue.

Artist Bonnie Gale will guide and facilitate the construction of the living willow tunnels by volunteers from Constellation Energy Group, area Boy Scout troops and others.

Willow tunnel construction involves two lines of living willow rods planted in certain patterns, so that the rods weave together at the top, forming a tunnel that will grow over time.

Pierce’s Park is dedicated to the late Pierce J. Flanigan III, a Baltimore contractor and business owner who was active in civic, charitable and downtown causes. Flanigan died in October 2008 at the age of 66. The park is scheduled to be completed in the fall.

County planning office functions consolidated

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced the completion of consolidation of two separate community planning and support functions under one director, combining the resources of the former Office of Community Conservation with the Office of Planning.

Andrea Van Arsdale has been named as director of the consolidated Department of Planning, and two deputies will head up the new management structure, with responsibility for day-to-day management of neighborhood improvement and community development functions.

Liz Glenn, now chief of community planning and development, has been named Deputy Director of Neighborhood Improvement, supervising the housing services program, homeless services,and grants administration.

Also, Jeff Mayhew, currently chief of community planning, has been promoted to Deputy Director of Community Development. He will oversee the upcoming comprehensive zoning map revision process, development review and strategic planning.

Kamenetz said the process of consolidating the two agencies into a merged Department of Planning began at the beginning of his term in December. As a result of the merger, one director and one senior staff-level position will be eliminated through attrition.

Census data show drop in homeownership in Montgomery

Home ownership rates dropped slightly in Montgomery County in the last decade, with a higher percentage of new homes rented compared to the 1990s, according to the county Planning Department. The biggest drop in ownership rates, however, occurred in the under-45 householder age group, where less than half owned a house, a drop of 5.5 percent since 2000.

Information about housing “tenure” – who rents or owns – was released late last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, along with more detailed information about residents’ countries of origin, family size and more. Demographers at the Planning Department analyzed the data to draw a clearer picture of what Montgomery County households look like.

Of the new local households formed between 2000 and 2010, only 57 percent were owner-occupied—a drop from the 1990s, when 74 percent of the new households were owned. In 2000, 68.7 percent of county residents owned their homes, which declined to 67.6 percent in 2010.

However, the number of minorities owning homes has increased. The number of Montgomery County Asian households living in homes they own increased 55 percent to 70.9 percent, the largest shift of any racial group in the last decade. Hispanics also increased homeownership from 52.4 percent in 2000 to 54.6 percent in 2010. Home ownership among non-Hispanic whites remained flat.

The number of homes owned by blacks increased over the decade by 5,414. However, black households are the only group where a higher percentage rents (56.1 percent) rather than owns.

Hispanics and Asians have the largest families in the county, with 3.87 and 3.02 members per household, respectively, according to the Planning Department analysis.

Underground Railroad Visitor Center gets $8.5 million federal grant

Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday announced the state has received an $8.5 million federal grant to build the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Dorchester County, the final grant needed to create the $21 million project.

Construction will support as many as 225 local jobs over the course of a year, the O’Malley administration said. Harriet Tubman State Park, where the center will be located, will directly support 10 full-time employees.

The visitor center will be about 10 miles south of Cambridge. The center is part of an effort to create a scenic byway and national historical park honoring Tubman, who led slaves to freedom during the Civil War and was born on the Eastern Shore. The visitor center is scheduled to be completed in 2013, 100 years after Tubman’s death in New York.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., has introduced legislation to create a national historic park on the Eastern Shore in Tubman’s name. It would include lands in Dorchester, Caroline and Talbot counties.

Md. releases land use analysis

The latest version of Maryland’s Land Use/Land Cover map has found that developed lands in the state increased 8.4 percent between 2002 and 2010. The analysis, released Thursday, found the rate of development since 2002 was nearly twice the 4.8 percent rate of population increase. Richard Hall, secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning, said the data show development of more than 1.6 million acres, about 27 percent of the state’s total land area. Gov. Martin O’Malley is scheduled to talk about the updated map on Friday in his presentation to the Maryland Association of Counties meeting in Ocean City. The state is receiving public comment on the plan draft until Sept. 1.

Habitat for Humanity to open resale store Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake will open its third ReStore home improvement center on Aug. 27 at 3741 Commerce Drive in Halethorpe. The store sells appliances, furniture, kitchen cabinetry, building materials and other items at significantly discounted prices, with all proceeds supporting Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake activities. Like the other resale outlets in Dundalk and Pasadena, the Halethorpe store sells new, reusable and surplus building supplies to the public at a fraction of their original cost. The outlets provide an environmentally and socially responsible way to keep reusable materials out of the waste stream, while providing funding for Habitat for Humanity’s community revitalization mission. Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake serves Baltimore city, and Anne Arundel Baltimore and Howard counties.

Md. seeks to buy 14 acres near Civil War site The state of Maryland is seeking to buy some land near the South Mountain Civil War battlefield, according to John Braskey, a representative of the Department of Natural Resources. Braskey told the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown newspaper on Tuesday that the two parcels near Middletown total 14.6 acres. One is a 9.1-acre parcel atop South Mountain that saw action during the battle. The smaller piece has scenic value. The land belongs to the Central Maryland Heritage League. The group said the state has offered a fair price of about $55,600. The deal would require approval by the state Board of Public Works. South Mountain is Maryland’s only state-run Civil War battlefield. Federal and Confederate forces clashed there on Sept. 14, 1862, three days before the Battle of Antietam.

PERSONNEL

St. John Properties, Inc., a Baltimore-based real estate development and management company, has promoted Jacqueline Pfeiler to Vice President, Finance. Pfeiler has worked for the company since 1991. She will continue to oversee the financing activities of the firm’s commercial office, R&D/flex, retail and warehouse real estate portfolio, which consists of more than 15 million square feet of space. This includes establishing, strengthening and maintaining on-going relationships with financial institutions, staying updated on the new financial regulations and working with the company’s internal accounting and finance staffs. Pfeiler graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

LEASES

Johns Hopkins Community Physicians leased 7,755 square feet of space at 17001 Science Drive, a 30,450-square-foot building at the Maryland Science and Technology Center @ Melford in Bowie, owned by Baltimore-based St. John Properties Inc. JHCP, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, is expected to occupy the space in late November. Richard Fields of Manekin LLC and Liz Tarran-Jones, formerly of Manekin, represented JHCP in the lease negotiations. Sean Doordan of St. John Properties represented the owner.

Discepolo LLP, a Baltimore law firm, leased 6,992 square feet of office space on the 19th floor of 111 S. Calvert St. at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor The firm specializes in civil and criminal cases in Maryland and elsewhere, with an emphasis on personal injury cases involving carbon monoxide and medical malpractice. Matthew Seward, senior vice president and principal at Cassidy Turley’s Baltimore office, represented Discepolo LLP in the transaction.

Comm/Net Systems Inc., a telecommunications hardware distributor leased 5,400 square feet of office and warehouse space at 3630 Commerce Drive in Arbutus, Baltimore County from landlord Merritt Properties. Merritt was represented by its own team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw.

First Potomac Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust based in Bethesda, agreed to lease more than 115,000 square feet of industrial space at buildings it owns in Chesapeake, Va. Carrier Enterprises LLC signed a 63,012-square-foot lease at Crossways Commerce Center for a seven-year term. The property is now 88 percent leased. Also, Serco Inc. signed a five-year lease for 52,054 square feet at Diamond Hill Distribution Center, bringing the property to 90 percent leased. First Potomac owns, operates and develops office and industrial properties in the Greater Washington region.

Cassidy Turley of Baltimore said it was selected by Emory Properties of Towson to market and exclusively represent 9420 Gerwig Lane, a 186,000-square-foot industrial building in Columbia that is for sale or lease. Cassidy Turley’s industrial team, consisting of Jarred Testa, Michael Walsh and Rick Latini, will represent Emory Properties on the listing.