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Real Estate Weekly – 10/7/11: DTLR signs lease for space in Hanover

Lutherville strip retail center sells for $2.364 million

KLNB Retail has brokered the sale of 1711 York Road, a strip retail center in Lutherville, for $2.364 million or $290 per square foot. Gil Neuman of KLNB Retail Investment Sales represented the seller, Mid Atlantic Properties Inc. The buyer, B & G York LLC, was self-represented. Neuman said the location of the property, on York Road close to the Baltimore Beltway, made it extremely popular with prospective buyers. “This asset’s dense high-income location attracted nine offers — many all cash — despite its non-credit rent roll and structure of short-lease terms,” he said. “Buyers competed eagerly at a level experienced during 2007, which again reflects the current low supply and high demand environment that we continue to operate in.”

UM house wins 2011 Solar Decathlon

A team of students, faculty and staff from the University of Maryland, aided by private companies and professional mentors, bested 19 other collegiate teams from schools in the U.S. and worldwide to win the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington. The UM’s winning entry, called “WaterShed,” took first place in the international competition. A team from Purdue University took second place, and a team from New Zealand received third-place honors. The competing teams were tasked with designing, building and operating solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The results were announced Saturday by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. For a full description of the competition, click here.

Centric holds green ribbon-cutting

Centric Business Systems and Merritt Properties LLC held a “green ribbon cutting” Wednesday for a new building for the business services firm. The 39,000-square-foot office building on Red Run Boulevard in Owings Mills is built to meet LEED Gold standards and will serve as corporate headquarters for Centric, centralizing its operations and allowing for anticipated growth. Centric currently employs 130 people. Merritt Construction Services built the building, which is co-owned by Centric CEO Rick Bastinelli and Merritt Properties.

DTLR signs lease for space in Hanover

First Potomac Realty Trust of Bethesda, a Bethesda-based real estate investment trust, announced that DTLR Inc. has signed a 10-year lease for 139,690 square feet at 7458 Candlewood Road in Hanover. Baltimore-based DTLR, formerly known as Downtown Locker Room, is consolidating its office and warehouse operations at the property. DTLR will occupy the majority of the space vacated by the Frank Parsons Paper Co., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2011. First Potomac acquired the 295,673-square-foot warehouse facility in late 2010. The REIT focuses on owning, operating, developing and redeveloping office and industrial properties in the Greater Washington, D.C., region.

Grassley takes on public housing agency

(AP) Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he wants to know how Baltimore’s public housing agency used $67 million in stimulus funds. The Baltimore Sun reported on Sept. 29 that Grassley sent a letter requesting documents from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The letter also requests billing statements from law firms to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City going back to 2003. The Sun recently reported that the HABC paid outside lawyers about $4 million since 2005 to fight lead-paint poisoning cases, with bills totaling $228,000 for May and June alone. The authority has refused to pay nearly $12 million from lawsuits filed by people exposed to lead paint.

Rockville mechanical contractor expands office space

Shapiro & Duncan, a Rockville-based mechanical contracting firm, has completed the expansion of its office, adding 1,700 square feet of space to the existing 18,000 square feet, for a total of 19,700 square feet. Morabito & Associates of Baltimore provided structural engineering and drawings for the expansion. The new space provides room for six new project manager offices, six new assistant manager work areas and an additional conference room. An S&D representative said the expansion provides “an opportunity to more strategically place our construction management team members for greater communication and efficiency.” The company also has a 51,000-square-foot facility in Landover with 6,000 square feet of training and office space and 45,000 square feet of fabrication and staging space. The firm employs 350 people in Rockville, Landover and at various construction sites in the Greater Washington metro area.

UM neuroimaging center opening celebrated in College Park

University of Maryland officials and representatives of communities around College Park attended grand opening ceremonies last month of the Maryland Neuroimaging Center. The 9,000-square-foot project featured the conversion of an existing research facility into a new center containing an advanced Siemens magnetic resonance machine. The facility, which was completed in May, was designed by Baltimore’s Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects. Construction was overseen by Boston-based Suffolk Construction Co.

State housing agency loans $56 million in emergency mortgage assistance funds

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development said the state’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program concluded successfully. The department met the Sept. 30 deadline set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by obligating more than $56 million in loan funds to assist more than 1,400 families, 300 more families than estimated at the program’s outset. The EMA program assists homeowners who are facing foreclosure due to job loss or a decrease in wages, including those who lost income due to illness. Gov. Martin O’Malley announced in April that HUD awarded nearly $40 million to Maryland to be distributed through EMA program. Subsequently, HUD allotted additional funds for EMA in Maryland because of the progress made by DHCD in processing the loans.

Chesapeake Lodging Trust completes purchase of Denver Marriott hotel

Chesapeake Lodging Trust of Annapolis, a lodging real estate investment trust, announced on Monday that it had closed on the previously announced acquisition of the 613-room Denver Marriott City Center in Denver, Colo. The purchase price was $119 million, or approximately $194,000 per key. CLT funded the acquisition with available cash on hand and by borrowing under its revolving credit facility. The REIT also assumed the existing management agreement under which Marriott International Inc. will continue to operate the hotel.

Contractors seek end to MBE law

(AP) Some Western Maryland contractors are demanding an end to the state’s Minority Business Enterprise law. Local members of the Associated Builders and Contractors aired their concerns at a meeting Monday in Hagerstown with Republican state lawmakers from Washington and Frederick counties. The 33-year-old law requires contractors to seek minority-owned subcontractors when bidding on state contracts. The contractors say many minority-owned firms in the Baltimore-Washington area aren’t interested in Western Maryland projects. And they say some refuse to even sign paperwork indicating they’ve been offered the opportunity.

Garrett County asks O’Malley for exemption from PlanMaryland

(AP) A rural county in Western Maryland is asking Gov. Martin O’Malley to exempt extremely slow-growing counties from proposed regulations for curbing urban sprawl. The Garrett County Commissioners adopted a resolution Tuesday recommending that counties with less than 1 percent population growth over the last decade be exempt from PlanMaryland. Such a provision would apply to Garrett and Allegany counties, according to the 2010 census. The commissioners are also joining a number of counties in asking the state to defer the adoption of PlanMaryland for one year. The state Department of Planning has said it will submit a final version of the regulations to O’Malley by mid-November.

NAIOP-Maryland schedules Oktoberfest party NAIOP-Maryland, a local trade association representing commercial real estate development companies, brokerage firms and affiliated companies, is having an Oktoberfest celebration from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the recently opened Leinenkugel’s Beer Gardenin the Power Plant Live! complex at 34 Market Place in Baltimore. “Historically one of our most popular and well-attended events, this networking session kicks off an extremely active schedule that features an educational program on the state of the financial environment, as well as our holiday party,” said Robert Bavar, president of NAIOP-Maryland. “This represents an excellent opportunity to meet leaders of the regional commercial real estate industry and experience Baltimore’s newest entertainment venue,” he added. Tickets are $65 for NAIOP members, $85 for non-members. For additional information or to RSVP, contact Kate Sanft at 443-986-9429 ext. 102, or kates@naiopmd.org.

Kaplan University celebrates opening of new learning center

Kaplan University on Wednesday celebrated the opening of its new Learning Center in Rockville with a ribbon cutting with Montgomery County public officials, university administrators, employees and guests. The Learning Center at 1390 Piccard Drive has been serving local online students since May, offering on-site general education courses and a suite of support services to help local online Kaplan University students transition into the online school environment. More than 800 online students in Maryland are currently enrolled in Kaplan University. The Learning Center has four classrooms that can accommodate approximately 130 students at any given time. It features a student resource center along with full-time admissions, financial aid, academic advising and career development representatives who offer in-person support for new and existing students. This center is the sixth of its kind to open in the last two years. Kaplan University also has a traditional brick-and-mortar campus in Hagerstown, where nearly 900 students are enrolled and taking courses in both classrooms and online.

83 acres sold in Brandywine

Land & Commercial Inc. of Upper Marlboro, a land, commercial and industrial broker, announced the sale of approximately 83 acres of vacant land on Aquasco Road in Brandywine to Maryland Natural Resource Solutions Inc. The buyer paid $1.7 million for the land, from which it plans to mine sand and gravel. It took the company three years to secure the necessary governmental approvals, notably a special exception for extraction of mineral resources. The property will be restored with trees and maintained as a forest upon completion of the recovery of the natural resources. Leo Bruso of Land & Commercial Inc. represented the buyer in the transaction. The seller, Alvin Jenkins, was self-represented.

Cardin School to start sports field construction

Shoshana S. Cardin School, Baltimore’s only independent Jewish high school, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday to mark the official start of construction on the school’s new athletic field for soccer, lacrosse and other activities. Levin/Brown & Associates is designing the field, which will be dedicated to the late John Bearman upon its completion. Bearman’s parents have been strong financial backers, and they wanted the field dedicated to their son in recognition of his avid love of sports, according to a school representative.

Land for adult community sold in Calvert County

The Hogan Cos., an Annapolis-based land brokerage, announced the recent sale of Magnolia Landing, a 31.3-acre, mixed-use project located in the Prince Frederick Town Center of Calvert County. The property sold for $1.25 million. Located off Dares Beach Road, the land is approved for 112 active adult lots, planned as a traditional neighborhood design community. The transaction also included a 5.34-acre commercial parcel fronting Dares Beach Road adjacent to Calvert High School. Kevin Setzer, Hogan Cos. vice president of land, represented the seller, Griffin Realty LLC. The buyer is a local Calvert County investment partnership.

Bowie retail building sold for $5.1 million

Inland Private Capital Corp. of Oak Brook, Ill., announced the sale for $5.1 million of a 26,170-square-foot, one-story retail building in Bowie to an unaffiliated private partnership. The building is entirely leased to PetSmart. Addison-Herring Inc. represented the buyer, 4500 Mitchellville Road Inc.

Some metal natural gas tubing may be unsafe, experts warn

The Howard County departments of Inspections, Licenses and Permits, and Fire and Rescue Services, are warning property owners that Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) used in construction between 1990 and 2009 may not be up to National Fire Protection Association current standards. CSST is a flexible metal gas tubing used in many homes and buildings since the early 1990s. It typically has a yellow outer covering and is used to supply natural gas or propane to furnaces, water heaters or other gas appliances.

Recently there have been several lightning-induced fires in Howard County homes equipped with and involving CSST. Studies have determined that additional grounding and bonding may reduce the danger of fires related to direct or nearby lightning strikes. Owners or tenants of homes or buildings constructed between 1990 and 2009 are being encouraged to seek the assistance of qualified and licensed electricians and/or plumbers/gasfitters to verify that any CSST found on the property has been installed and electrically bonded/grounded properly, based on the latest manufacturer’s requirements and safety standards.

LEASES

M&T Bank and 7-Eleven have signed leases for first-floor retail space at 1111 Light St. in Federal Hill, a four-story building under construction located directly across from Baltimore’s Cross Street Market. MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services Vice Presidents Terri Harrington and Tony Gross are looking for tenants to lease the Class A office space of approximately 20,700 square feet in the floors above. The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2012 and offer garage parking. Caves Valley Partners is the developer of the building, for which LEED Silver designation will be sought.

The U.S. General Services Administration has inked two office space leases totaling 16,604 square feet at Redwood Tower at 217 E. Redwood St. in downtown Baltimore, it was announced by Cushman & Wakefield, who handled the leasing deal for the building owner. The leases are for 12,804 square feet and 3,800 square feet. Redwood Tower is a 23-story, Class A office tower owned by Carlyle Development Group. The building is 35 percent vacant with up to 92,405 square feet available for lease. C&W’s Courtenay Jenkins and Rich Thomas and Tom Fear with Carlyle Development Group represented the landlord in the transactions.

Merritt Properties LLC reported the following recently signed leases:

-Bongo’s Painting and Flooring LLC, a flooring contractor, leased 2,600 square feet of warehouse space at 709 East Ordnance Road, Suite 505, in Curtis Bay, Anne Arundel County.

-Luis Inc., a commercial glazing company (glass windows and doors) leased 2,550 square feet of warehouse space at 6770 Oak Hall Lane, Suite 115, in Columbia, Howard County.

-Tri-State CMI, a moving and storage company, leased 6,000 square feet of warehouse space at 2674-2676 Merchant Drive in Baltimore City.

-Whitewave Foods Co., an organic food company, leased 4080 square feet of office space at 8850 Stanford Blvd., Suites 3400-3500, in Columbia, Howard County. Charlie Fenwick of Cassidy Turley represented Whitewave in the leasing transactions.

In all four of the above transactions, Merritt Properties was represented by its leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw.

PERSONNEL

Real estate developer Martin K.P. Hill has joined the Board of Directors of the Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster. Hill has served as chair of McDaniel College’s Board of Trustees since 2007. He has also served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations including the YMCA of Central Maryland and Carroll County, the Episcopal Foundation and the Home Builder’s Association of Maryland.

Jared Ross

Cushman & Wakefield’s Baltimore office announced the appointment of Jared Ross as a senior associate in the commercial real estate brokerage firm’s industrial brokerage services practice group. He will be responsible for sales, leasing and corporate advisory services to tenants and owners in the Maryland metropolitan market. Ross formerly worked at Jones Lang LaSalle where he was an associate in the industrial group, handling leasing and sales of bulk warehouse and flex properties. Prior to that, he was director of land acquisition for Porten Homes, and worked in engineering and product development for Motorola Corp. Ross graduated from Lafayette College with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering.

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