Robinson Nature Center in Columbia recognized by U.S. Green Building Council
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced that the Robinson Nature Center in Columbia has been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council for achieving LEED Platinum certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. The Robinson Nature Center is one of only three publically owned and operated buildings in Maryland to earn LEED Platinum, the highest level of certification awarded. Among the green elements included at the nature center: solar panels to offset the building’s energy costs; pervious paving, which helps recharge groundwater and reduces runoff that carries contaminants into waterways; a green roof, which helps the building keep cool; and a geothermal HVAC that is projected to cut heating and cooling energy use by 30 percent over a conventional air source heat pump system.
Manekin Construction, Obrecht team up to build health center in Virginia
Manekin Construction has teamed with Fred Obrecht, founder of Obrecht Phoenix Contractors Inc., to build the Atlantic Community Health Center, a $7 million multi-discipline health care services facility for the Eastern Shore Rural Health System Inc. on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Construction is underway with completion scheduled for February 2013. Located on Lankford Highway in New Church, the 20,000-square-foot building will serve large sectors of Virginia’s historically underserved Eastern Shore, including its general population, migrant seasonal worker families, rural poor and corporate clients. “This joint venture relationship was the result of the relationships Obrecht-Phoenix has built on the Eastern Shore and Manekin Construction’s available resources,” said Craig Wess, president of Manekin Construction.
Grants awarded to Howard County for bike pathway improvements
Howard County has been awarded a grant for $130,000 for the construction of two proposed bike pathway improvement projects designed to strengthen the pathway network system and make cycling a more viable and efficient mode of transportation in Howard County. Funding for the project comes from the Maryland Department of Transportation through its Bikeways Program Grants, part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Cycle Maryland Initiative. One of the projects is located along Great Star Drive in River Hill, traveling from the River Hill Village Center to Johns Hopkins Road and the Applied Physics Laboratory. The grant for this project totals $80,000. The other project will be a partnership between the county and the Columbia Association to upgrade and improve connections between the CA pathways and county roads, with special attention given to improving connections to schools, shopping centers and on road bicycle facilities. The Bikeways Program Grant funding is $50,000.
Jarboe of Clark Construction Group named president of national AGC
Joseph Jarboe, senior vice president of Bethesda-based Clark Construction Group, has taken the top post of the Associated General Contractors of America, the nation’s largest construction trade association. As AGC’s president, Jarboe will focus on a national effort to improve the productivity of the nation’s construction companies, oversee the AGC’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry, and help builders weather today’s challenging economic conditions. Other officers named to lead the organization are Paul Diederich, president of West Fargo, N.D.-based Industrial Builders Inc., senior vice president; Alan Landes, president and COO of St. Joseph, Mo.-based Herzog Contracting Corp., vice president; and David Hanson, senior vice president of Detroit-based Walbridge, treasurer. Jarboe’s and the others’ term of office lasts until March 2013.
Roland Campbell Jr. named to Baltimore County Revenue Authority
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that he is nominating Roland O. Campbell Jr., a local real estate CEO, as a member of the Baltimore County Revenue Authority. A Pikesville resident, Campbell is the president and CEO of ROC Inc., a real estate advisory firm. A recent chair of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce as well as past president of the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce, Campbell has served on the Governor’s Commission on Small Business, the Bon Secours Foundation, the Home Builders Association of Maryland, and the Baltimore County Workforce Development Council. He is a graduate of the Realtor’s Institute), and has earned a certificate from the Allan Berman Real Estate Institute of Johns Hopkins University. The five-member Baltimore County Revenue Authority is a quasi-governmental agency responsible for managing the county’s municipal golf courses, parking facilities and the Reisterstown Sportsplex and ice rink.
BDC spells out qualifications for its next president
A release issued by the Baltimore Development Corp. describes the qualifications the BDC is seeking for its next president/CEO, who will succeed the retiring long-time head of the quasi-public economic development agency, M.J. “Jay” Brodie.
“The ideal candidate should be a leader that possesses thorough knowledge and experience in urban economic development, a passion for business and real estate development, and demonstrates a successful track record in the strategic planning, implementation, and completion of complex projects, business negotiations, and organizational restructuring,” the BDC said.
“In addition, a candidate should have: 1) A demonstrated understanding of local government, legislative policies and procedures, public policy, and general knowledge of surrounding jurisdictions; 2) Ability to plan, direct, coordinate and administer a comprehensive economic development plan with City agencies and partners; 3) Ability to analyze complex real estate development projects, including financial analysis, and develop a course of action consistent with established planning guidelines and master plans; 4) A combination of both private and government sector work experience; 5) Knowledge of public-private partnerships, non-traditional financing sources, including Tax Increment Financing (TIF), and Baltimore City incentive programs, including Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program; and 6) Establish primary residency in Baltimore City within six (6) months of date of hire.”
The notice, and further qualifications, are posted on the BDC website, as well as Select Leaders Urban Land Institute, International Economic Development Council website and on the Maryland Economic Development Association website. Applications are being accepted until April 6.
GGP plans improvements at Columbia Corporate Center
General Growth Properties Inc., of Chicago, announced that $1.8 million would be invested in improvements at Columbia Corporate Center, a seven-building, 876,475-square-foot office complex in Columbia Town Center. Among the planned enhancements, 10 and 20 Corporate Center will have fully remodeled lobbies, updated common corridors and new building directory systems. Exterior renovations are planned at 10, 20 and 30 Corporate Center, including new lighting, landscaping, outdoor seating and improvements to the building entryways. A campus-wide building signage program is planned to help easily identify the buildings. Columbia Corporate Center has office space available sized from 997 square feet to 34,653 square feet. Cushman & Wakefield agents Hayes Merkert and Karen Cherry lease the office buildings on behalf of GGP.
Attorney, real estate consultant
sentenced for failing to file tax return Michael Ron Worthy, 45, of Bowie, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to six months in prison followed by one year of probation for two counts of failing to file an income tax return, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced. According to his guilty plea, Worthy earned income from his employment at his law firm, Williams Worthy LLP; his real estate consulting business, Esquire One; and an investment business, Metro Dream Homes. Worthy failed to file income tax returns for the tax years 2006 and 2007 for income earned from these entities, resulting in a tax loss of $162,935.
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.
Purple Line rail yard, facility shifted
(AP) Maryland transit planners say they have redesigned a future Purple Line rail yard and maintenance facility to move it farther away from homes in Silver Spring. The rail yard and maintenance facility would be relocated to an industrial area along Brookville Road, west of Lyttonsville Place. Montgomery County planners told nearby residents the change could require relocating part of Brookville Road and could result in trains crossing Stewart Avenue, the Washington Post reported. The proposed 16-mile light rail Purple Line between Bethesda and New Carrollton is estimated to cost nearly $2 billion.
Cambridge lighthouse nears funding goal
(AP) Organizers of an effort to build a replica of the Choptank River lighthouse in Cambridge say they have raised 90 percent of the more-than-$600,000 needed for construction. Private donations account for more than two-thirds of the money raised, supporters said. Plans call for the new lighthouse to open in September at the Cambridge City Marina, where it will serve as the dockmaster’s office, an information center and a symbol of Cambridge’s revitalization. The original 42-foot-wide lighthouse stood for more than 80 years at the junction of the Choptank and Tred Avon rivers and was torn down by the Coast Guard in 1964.
Ex-department store to be data center
A former Boscov’s department store in Glen Burnie has been purchased by Beltsville-based AiNET, a 19-year-old information technology company, and will be renovated to house a 300,000-square-foot data center called CyberNAP. The company said the secure facility will be the largest of its kind in Maryland, about the size of six football fields, housing more than 10,000 equipment cabinets and supporting upwards of 1 million servers. The first phase is scheduled to open in July. Ultimately, the company said the center will foster about 2,500 jobs, both at the facility and nearby, most of which will be new jobs. AiNET has smaller centers in Beltsville and Laurel.
New medical center opens in Gaithersburg
Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, of Rockville, a nonprofit health plan and health care provider, said it opened its largest medical center in Montgomery County. Located at 655 Watkins Mill Road in Gaithersburg, the 175,000-square-foot facility has 72 provider offices and employs more than 350 physicians and staff. They offer more than 30 medical specialties including several new services for Kaiser Permanente members along the I-270 corridor, such as cardiology, nuclear cardiology, sports medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy and urology, among others. Laboratory, pharmacy, a full range of radiological services, as well as urgent care and clinical observation unit services, are available to members 24/7.
BGE to begin installing ‘smart meters’
(AP) Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. will begin installing “smart meters” in May. The Baltimore Sun reported it’s part of a major effort to modernize central Maryland’s electricity grid. It could also help customers control energy use and save money. The three-year, $482 million rollout begins in Pasadena and will continue in stages until 1.3 million analog electric meters are replaced with digital ones and 700,000 gas meters are upgraded by the end of 2014. The utility is mailing letters to all BGE residential and commercial customers, informing them about the new meters.
Army drops plans for Detrick animal lab
(AP) The U.S. Army said it is dropping plans for a high-security animal laboratory at Fort Detrick in Frederick that would have been used for public and private research on some of the world’s deadliest pathogens. Officials said that the demand for such a facility is less than anticipated, and not building it will save $1 billion over the next decade. They said the Army will expand its test and evaluation capabilities at existing facilities instead. The Army announced plans for the $584 million project in August 2010. Last year, the National Academy of Sciences said it found flaws in the Army’s risk assessment for the facility.
Baltimore Co. OK’s new elementary school
(AP) The Baltimore County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to build a 700-seat elementary school in the area of Mays Chapel Park despite opposition from neighbors. The school off Roundwood Road is expected to open within two to three years to relieve overcrowding in the York Road corridor. Neighbors said they were concerned about traffic and parking in the area and accused of the school system of rushing to make a decision without considering other sites or solutions for overcrowding. But Board President Lawrence Schmidt said the system purchased the 20 acres in the mid-1980s for use as a school site.
Ariz. city chosen as energy-tower site
Clean Wind Energy Tower Inc., of Annapolis, said it hopes to build two energy-generating downdraft towers and a component-parts assembly plant in San Luis, Ariz., a city in the southwest corner of that state. CWET said the project will employ up to 2,500 people during construction and provide 1,000 permanent jobs. Each cylindrical tower will generate enough clean electricity to power up to 1.6 million homes, the company said. The project’s cost and size were not revealed. The San Luis Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a hearing on the proposal on April 10.
Harborplace & The Gallery announced several new tenants will open in the Pratt Street Pavilion this spring. Marble Slab Creamery and Great American Cookies will bring their chef-inspired ice cream, cookies and brownies to a 1,125-square-foot location on Level 2 of Pratt Street Pavilion. Also, on the pavilion’s first floor, Paciugo Gelato & Caffè will open a 794-square-foot gelateria next to IT’SUGAR, serving gelato and sorbet that are prepared daily by hand in the store. The shop will offer an assortment of 32 to 40 gelato flavers, and also will offer coffee, specialty drinks and bottled beverages.
Merritt Properties LLC of Baltimore reported the following recently signed leases:
* Costrotta Construction Management, a telecommunications construction services company, leased 3,556 square feet of warehouse space and 1,044 square feet of office space, for a total of 4,600 square feet, at Guilford Industrial Park, 9515 Gerwig Lane, Suite 101, in Columbia.
* Communications Scientific International Inc., an aerospace technology and services company, leased 2,804 square feet of office space at 5523 Research Park Drive, Suite 100, in the bwtech@UMBC Research & Technology Park in Catonsville.
The above two leases were negotiated on behalf of Merritt Properties by its inhouse leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw.
* In a separate deal, Chesapeake Fine Food Group LLC, a mail order catalog and gourmet food company, leased 6,300 square feet of office and mail order distribution space at 10711 Red Run Boulevard, Suite 113, in Owings Mills. Merritt’s inhouse leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs handled lease negotiations for the landlord, Merritt Properties.