Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Real Estate Weekly – 10/14/11: Salisbury University celebrates newest residence hall

Salisbury University celebrates newest residence hall

Salisbury University officially cut the ribbon last Saturday on its largest building and newest residence hall. The 230,000-square-foot Sea Gull Square is a mixed-use development with retail businesses on the ground floor serving the campus and nearby community.

The $45 million complex opened its doors to some 600 students this fall. Nearly twice the size of Holloway Hall (SU’s oldest building and the first to house students), Sea Gull Square offers apartments and amenities rarely seen in traditional dormitories.

“Sea Gull Square is the third in a triptych of buildings which have transformed the university’s profile along Route 13,” said Salisbury U’s President Janet Dudley-Eshbach. The two other buildings to which she alluded are Perdue Hall, home of the Perdue School of Business, and the Teacher Education and Technology Center.

Residents live in 156 apartment-style units, most of them four-bedroom, two baths, with a kitchen, washer and dryer and common area. Each resident has his or her own room. The main floor has a conference room for meetings and a faculty office and apartment to foster living learning interactions.

There are five retailers either occupying or expected to move in to the 23,000 square feet of commercial space in the building: Roly Poly sandwiches, Red Brick Pizza, Pemberton Apothecary, Designers Edge hair salon and Velvet Pearl boutique. More are expected.

Sea Gull Square was developed by the Salisbury-based Rinnier Development Co., designed by WDG Architecture of Washington, D.C., and built by Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of Towson.

Vacant homes at Perry Point to be renovated, rented

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has selected the New York-based nonprofit organization HELP USA to convert vacant residential property at the Perry Point VA Medical Center — known as the “Village” — into viable housing. HELP USA is a national developer of housing and provider of jobs and services for homeless and at- risk populations in the country, including families, war veterans and victims of domestic violence. To date, the organization has developed more than 2,500 units of housing including transitional and permanent supportive service programs.

Under the Perry Point housing initiative, 60 of the existing unused houses in the “Village” at Perry Point will be renovated and updated. After the renovation, 44 of the homes will be rented to homeless veterans or veterans at risk of becoming homeless, and their families. The remaining 16 houses will be used as dormitories for the AmeriCorps Program, which is a tenant organization on the Perry Point campus. The two-story wood-frame homes feature gabled roofs and range from three to four bedrooms, depending on the model.

According to VA officials, HELP USA will be completely responsible for the financing, development, construction and operation of the housing units. There is no cost to the government. The cost of the project is currently unknown. and a contract between HELP USA and the VA still needs to be negotiated. If all goes as planned, construction is expected to begin in 2012.

The Village area of the 400-acre Perry Point campus dates to 1918, when houses were constructed to house the employees of the Atlas Powder Co. ammonium nitrate plant. When the VA took over the property to construct the Perry Point VA Medical Center, the Village was used to house medical center employees. However, in the late 1990s, the VA Maryland Health Care System eliminated the employee quarters program in the Village. Currently, some of the houses are used for transitional housing for VA patients undergoing treatment at Perry Point, and some are used as dormitories for the AmeriCorps program.

Katzen Eye Group to open office in Harford County

In response to growing demand for comprehensive eye care services in Harford County, Lutherville-based Katzen Eye Group will open an office in Bel Air. Starting Nov. 7, the practice will be temporarily housed in a 3,500-square-foot space at 3435 Box Hill Corporate Center Drive, then move to a permanent, 8,000-square-foot location a few doors down next spring. The office will provide comprehensive eye care services, as well as glaucoma, retina, pediatric and optical services. This is Katzen’s fourth office in Central Maryland; others are at Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, Lutherville and Rosedale. The new, permanent location will have a staff of about 25 people, with a mixture of new hires and staff moved from other offices.

Nature center in Ellicott City lauded for sustainability

Robinson Nature Center in Columbia has been recognized by the Associated General Contractors as the “Best Sustainability Project of the Year for New Construction,” Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced. The three-story, 25,000-square-foot nature center also won the Associated Builders and Contractors 2011 “Excellence in Construction” Award. The nature center, built at a cost of $10 million, is on track to become LEED Certified Platinum, the highest level of the internationally recognized, green building certification system. Among the building’s green elements are solar panels to offset energy costs; pervious paving to helps recharge groundwater and reduce runoff that carries contaminants into waterways; a green roof helping to keep the building cool; and a geothermal HVAC, which is projected to cut heating and cooling energy use by 30 percent compared to a conventional air source heat pump system. GWWO Architects of Baltimore designed the building; Forrester Construction Co. of Rockville was the prime contractor.

Stormwater violations to cost Ryland

(AP) The Ryland Group, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, must pay $625,000 to the federal government and seven states, including Maryland, for stormwater violations. The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the penalty on Friday against California-based Ryland for alleged violations at construction sites nationwide, including the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Alleged violations include failing to obtain permits and not complying with permit requirements. Maryland will receive a portion of the settlement along with Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia. The consent decree also includes sites in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, South Carolina and Texas.

Va. company moving to P.G. County

Coastal International Security Inc., one of the largest security service providers in the United States, is moving its headquarters from Lorton, Va., to Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County. The announcement was made Tuesday by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, County Councilman Mel Franklin and representatives of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corp. The relocation will create more than 100 construction jobs and 40-50 permanent jobs, officials said. Coastal, with 2,300 employees nationwide, provides security services to federal agencies, the U.S. military, presidential Cabinet members, public utilities and some federal office buildings.

L2M acquires Hospitality Services Inc.

L2M Foodservice Design Group of Glen Burnie, a national foodservice planning and design firm, said it has acquired a competitor, Hospitality Services Inc. of Baltimore. HSI is now a wholly owned subsidiary of L2M. Terms were not disclosed. Steve O’Connor, L2M’s founder and principal, said the acquisition adds HSI’s “particularly steep portfolio of college and university clients,” as well as restaurants, retailers and other businesses, to L2M’s own client list. O’Connor, a former employee of HSI who left to found his own company in 2002, said his firm has picked up three HSI employees, doubling its professional staff.

Fewer area homes listed for sale

(AP) New figures suggest that Baltimore-area residents are becoming reluctant to put their homes up for sale. According to data compiled by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, the number of Baltimore-area homes listed for sale fell 23 percent in September, the fourth straight month that new listings decreased compared with the previous year. September’s drop was the second largest drop since the company began tracking listings in the area in 1999. The largest drop was in January of 2009. MRIS also said the average home sold for about $274,000, a drop of less than 1 percent compared with a year earlier.

Greens at Hammonds Lane Apartments have green features

Enterprise Homes of Columbia and Virginia-based Capital One Bank have scheduled grand opening ceremonies Monday for The Greens at Hammonds Lane Apartments, a newly constructed, $14.5 million development that features 90 affordable rental homes for seniors. Located in the Brooklyn Park community of Anne Arundel County, the four-story building includes 72 one-bedroom and 18 two-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a multi-purpose room, fitness center, media center, library with cyber cafe, walking paths and a garden. The Greens at Hammonds Lane is built to the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria and is designed with several green and sustainable features, including energy-efficient, double-pane windows; water-conserving plumbing fixtures; Energy Star appliances; energy-saving light fixtures and green label carpet.

Ceremony slated to reopen Robert E. Lee Memorial Park

Baltimore County will officially reopen Robert E. Lee Memorial Park on Friday, two years after the county acquired the park from Baltimore City. The park is located in the county, but had been owned for many years by the city, which for financial reasons was unable to maintain it sufficiently.

The county has renovated a large portion of the 415-acre park through two projects: the $1.1 million concrete slab bridge that spans 115 feet over Roland Run; and a collection of improvements and additions to the park itself, including a 2,000-foot-long paved foot path, a 1,400-foot-long boardwalk that runs from the Mount Washington light rail station to the site of a future rangers’ station, and the BARC Park, a 1.5-acre chained compound for dog walking. (BARC stands for Baltimore Animal Rights Coalition.)

Funding for the park improvements came from the state, which authorized $3 million, and the county, which dedicated $3.1 million. As of today, nearly $3.78 million has been spent; the remaining funding will be spent on future renovations and upkeep.

The park was part of an 18th century land grant from Lord Baltimore to several Maryland families. Lake Roland, now the centerpiece of the park, was formed later, in the 1850s, as a reservoir for the city of Baltimore. In 1992, most of the park was declared a National Historic District — the Lake Roland Historic District — in recognition of its historic elements.

Linthicum industrial property obtains $1.6M first mortgage

Nancy R. Ferrell, senior vice president/managing director of NorthMarq Capital’s Baltimore Regional office, arranged a $1.6 million first mortgage for 5200 Raynor Avenue, a 72,204-square-foot industrial property in Linthicum. Financing was based on a 15-year term, and a 25-year amortization schedule and was arranged for the borrower, Raynor Commerce Center LLC, by NorthMarq through its correspondent relationship with Symetra Life Insurance Co. NorthMarq is headquartered in Minneapolis.

LEASES

Merritt Properties LLC reported the following recent lease deals:

* Nations Roof MidAtlantic LLC, a roofing company, leased 1,350 square feet of warehouse space and 1,200 square feet of office space at 150 Blades Lane, Suite E, in Glen Burnie. The tenant was represented by Ned Brady of Cushman & Wakefield.

* Victory Transload LLC, a commodity trading firm, leased 1,431 square feet of office space at 8830 Stanford Boulevard, Suite 313, in the Columbia Corporate Park. Victory Transload was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle’s Brad Crosley.

* Also, Prism IT Inc., an IT services company, leased 1,100 square feet of office space at 8850 Stanford Boulevard, Suite 3350, also in the Columbia Corporate Park.

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