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Real Estate Weekly – 3/16/12: DPW says work progressing on Montebello II project

Manekin resumes management of 20 buildings it built in 1980s

Manekin LLC, a full-service commercial real estate firm headquartered in Columbia, has resumed managing a portfolio of 20 flex-office buildings in Columbia that it developed, leased and managed from its inception in the mid-1980s. The properties, containing about 600,000 square feet of space, are inside three business parks: Oakland Ridge (9130 Red Branch Road; 9151 Rumsey Road; and 8910, 8920, 8930 and 8940 Old Annapolis Road); Gateway Crossing (five buildings on Columbia Gateway Drive, 7151, 7155, 7161 7165 and 7175); and Columbia Business Center (eight buildings on Dobbin Road, spanning from 6410 to 6490). Manekin sold the portfolio to AMB in 2001, which assumed the property management role. AMB later merged with Prologis Inc., and a Connecticut-based real estate investment firm purchased the properties in January 2012.

CCBC outpost, county library building in Owings Mills takes shape

The first high-rise building contained within Metro Centre at Owings Mills is 35 percent completed and on schedule for a spring 2013 grand opening. The six-story, 120,000-square-foot building overlooking the Interstate 795 has been designed to house a new branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, as well as an expanded location for the Community College of Baltimore County. Owned by Baltimore County, the estimated construction cost is $30 million. Metro Centre at Owings Mills is being developed by Owings Mills Transit LLC and will be managed by David S. Brown Enterprises Ltd. CAM Construction is the general contractor for the Owings Mills Learning Center, which has been designed by Hord Caplan Macht Architects.

St. John Properties acquires former Environmental Elements HQ

St. John Properties Inc. has acquired a five-story, 100,000-square-foot office building at 3700 Koppers Ave. in Baltimore that served as the corporate headquarters for the Environmental Elements Corp. for more than 30 years. The building has been rebranded “Baltimore Gateway” to reflect its strategic positioning at the approach to Baltimore City and its roadside visibility from Interstate 95. The seller was Balkop Associates, a Pennsylvania limited partnership. The building is approximately 90 percent vacant, with occupancy by only three tenants.

In announcing the acquisition, St. John Properties did not disclose the purchase price. St. John did say it will spend about $8 million to perform a comprehensive renovation, including modernization of the lobby and common areas, installation of energy-efficient windows, three new high-speed elevator systems, a new HVAC system, and renovation of bathrooms with ADA-compliant fixtures. Other improvements include a covered entranceway for drop-offs and pick-ups, and new exteior landscaping, sprinkler systems and lighting.

The renovation will be handled by St. John Properties’ in-house construction arm, and work is expected to be completed by mid-year.

DPW says work progressing on Montebello II project

Walkers, joggers and bicyclists who are used to circling Lake Montebello in Northeast Baltimore on the continuous-loop road will have to get used to a temporary disruption, as the Baltimore Department of Public Works has closed a 100-foot section on the lake’s northwest side for installation of a 48-inch water pipe. The pipe will be used to periodically drain the Montebello II Finished-Water Reservoir into Lake Montebello. This is part of a $40 million, federally mandated project to enclose the finished drinking water reservoir at the facility.

The temporary road closure is northeast of the Old Stone Gate House, a pyramidal structure adjacent to the lake. Officials said the closure will last through the first week of April. During that time, walkers, joggers, bicycle riders and disc golf players will be allowed to engage in their usual activities, except that they will not be able to use the loop road in the construction area.

The Montebello II project, on the west side of Hillen Road, began in December 2009 and was originally expected to be completed in October 2013. The project is almost 80 percent completed and ahead of schedule, officials said. The project consists of construction of tanks holding a 32 million gallon enclosed finished-water reservoir, replacing a former 20 million gallon concrete open reservoir.

PERSONNEL

Randall M. Griffin

Randall M. Griffin, outgoing CEO of Columbia-based Corporate Office Properties Trust, has been named the recipient of the NAIOP Maryland Lifetime Achievement Award. Griffin, who retires from COPT on March 31, will accept the honor on April 19 at the commercial real estate organization’s Awards of Excellence Gala at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore. Griffin, a 39-year veteran of the commercial real estate industry, spent the past 19 years heading the operations of Constellation Real Estate Group and COPT, its successor company. Before that, he was vice president of development for EuroDisney in Paris, France. NAIOP is a national trade association for developers, owners, investors and other professionals in industrial, office and mixed-use commercial real estate. NAIOP Maryland has more than 350 members who work in real estate development, brokerage and affiliated companies such as financial institutions, architectural firms and engineers.

Scott Manhoff

Scott Manhoff has joined Manekin LLC as a vice president in the brokerage division. Working from the firm’s Columbia office, the 24-year veteran of the commercial real estate industry will focus on commercial sales and leasing throughout the Baltimore-Washington corridor, with an emphasis on the industrial market. Manhoff’s brokerage career includes 12-year stints with both Grubb & Ellis and McShea & Co. Prior to joining the real estate field, Manhoff served as a headhunter, as well as a football coach at Brown University, Grambling State University, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, and Marietta College. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Colgate University and a master’s in sports administration from Grambling.

L to R - Scott Rykiel,Cathy Snellinger, Richard Jones

Mahan Rykiel Associates Inc., a full-service landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm based in Baltimore, announced a restructuring of its top-level management in the wake of the retirement in February of co-founder Catherine Mahan. Richard Jones, formerly associate principal of the 40-employee firm, has been named president and design director. Cathy Snellinger, formerly associate/accounting manager, has been promoted to vice president and chief financial officer. Jones, a 10-year employee of the firm, and Snellinger, in her 25th year, will join executive vice president and co-founder Scott Rykiel in managing the firm. Rykiel will focus on building Mahan Rykiel’s international practice. Catherine Mahan will continue as chair of the board through 2012. Also, Warren Timlen has been named as a principal, and Nathan Scott and Ryan Cosgrove have been promoted to associates.

Warren Timlen

Ryan Cosgrove

Nathan Scott

Two Md. malls part of Mills transaction

(AP) Simon Property Group, the biggest mall operator in the U.S., announced on Thursday that it is buying joint venture partner Farallon Capital Management LLC’s interest in 26 U.S. shopping malls, including two in Maryland, owned by The Mills LP for $1.5 billion. The Maryland properties are Arundel Mills mall and Arundel Mills Marketplace, both located in Hanover. The former has 178 stores and 23 restaurants, according to MallSeeker.com. The number of stores at the Marketplace mall was not immediately available.

RLJ Lodging Trust’s performance improves

Revenue growth from higher room rates and increased occupancy enabled Bethesda-based RLJ Lodging Trust to report stronger fourth-quarter results. The hotel real estate investment trust — owner of 141 hotels in 20 states and Washington, D.C. — reported revenue of $189.3 million in last year’s quarter versus $137.9 million in the 2010 period. Adjusted fourth-quarter funds from operations were $37.3 million, compared to $24.8 million in the prior-year period. On a per-share basis, adjusted FFO in the fourth quarter of 2011 was 35 cents. Because the company went public in May 2011, there was no comparable per-share FFO for the 2010 quarter.

LaSalle acquires Hotel Palomar in D.C.

LaSalle Hotel Properties of Bethesda, a hotel real estate investment trust, said it has acquired the 335-room Hotel Palomar in Washington for $143.8 million in an off-market transaction. The REIT financed the purchase through the sale of more than 1.7 million common shares in January and February that resulted in proceeds of $46.6 million, and from borrowings from the company’s senior unsecured credit facility. The full-service hotel is located at 2121 P Street NW, near Dupont Circle. The property will continue to be managed by the San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group LLC. The seller was a Kimpton-sponsored discretionary equity fund.

APG getting healthier-food restaurants

UFood Restaurant Group Inc. a Boston-based franchisor and operator of fast-casual, healthier-menu restaurants, said it has started construction on the second of three UFood Grill locations at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County. UFood was awarded a contract by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to build and operate three new UFood Grill units on the base. The first site is scheduled for completion this month. The second unit, located in the base’s PX building, is a 1,220-square-foot express grill that, together with a companion UBerry frozen yogurt and smoothies stand, is expected to open within 60 to 90 days.

More parking OK’d for Frederick hospital

(AP) Frederick officials have approved a hospital’s plan to build a 420-space addition to its parking garage. The Frederick Planning Commission unanimously approved the Frederick Memorial Healthcare project on Monday. Some neighbors opposed the project, saying their residential streets cannot safely handle hospital traffic. They also expressed concern over the use of a new garage entrance during construction. The Frederick News-Post reported that the hospital’s revised plan eliminates the use of the entrance on Park Avenue after the construction period. The city can also require traffic-calming measures if the entrance creates hazards.

Hogan negotiates multi-phase land deal

The Hogan Cos., of Annapolis, announced the successful settlement of a multi-phase transaction for a large residential community in Harford County. Hogan, a land brokerage company, represented national home builder Lennar Corp. in the transaction, which involved the acquisition of 252 town home lots in the Magnolia Landing community, located off Fort Hoyle Road in Joppa. Jake Ermer of Hogan’s Land and Commercial Division was the sole broker involved in the land sale. The identity of the former owner of the land was not disclosed.

Urgo hired to manage Whiteface resort

Urgo Hotels LP, a Bethesda-based hotel company, said it is operating the Whiteface Lodge Resort and Homeowner’s Association under a recently signed long-term management agreement. An AAA four-diamond resort in Lake Placid, N.Y., Whiteface offers 94 one- to four-bedroom suites along with a private residence club. Amenities include a fully equipped fitness center, a spa, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, an ice skating rink, 54-seat movie theater, bowling lanes, tennis courts, snowshoe/cross country trails, and a private beach and canoe club. The contract brings to 31 hotels and resorts, with a combined 4,300 rooms, that Urgo developed, owns and/or operates.

LEASES

Roadnet Technologies Inc., a vehicle fleet management company, has signed a lease with Guardian Realty for 31,158 square feet of office space at 849 Fairmount Avenue in Towson. The new space is in addition to the approximately 25,000 square feet of space that the company already occupies at that location, bringing Roadnet’s total square footage in the building to more than 56,000 square feet. The company intends to move its nearly 150 employees into the new space this month. Company officials said they needed the additional space to accommodate additional hires expected this year and in the future. The building is a five-story, 136,000-square-foot office structure adjacent to the Sheraton Baltimore North hotel and the Towson Town Center mall. David Fields of CB Richard Ellis represented Roadnet Technologies in the lease negotiations; Bill Carbaugh of Guardian Realty represented the landlord.

Community Recycling has signed a lease for 24,000 square feet of space at 1015 W. Nursery Road, a 49,000-square-foot industrial/flex building in Linthicum Heights. Michael Mull of KLNB represented the tenant. Jarred Testa, Tilghman Herring and Michael Walsh of Cassidy Turley’s Core Industrial Leasing Team represented the landlord, RREEF.

Residex Turfgrass, a pest and turf management company, leased 7,200 square feet of space at 9004 Yellow Brick Road, a 48,000-square-foot warehouse/flex building in Rosedale. Jarred Testa, Michael Walsh and Tilghman Herring of Cassidy Turley’s Core Industrial Leasing Team represented Residex Turfgrass in the transaction. The landlord, James F. Knott Realty, was represented by Ryan Burrows.

Blue & Obrecht Realty reported the following recently signed leases:

— Security Associates Inc., a residential and commercial security equipment company, leased 1,502 square feet of office space at 20 Wight Ave., in Hunt Valley. Paul F. Obrecht III and Patrick M. Smith of Blue & Obrecht represented the tenant; Todd Summerfield represented the landlord, Liberty Property Trust.

— Softland International, a national distributor of audio and video entertainment products, leased 15,970 square feet of flex space at 7120-7132 Ambassador Road in Windsor Mill. Paul F. Obrecht III and Richard F. Blue Jr. of Blue & Obrecht Realty represented the landlord, First Industrial Realty Trust. Kyle Durkee of Cushman Wakefield represented Softland International.

— Sarikas Properties LLC leased 3,850 square feet of office space at 1050 Cromwell Bridge Road in Towson. Blue & Obrecht Realty’s Richard F. Blue Jr. and Patrick M. Smith represented the landlord, James P. Offutt Trust. Sarikas Properties was represented by Theo Harris of Keller Williams.

— Ashea Hair Care Inc., a wholesale distributor of hair care products, leased 4,627 square feet of flex space at 1817 Whitehead Road in Woodlawn. Also, KNH Enterprises, a wholesale distributor of nail care products, leased 4,723 square feet of industrial space at 1817-A Whitehead Road in Woodlawn. In both transactions, Richard F. Blue Jr. and Paul F. Obrecht of Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC represented the landlord, Colony Realty Partners.

— Trail Blazers International Christian Center leased a 30,023-square-foot office building at 1710-22 Gwynn Oak Ave., in Woodlawn. Richard F. Blue Jr. and Paul F. Obrecht of Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC represented the landlord, Colony Realty Partners. David Paulson and Stacey Berman of Manekin LLC represented the tenant.

Merritt Properties LLC reported the following leases were signed recently.

— Strategic Health Solutions LLC, a health care management company, leased 8,763 square feet of office space at 8830 Stanford Boulevard, Suite 401-405, in the Columbia Corporate Park. Jones Lang LaSalle’s Mackey Cronin represented the tenant in the lease negotiations.

— Steez Promotions LLC, a set design company, leased 1.500 square feet of office space and 600 square feet of warehouse space at 825 Hammonds Ferry Road, Suite A (Rear) at Hammonds North in Linthicum.

— Clovis Group LLC, an IT staffing company, leased 3,613 square feet of office space at the bwtech@UMBC Research & Technology Park, 5523 Research Park Drive, Suite 115, in Catonsville. Bill Whitty of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, represented Clovis.

— Costrotta Construction Management, a telecommunications construction services company, leased 3,556 square feet of warehouse space and 1,044 square feet of office space, a total of 4,600 square feet, at Guilford Industrial Park, 9515 Gerwig Lane, Suite 101 in Columbia.

Merritt Properties’ in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw represented the landlord in all four of these transactions.

Separately, a lease for 6,300 square feet of office and mail order distribution space was signed by Chesapeake Fine Food Group LLC, a mail order catalogues and gourmet food distributor, at 10711 Red Run Boulevard, Suite 113, in Owings Mills. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering , Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs represented both the landlord and the tenant in the lease deal.

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