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Real Estate Weekly – 9/23/11: Bridge replacement planning funds OK’d

Redskins’ stadium turns to solar power

A new solar installation at FedExField in Landover — the home of the Washington Redskins — has been completed by NRG, one of the largest solar power developers in the United States. The 8,000-panel project — the largest such installation at an NFL stadium — can provide up to 20 percent of FedExField’s power needs on game days; On non-game days, the solar system can provide up to 100 percent of the stadium’s electrical needs, depending on weather conditions. The Redskins partnered with NRG on the project, which also includes 10 electric vehicle charging stations from NRG’s eVgo charging network for use by fans.

Bridge replacement planning funds OK’d

The Maryland Department of Transportation will receive $22 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to begin preliminary work on replacing the aging Susquehanna River Railroad Bridge on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, it was announced last week. “This is a critical project that will create jobs and provide important improvement to Amtrak’s infrastructure,” U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said in a statement, adding that he has “experienced the slowdowns and rough ride” across the bridge. The 105-year-old railroad bridge spans the Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Perryville. Approximately 100 Amtrak and MARC passenger trains cross the bridge daily on weekdays.

Frederick stadium lease deal concluded

(AP) The Frederick Keys minor-league baseball team has a new, 10-year lease on Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick. The Frederick News-Post reported that the City Council approved the deal last week despite a last-ditch effort by two aldermen to renegotiate it. The 3-2 vote capped seven months of wrangling over lease terms and the process that led to the agreement. Two aldermen tried to throw out the deal because Keys representatives communicated with city officials before their bid was selected. The deal increases the Keys’ rent on the city-owned stadium from $30,000 to $100,000 a year.

DHCD to move to New Carrollton

(AP) The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will move in 2013 from its location in Crownsville to a new building in New Carrollton, Gov. Martin O’Malley said Monday. The governor said last year that the housing office would move to Prince George’s County but had not specified the location. It is the first time Prince George’s County will be home to a state agency. The move still needs to be approved by the Board of Public Works. O’Malley said the move, in the late summer or early fall of 2013, will bring the agency closer to one of the population centers it serves most.

More wind farms eyed in Western Md.

(AP) Garrett County officials said Clipper Windpower is considering a wind power project called Fair Wind on Backbone Mountain south of Oakland. It would be just south of a 28-turbine wind farm Carpenteria, Calif.-based Clipper built that is owned by Constellation Energy Group. Also, Annapolis-based Synergics is doing environmental and wind studies on Four Mile Ridge, southwest of Frostburg near the Little Savage River. The company said the project would be 60 megawatts, which is 10 megawatts more than a 20-turbine project on Backbone Mountain that Synergics built and sold last year to Gestamp Corp. of Madrid.

Two new restaurants to open downtown

Two new restaurants are coming to downtown Baltimore, according to J. Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. In a letter to Downtown Partnership board members, Fowler said Brio Tuscan Grille has executed a lease with Wells Real Estate Fund to open at the former Legal Seafood site at 100 E. Pratt St. Also, Panera Bread Co. will open in the 400 block of West Baltimore Street, near the Hippodrome Theatre and the University of Maryland Baltimore. David S. Brown Co., owner of much of the 400 block, was responsible for attracting Panera, Fowler said. His letter did not indicate when either restaurant will open.

White Marsh apartment complex purchased

Home Properties Inc. of Rochester, N.Y., an apartment real estate investment trust, said it acquired the 544-unit Apartments at Cambridge Court in White Marsh for $90.4 million in cash, or approximately $166,000 per unit. There are 18 three-story garden-style apartment buildings with 432 units, and two four-story mid-rise buildings with 112 units. Occupancy is 92.2 percent at monthly rents averaging $1,314. Home Properties said it expects to spend approximately $2.6 million, in addition to normal capital expenditures, to upgrade units as they become empty over a three-year period.

REIT acquires Virginia office building

Rockville-based Washington Real Estate Investment Trust said it completed the previously announced acquisition for $73.5 million of John Marshall II, a nine-story, 223,000-square-foot office building situated at the Tysons Central 7 Metro Station in Tysons Corner, Va. The building, built in 1996 and renovated in 2010, is 100 percent leased to Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. through January 2016 and serves as its worldwide headquarters. WRIT assumed a $54.1 million mortgage bearing interest at 5.79 percent per year and maturing in 2016. The REIT paid for the balance of $19.4 million using proceeds from its line of credit and from the recent sales of its industrial assets.

5 office buildings receive EPA’s Energy Star rating

For the second consecutive year, five Class A office buildings in the Baltimore area owned by Liberty Property Trust have received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star designation for efficient energy use. The buildings are 4 North Park Drive (North Park Business Community) and 307 International Circle (Longview Business Center,) both in Hunt Valley, and 6220 and 6230 Old Dobbin Lane (Columbia Crossing) and 9755 Patuxent Woods Drive (Patuxent Woods Business Center) in Columbia. To qualify for the Energy Star rating, buildings are measured on a points system that considers energy use, location, size, weather patterns and several operating characteristics. Liberty Property Trust, based in Malvern, Pa., owns and manages more than 3 million square feet of office, flex and industrial space in Maryland.

Merritt Construction picked for Corner Stable project

Merritt Construction Services, a division of Merritt Properties, has been selected to renovate the former Michael’s Pub restaurant in Columbia to make way for The Corner Stable restaurant. This will be the first additional location for the Cockeysville-based restaurant since it began operating in 1972. Located in the Kings Contrivance Shopping Center in Columbia, the project includes a complete interior renovation of the 6,250-square-foot space, with all new flooring, ceilings, lighting and restrooms, as well as an upgraded bar and kitchen. Once completed, it will have indoor and outdoor seating for 180 patrons. The restaurant will hire between 85-95 employees at the new location and open at the beginning of October. The Corner Stable restaurant specializes in baby back ribs and lump crab cakes, for which it has won many awards over the past 40 years. It also ships its ribs and crab cakes nationwide. The restaurant also offers a large menu of sandwiches, burgers, homemade soups and desserts.

Hord Coplan Macht picked to design $65M UMES building

Hord Coplan Macht, a Baltimore-based architecture, landscape architecture, planning and interior design firm, in a joint venture with The Freelon Group, a Durham, N.C. architectural firm, has been selected to design a new engineering, aviation, computer and mathematical sciences building at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. The $65 million, 163,350-square-foot building will house several academic and administrative programs and will incorporate an architectural expression reflective of the mission, heritage and traditions of the growing teaching, research and doctoral institution, which is located in Princess Anne. The building is being designed to meet LEED Gold certification standards.

Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects designed renovation of Penn State University building

Baltimore-based Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects provided architectural and engineering design services for the renovations to and expansion of a classroom building at Pennsylvania State University’s York Campus, allowing its conversion to the Ralph G. and Madeline B. Swenson Engineering Center. The Swenson Center will provide state-of-the art instructional space for Penn State York’s electro-mechanical engineering technologies program. The center includes laboratories, smart classrooms, faculty offices, collaborative meeting areas and student project display space.

Oasis supplied landscape design for Merritt’s Aberdeen Corporate Park

Oasis Design Group, a Baltimore-based landscape architecture, master planning and urban design firm, said it provided landscape design services and assisted with site planning and development of Aberdeen Corporate Park, a project of Merritt Properties LLC. Aberdeen Corporate Park, adjacent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, will consist of three Class A office space, two of which will be three stories with 95,200 square feet each, and the third a two-story, 63,500-square-foot building. Oasis Design Group designed the exterior environments, including a variety of outdoor seating places for relaxing, socializing and dining, and gathering spaces to accommodate multiple uses ranging from small gatherings to large corporate events. Oasis also completed a grading and drainage plan and provided detailed construction estimates.

New Hampton Inn opens in Owings Mills

Baltimore County elected and appointed officials joined representatives of Mangione Family Enterprises, and business and community leaders on Thursday to celebrate the opening of a new Hampton Inn, an $11.3 million, 105-room hotel on Red Run Boulevard in Owings Mills. “This new Owings Mills hotel highlights the role that businesses, schools and universities play in attracting travel dollars to Baltimore County,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. On weekdays the new hotel will primarily serve business travelers, with weekend bookings bolstered by sports teams and alumni of Stevenson University and McDonogh School. Baltimore County assisted in financing the hotel through a $10 million Recovery Zone Facility Bond. The bond does not involve any financial liability for Baltimore County, and effectively allowed the hotel owners to borrow funds from a commercial bank at below market interest rates.

Maryland’s sole entry in solar decathlon is WaterShed, designed by UM team

WaterShed, an innovative structure designed by students, faculty and professional mentors from the University of Maryland, made its international debut this week as the only Maryland entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011.

The international competition challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

Inspired by the Chesapeake Bay, the power of WaterShed’s design comes from its twin focus on efficient, renewable energy and water quality and conservation, said Amy Gardner, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Maryland.

Among the house’s many features are a split-butterfly roof to capture and use both sunlight and rainwater; constructed wetlands that filter stormwater and greywater (household water with limited contaminants); a green roof to retain rainwater and promote efficient cooling; a photovoltaic array to harvest enough solar energy to power WaterShed year-round; and a solar thermal array to fulfill all domestic hot water needs.

The house also features “edible landscapes” that support community-based agriculture; a patent-pending indoor, liquid desiccant waterfall for high-efficiency humidity control; and an efficient, cost-effective, durable and time-tested structural system.

The Maryland Solar Decathlon team consisted of students and faculty from the Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the A. James Clark School of Engineering, the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, the University Libraries, and the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Maryland businesses and professional groups also provided significant support.

LEASES

Jones Lang LaSalle represented A&S Services Group LLC in finalizing a five-year lease for 161,415 square feet at 5003 Holabird Avenue, an industrial building close to the Port of Baltimore. A&S Services Group, a trucking, warehousing and distribution company, took the new space in Chesapeake Commerce Park, near the Dundalk and Seagirt Marine Terminals, to accommodate expansion and provide enhanced warehousing and transportation services to its clients. Stuart Rienhoff and Todd Hughes of Jones Lang LaSalle represented A&S Services Group while CBRE represented the landlord, Duke Realty. A&S began operations almost 30 years ago as a regional motor carrier in Maryland’s Hunt Valley Industrial Complex in northern Baltimore County. The company expanded into warehousing in 2005 to meet increased demand for supply chain services and operates truck terminals and warehouse facilities in Aberdeen, Baltimore and Hunt Valley, and Shrewsbury and Thomasville, Pa.

Cushman & Wakefield said it has been named the exclusive listing agent for Bernstein Management Corp.’s Maryland-based office, flex and industrial portfolio, consisting of 11 buildings and nearly 1 million square feet of space. The portfolio consists of two industrial buildings totaling 120,583 square feet at 7190 and 7194 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia; seven office/flex buildings in the Columbia Gateway Corporate Park, Corridor Business Park and Route 100 Industrial Park: 7160 Columbia Gateway Drive, 7125 Thomas Edison Drive, 7115 Thomas Edison Drive and 6625 Selnick Drive in Columbia, and 8510, 8520 and 8530 Corridor Road in Savage; and two buildings in downtown Baltimore: 1100 Wicomico St., a 350,000-square-foot, multi-story office, flex and light manufacturing building in the Carroll/Camden Industrial Park; and One Market Center, a 230,000-square-foot office building located 300 W. Lexington St. Cushman & Wakefield’s Karen Cherry, Richard Thomas, Hayes Merkert and Danielle Schline will lease the office and flex buildings, while Michael Elardo will lease the industrial properties on behalf of Bernstein Management.

PERSONNEL

Nine attorneys in the Baltimore office of Ballard Spahr have been included in the 2012 edition of “The Best Lawyers in America”: Jon M. Laria, managing partner, real estate law and land use & zoning law; Charles R. Moran, corporate compliance law, corporate governance law, and corporate law; Thomas A. Hauser, real estate law and securitization and structured finance law; Morton P. Fisher Jr., Christopher J. Fritz, Marci I. Gordon, Mark Pollak, Raymond G. Truitt and Fred Wolf III, real estate law.

Nadia Kahler has been hired as transaction manager in the Baltimore office of Colliers International. Kahler previously was director of administration for the brokerage department of Manekin LLC. She is a licensed real estate agent in Maryland.

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