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Real Estate Weekly – 12/16/11: Marriott plans two new hotels in Iraq

Marriott plans two new hotels in Iraq

Marriott International Inc. of Bethesda is among U.S. hotel companies that are being lured to Iraq following the end of eight years of occupation by American troops. Marriott expects to operate two properties in Erbil, Iraq’s fourth-largest city and the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan in the northern part of the country. Marriott is planning a 200-room Marriott-branded hotel and a 75-unit property under its high-end, extended-stay Marriott Executive Apartment brand that are slated to open in 2014, according to a company official. Other hotel companies planning projects in Erbil — an area considered relatively safe — are Hilton Worldwide and Best Western International.

Poultry power plant project proposed

Perdue AgriBusiness Inc., in partnership with Fibrowatt LLC, a Pennsylvania-based developer of poultry litter-fueled power plants, has responded to Maryland’s Clean Bay Power request for proposal. The Fibrowatt/Perdue AgriBusiness proposal calls for a combined heat and power biomass boiler operation located at the Perdue AgriBusiness complex near Salisbury. The proposed facility will provide 10 megawatts of electricity to the state as well as up to 70,000 pounds per hour of steam to the Perdue AgriBusiness complex. The renewable fuel source will be a combination of poultry litter, layer hen manure, wood chips and other locally sourced biomass.

LaSalle obtains new credit facility

LaSalle Hotel Properties of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns upscale and luxury full-service hotels, said it has obtained a new, $750 million, senior unsecured credit facility from a group of 17 lenders, to replace its $450 million credit line that is scheduled to mature in April. The new credit facility matures on Jan. 30, 2017, and contains extensions that may or may not be exercised. The credit line includes an accordion feature which, subject to certain conditions, entitles the company to request additional lender commitments, allowing for total commitments up to $1 billion.

Md. hotel REITS announce 4th-quarter dividends Two Bethesda-based lodging real estate investment trusts announced dividends for the quarter ending Dec. 31. LaSalle Hotel Properties declared a dividend of 11 cents per common share, payable on Jan 13, to common shareholders of record on Dec. 31. Also, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust declared a dividend of 12 cents per common share, payable on Jan. 16, to shareholders of record as of Dec. 31. Pebblebrook said its dividend represents an annualized yield of approximately 2.6 percent, based on the closing price of its common shares on Dec. 14.

JHU creates engineering professorship

The Johns Hopkins University has established a new named professorship in civil engineering supported by an endowment set up by Michael G. Callas, a prominent Maryland structural engineer who died in 2004. The university named Somnath Ghosh as the inaugural Michael G. Callas Professor of Civil Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. Ghosh joined the Whiting School faculty this year after two decades at Ohio State University. He holds joint appointments in the Whiting School’s departments of civil and mechanical engineering and directs the university’s Computational Mechanics Research Laboratory. The Callas gift established the 21st named professorship at the Whiting School.

Marriott chooses new CEO

Marriott International’s board of directors on Tuesday elected J.W. Marriott Jr., the current chairman of the board and CEO, as executive chairman and chairman of the board, making way for Arne Sorenson, the current president and chief operating officer, to become president and CEO. Sorenson will be the third CEO in the company’s history. The board also appointed Group President Robert McCarthy as chief operations officer. All three appointments take effect March 31. Marriott International, based in Bethesda, has nearly 3,700 lodging properties in 72 countries and territories.

Marshall to run 5 more hotels

Marshall Hotels & Resorts Inc., a hotel management and services company based in Salisbury, has added five contracts to its management portfolio: the 113-room Hampton Inn & Suites under construction in Ocean City; the 142-room Radisson Hotel Cleveland-Gateway in Ohio; and in Georgia, the 80-room Holiday Inn Express Braselton, 139-room Hampton Inn Atlanta/Marietta, and 66-room Hampton Inn Cartersville. Marshall Hotels & Resorts specializes in operating three- and four-star hotels and resorts, averaging 100 to 500 rooms, in urban and central business districts.

Reznick Group acquires green company

Reznick Group, a Bethesda-based CPA firm, announced the acquisition of technical consulting firm Think Energy Inc., which will be called Reznick Think Energy LLC. Think Energy focuses on clean energy, sustainability, and energy efficiency; it will provide investor due diligence, on-site renewable energy feasibility assessments, procurement management, technology assessment, and permitting support. It has worked on projects across the U.S., including with Toyota and the Los Angeles school system, and in China. Reznick Think Energy will work closely with Reznick Group’s renewable energy practice, and complement Reznick Capital Markets, which works with project developers to identify and secure capital.

New retail center planned for Salisbury

Plans are under way to develop a 10-store shopping center on two acres in northern Salisbury. Matthew Trader, a Realtor with Salisbury-based Rinnier Development Co., said he is working with the owner to redevelop the property and obtain commercial tenants. He said a building at the site will be removed and that construction is scheduled to begin in about six months. The Daily Times of Salisbury reported that the shopping center will be located on U.S. 13 between a Staples store and The Greene Turtle restaurant, about a mile north of The Centre at Salisbury mall and other stores

Marriott reopens St. Thomas resort

Marriott International Inc. of Bethesda announced completion of a $48 million renovation of its Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Resort in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The company marked the occasion with an official grand reopening in November. The renovation included improvements to the exterior of the resort’s main tower, a full redesign of all 302 guest rooms, a new state-of-the art spa and spa pool, larger fitness center, a full-service salon complete with hair and manicure/pedicure stations, new restaurants and menu concepts, expanded lounge areas, a completely redesigned infinity pool with kids’ zone and the addition of an adults-only pool.

LEASES

5119 Pegasus Court

St. John Properties Inc. of Woodlawn announced the signing of four leases totaling nearly 17,000 square feet of research and development and office space in The Center at Monocacy, a 423,000-square-foot business park at the intersection of Interstate 270 and MD Route 85 in Frederick. The new tenants are:

* Performance Automatic, which sells and distributes specialized automotive racing transmissions, leased 7,515 square feet of space at 5119 Pegasus Court. Alan Goldman of Realty Service Co. represented the tenant. Performance Automatic relocated from the Montgomery Airpark in Montgomery County.

* Anything in Stained Glass leased 5,520 square feet of space in 5104 Pegasus Court. The family owned and operated stained glass resale and distribution company moved to Frederick from Cape May, N.J. Carmen Hilton of Breen Real Estate represented the tenant.

* The Frederick County Association of Realtors, an organization that provides educational and training services to the residential real estate brokerage community in the Frederick region, signed a lease for 2,760 square feet of space at 5115 Pegasus Court. Dick Ishler of Turning Point Commercial represented the tenant.

* Healthcare Service Partners, a medical office management company, expanded its lease to 4,000 square feet of space at 5103 Pegasus Court. Jonathan Warner of Warner Commercial represented the tenant.

The Center at Monocacy consists of nine R&D/office/flex buildings with additional developable land directly along MD Route 85.

Merritt Properties LLC reported the following recently signed leases:

* Anchors Aweigh Construction Inc. a remodeling construction company, leased 2,250 square feet of office and warehouse space at 150 Blades Lane, Suite Q, in Glen Burnie. Jonathan Green of KLNB represented Anchors Aweigh. Merritt was represented by its in-house team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw.

* Vartopia LLC, an IT company, leased 2,213 square feet of office space at 8850 Stanford Boulevard, Suite 1850, in the Columbia Corporate Park. Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw of Merritt Properties represented both parties in the lease negotiations.

* Maciej P. Chodynicki, MD LLC, a psychiatry practice, leased 611 square feet of office space at The Exchange, 1122 Kenilworth Drive, Suite 403, in Towson. Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs of Merritt Properties handled the lease negotiations for both parties.

* Cantiniere Imports and Distribution Inc., a wine importer, leased 3,450 square feet of warehouse space at Hidden Rock II, 9515 Gerwig Lane, Suite 103, in Columbia. Merritt Properties’ Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw represented both the tenant and the landlord.

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