Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Real Estate Weekly – 10/28/11: EA Engineering to be honored by Chamber

EA Engineering to be honored by Chamber

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc., a multi-disciplinary environmental and engineering firm headquartered in Hunt Valley, will be honored by the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce with the 2011 Baltimore County New Directions Award. The award, given to a company that exemplifies the quality and future direction of the county’s business community, will be presented at the Chamber’s Business Hall of Fame Dinner on Nov. 9 at the Sheraton North Baltimore in Towson.

“EA is a national company with strong Baltimore County roots,” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said. “Their commitment to growing here in the county is a testament to the county’s engineering and scientific talent and spirit of innovation.”

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology is expanding in Baltimore County. In 2012, the company will consolidate more than 200 employees from Maryland and Pennsylvania in a new $27 million LEED Platinum headquarters at Schilling Green II in Hunt Valley. A state-of-the-art ecotoxicology and biological testing laboratory facility will be built adjacent to the headquarters. In business for more than 38 years, the company expects to add 40 new jobs over the next four years.

The awards dinner will also feature the induction of BD Diagnostic Systems and AAI Corp. into the Baltimore County Chamber Business Hall of Fame.

Bethesda parking woes about to get a lot worse

(AP) The search for parking in downtown Bethesda will be even worse for about three years, with a key street and major parking lots closing for high-rise and underground construction projects. The Washington Post reported that in January, construction on Woodmont and Bethesda avenues will close two lots that provide about 300 metered spaces. A block of Woodmont Avenue that many motorists use to bypass Wisconsin Avenue will also close for about 20 months. The construction projects include a five-story building with retail on the ground floor and 162 residential units above. A nine-story building with 88 residential units and ground-level retail is also being built. The developer said Woodmont Avenue will close within weeks of the beginning of the construction so crews can build an underground parking garage.

Hogan Cos. acquires Charles County real estate firm The Hogan Cos. of Annapolis, a land development brokerage, announced it has acquired Waldorf-based Mark Konka Real Estate Services. Details of the transaction were not disclosed, Mark K. Konka, the firm’s 45-year-old owner and president, has joined the Hogan Cos. as Vice President of Development. Konka started his own company in 1998 and has handled real estate development, sales, leasing and property management. He has been involved in the development of more than 600 residential building lots in 10 different projects throughout Charles County. Victor White, the Hogan Cos. chief operating officer, said that the post that Konka will occupy at Hogan is a new one, and that his focus will be on fee-development services for the company. Prior to starting his own company, Konka was a real estate agent and land development manager for L.K. Farrall Ltd.

IndiSoft expands Columbia headquarters

IndiSoft LLC of Columbia, a technology developer focused on the default service management industry, said it expanded its headquarters to accommodate recent growth. According to a company representative, prior to expansion, the office space that IndiSoft occupies totaled about 1,000 square feet; the expansion doubled that amount to 2,000 square feet. The company has about 15 employees and is looking to hire more, the representative said. “It was paramount that we expanded our office space as we have added additional resources to effectively manage our clients’ growing needs,” said Sanjeev Dahiwadkar, CEO and president, in a statement. “With the new clients we have recently on-boarded, we also want to ensure that we maintain the same high level of quality service we have always provided, while positioning the company for future growth based on the increased industry demand.”

College students on the move … again

St. Mary’s College of Maryland students who had been relocated to area hotels while their residence halls were cleaned of mold will be moved to a floating residence: Their new home will be a ship docked at or near the college’s pier on St. Mary’s River. The ship, the Sea Voyager, an independently owned cruise ship, was scheduled to arrive by the end of the week, and students will immediately start moving back to campus. They will all be moved in by Monday, the college, based in St. Mary’s City, said in a news release.

Charles Jackson, associate vice president of planning and facilities, said the college moved the students out of their dorms in order to clean the residences. The problem was that the students were having transportation problems reaching the college in order to attend classes, due to heavy traffic on Route 235, and encountered other logistical issues. So moving them to the ship, virtually on campus, was the next best solution.

A total of 350 students were relocated from two residence halls to vacancies on campus, to doubles converted into triples, to four-person townhouses into five-person units, and to area hotels. An estimated 240 will live on the ship. The cost to rent the vessel and house students is about the same as it cost for hotel rooms.

The college said damp conditions from Hurricane Irene and persistent rains are to blame for the mold.

COPT reports lower FFO, earnings

Corporate Office Properties Trust of Columbia, a real estate investment trust focused primarily on U.S. government and defense information technology tenants, reported lower funds from operations and net income for the third quarter of 2011 compared to the previous year. Diluted and adjusted FFO — a key measure of a REIT’s financial performance — was $33.3 million in this year’s quarter, versus $33.6 million in 2010. Net income was $2.5 million, or 3 cents per share, versus $4.8 million, or 8 cents per share, in the 2010 quarter. The company said fears about the economy and federal gridlock in Washington impacted its earnings.

Former landfill becomes solar farm

A former landfill in Howard County is itself being recycled as the site of a solar panel installation. The panels erected across three acres at the former New Cut Landfill in Ellicott City will help offset electricity use at nearby Worthington Elementary School by up to 90 percent. The panels will be located six feet above the ground and tilted at a 30-degree angle to track the sun. Howard County is using a $462,000 Project Sunburst grant from the Maryland Energy Administration to pay for the panel installation. Construction began in mid-September and is expected to conclude in mid- to late November.

New businesses enliven Oella, Catonsville

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz tasted success during opening ceremonies for two locally owned, food-oriented businesses that renovated signature buildings in the western part of the county.

In historic Oella, a building that formerly housed a roller rink, and later a car paint shop, has been transformed into a commercial baker and retail shop. The building’s renovation added green elements, including geo-thermal heating, cooling and hot water, a reclaimed wood ceiling, and recycled cork and rubber tire flooring. The Breadery makes artisan and whole grain breads for supermarkets, specialty retailers, and farmer’s markets. Since moving to Catonsville from smaller quarters in Ellicott City, the company has added four jobs.

Elsewhere, Catonsville has seen a newly opened candy store, Ken’s Old Fashioned Candy Shop at 819 Frederick Road. Owner Mary Chizmadia and her son Kenney welcome customers to a shop filled with penny-candy, chocolates, sugar-free candies, candy-making supplies, baskets, tins and cookie cutters. “Ken’s is exactly the type of small, locally owned business that fits downtown Catonsville,” said Kirby Spencer, president of JK ELM Inc., the building’s owner. “Friendly, local shopowners, unusual merchandise and a touch of history make customers feel at home.”

Continental buys Florida shopping center

Continental Realty Corp. of Baltimore, a commercial real estate development and management company, announced the acquisition of a 30,500-square-foot shopping center in Royal Palm Beach for $5.05 million, or $165 per square foot. The project is totally leased to national retailers, with Office Depot occupying 25,500 square feet, and Mattress Giant 5,000 square feet. The property has an approximate 9.3 percent capitalization rate on in-place income. (The cap rate is a measure of the profitability of a real estate asset.)

Noting that the transaction was completed in only 25 days, JM Schapiro, CEO of Continental Realty Corp., said that “the seller had a loan coming due and needed to move quickly to get a deal completed. Our reputation and certainty of closing provided us the opportunity to acquire the project at an extremely attractive cap rate in an excellent submarket of Palm Beach County.”

Clinton Texter of Marcus & Millichap represented Continental Realty Corp. in this transaction.

The acquisition was made on behalf of a real estate fund sponsored by an affiliate of Continental Realty that will be investing in value-add retail shopping centers and apartment communities throughout the Eastern United States.

P.G. County shopping center part of $122M deal Multi-Employer Property Trust, a $5.3 billion open-end commingled real estate equity fund based in Washington, D.C., has acquired two retail centers, one in Northern Virginia, the other in Prince George’s County, for approximately $122.6 million. The Virginia property, Woodland Park Crossing, is a 137,028-square-foot, grocery-anchored center in Herndon. In Maryland, MEPT purchased the Penn Mar Shopping Center, a 387,028-square-foot, grocery-anchored retail center in Forestville. Penn Mar Shopping Center is 95 percent leased to a mix of discount and convenience retailers. Anchored by Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Penn Mar Shopping Center’s necessity goods retailers include Burlington Coat Factory, Dollar Tree, Staples, Party City and Petco. MEPT has retained Vienna, Va.-based Rosenthal Properties for leasing and property management.

Awards

Emily J. Vaias, partner at Linowes and Blocher, of Bethesda, is one of seven winners of the 2011 Toyota Tribute to Working Women Award, which honors women from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia who have made a drastic difference in their workplace, community or home. Vaias practices land use, zoning, municipal and administrative law in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Charles counties and the District of Columbia. She represents local and national developers, builders of residential and commercial projects, retailers, business owners and individuals before administrative, legislative and judicial bodies. Vaias is also an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in the Edward St. John Real Estate Program. For 18 years she has provided pro bono legal services through the Homeless Persons Representation Project.

The Land Development Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland has announced the winners of its Excellence in Community Development Awards. Individual Awards of Excellence: Developer of the Year: Bob Goodier, Goodier Builders; Lifetime Achievement: Eliot Powell, Whitehall Development; Consultant of the Year: Sean Davis, Morris & Ritchie Associates; Rising Star: Dan Whitehurst, Clark Turner Signature Homes. Project of the Year: Maple Lawn — Developer: Greenebaum & Rose Associates; Builder: Bozzuto Group, NV Homes, Mitchell & Best, Miller & Smith; Engineer: Gutschick, Little & Weber. Excellence in Community Development Awards: Walnut Grove — Developer: Goodier Baker; Builder: various custom homes; Engineer: GLW; Financing: Sandy Spring Bank; and Tanyard Springs — Developer: Lennar; Builder: Lennar and Ryan Homes; Engineer: Land Design, Financing: Lennar; and Clipper Mill — Developer: BB&T; Builder: Integrated Construction Management; Financing: BB&T; and Marea St. Michaels — Developer: Elm Street Development; Builder: Keswick Homes; Engineer: Lane Engineering; Financing: The Talbot Bank; and Shipley’s Grant — Developer: Bozzuto Homes; Builder: Bozzuto Homes; Financing: PNC and M&T Bank; and Briar Knoll — Developer: Gaylord Brooks Realty; Builder: various custom builders; Engineer: G.W. Stephens and Associates; Financing: Susquehanna Bank.