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Real Estate Weekly – 1/20/12: Maryland ranks 5th in LEED buildings

Whitewater course defaults on loan

(AP) The operator of a publicly financed whitewater course in far western Maryland said it has defaulted on loan payments and is considering a change in ownership. Officials of Adventure Sports Center International in McHenry said Thursday the 5-year-old facility is in no danger of closing. Executive Director Matt Taylor said the nonprofit group first defaulted on $3.1 million in private bank loans more than a year ago after the financially strapped owner of the nearby Wisp ski resort stopped paying marketing fees to Adventure Sports. Wisp owner DC Development filed for bankruptcy protection last year.

Md. ranks 5th in LEED buildings

Maryland ranks fifth among the 50 states for LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita, based on the U.S. 2010 Census information, according to a U.S. Green Building Council report released Thursday. The District of Columbia leads the nation, Colorado being the leading state. Noted projects to receive certification in 2011 included the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.

RLJ Lodging completes 3 conversions

RLJ Lodging Trust, of Bethesda, announced Thursday that this month it completed three hotel conversions for approximately $24 million: the 202-room Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place and the 175-room Hilton Garden Inn Durham (N.C.), which had been Wyndham hotels, and the 194-suite Embassy Suites West Palm Beach-Central in Florida, which had been a Crowne Plaza. The conversions were part of the company’s 2011 capital improvement plan, which was largely focused on upgrading or repositioning 24 hotels acquired in 2010 and 2011. The company has completed five of seven planned conversions, with the remaining two scheduled for completion this year.

Cecil County bike route planning

The Metropolitan Planning Organization for Cecil County and for New Castle County, Del., in partnership with towns, the Maryland Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration, is planning a coordinated and integrated bicycle network. The public is invited to help develop local recommendations for the towns of North East and Cecilton during public workshops. The Northeast meeting is scheduled for Feb. 1, and the Cecilton workshop for Feb. 8. Routes are intended to safely connect cyclists with the towns and key destinations throughout Cecil County.

Cumberland funding challenged

(AP) Cumberland’s Canal Place tourism project is facing state funding questions after struggling for years to achieve its goals. The Cumberland Times-News reported that state House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Bohanan has asked the project’s governing board whether it wants to remain a state agency. The Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority receives more than $500,000 a year from the state. The legislature established the authority in 1993. Supporters hoped the project at the western end of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal would anchor economic growth in downtown Cumberland, but just three of the nine storefronts are occupied.

Grant for low-income housing

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has received a $330,000 Real Choice System Change grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for providing affordable housing for low-income people with disabilities. Under the grant, the department created the Maryland Partnership for Affordable Housing, which is co-chaired by the department and the state Department of Disabilities. The partnership will be responsible for developing the plan for coordinating services and support between agencies, as well as an efficient and timely unit referral system.

Leases

Cushman & Wakefield said Thursday that Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. leased a 54,626 square feet at Windsor Station, 2810 Lord Baltimore Dr. in Baltimore. Cushman & Wakefield leasing agents Hayes Merkert, SIOR and Danielle Schline represented the owner in this transaction, Preston Scheffenacker Properties Inc. Jonathan Hall of CBRE represented Northrop Grumman.

Personnel

Michele L. Cohen, a principal in the real estate practice group of Miles & Stockbridge, of Baltimore, has been elected president of the board of directors of CREW-Baltimore, the local chapter of the CREW Network, a national association that promotes the business interests and professional advancement of women in the commercial real estate industry. Cohen also will serve at a national level on the CREW Network’s Member Education Leadership Committee. In her practice she counsels clients on all aspects of commercial real estate transactions. Cohen previously was associate general counsel to The Ryland Group, a national, publicly held real estate homebuilder and mortgage finance company.

Eben C. Hansel, an associate in the Baltimore office of Ballard Spahr, has been elected to the board of directors of Live Baltimore, a nonprofit organization that markets the City of Baltimore as a great place to live. At Ballard Spahr, Hansel’s practice focuses primarily on commercial real estate law and transactions. He also handles corporate transactions, bankruptcy, and litigation.