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Real Estate Weekly – 3/30/12

U.S. Green Building Council presents Wintergreen awards

The Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council recently presented Wintergreen awards to 22 companies, nonprofits and individuals, recognizing excellence and innovation in green building design.

Project award winners were: M.C. Dean, regional office building, adaptive use; Legg Mason, commercial interiors; SAIC at Lexington Park, core and shell; Calverton Corporate Center, core and shell-suburban; Thames Street Wharf, Core and Shell-urban; 750 East Pratt Street, existing building; Robinson Nature Center, new construction; C. Williams Brooks Building, new construction-multi-family; Bowie City Hall and Police Station, New construction-public entity; St. Paul’s School-Upper School Library, schools; Net Zero Homes, homes; Barrie School, unbuilt work; and the George Howard Building, new construction.

Corporate award winners were: Lorax Pro, President’s Award; Corporate Office Properties Trust, education program; Ayers Saint Gross, Architects + Planners, Design Firm of the year; Royal Farms Stores, Business of the Year; Habitat for Humanity, Nonprofit of the Year; and Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Leadership in Green Building.

Professional award winners were: Andrew Cassilly, Harford County Public Schools, Innovator of the Year; and Dana Stein, Maryland House of Delegates, Elected Official of the Year.

A special People’s Choice Award, as voted by Wintergreen Award participants, was presented to the Robinson Nature Center.

St. John Properties’ headquarters earns LEED-Gold certification

St. John Properties Inc.’s corporate headquarters, a two-story, 71,000-square-foot, Class A office building at 2560 Lord Baltimore Drive in the Windsor Corporate Park, has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by the United States Green Building Council. Fourteen St. John Properties commercial buildings located throughout the Central Maryland region have earned LEED designation, in recognition of the sustainable design and operational elements that result in energy and water efficiency. Sixteen additional St. John Properties’ projects are in the LEED-certification process.

Howard County accepting applications for moderate-income housing unit program

Howard County Housing will begin accepting applications for the April enrollment period for the County’s Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) program on Monday. The open enrollment period will end on April 30. The MIHU program is an inclusionary zoning program that requires developers of new housing in certain zoning districts to sell or rent a percentage of the new dwelling units to households of moderate income. The program offers quality new homes at reduced sale prices and rents to income-eligible families.

Two workshops to explain the program will be held in Columbia. The first will be on April 14 at 11:30 a.m. at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane. The second is scheduled for April 18 at 6 p.m. at the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive. Speakers will explain the program’s eligibility requirements and application process for prospective home buyers and renters. For more information or to register for a workshop, call 410-313-6497.

SECU named one of nation’s top first-mortgage granting credit unions

SECU — Maryland’s largest state-chartered financial cooperative — has been named one of the Top 300 First Mortgage Granting credit unions in the country by the American Credit Union Mortgage Association. SECU ranked first in the state and 33rd nationally among mortgage granting credit unions as of Sept. 30, 2011, according to the annual ACUMA ranking. According to ACUMA, SECU originated $260.5 million in 1,376 fixed and adjustable first mortgages through the third quarter of 2011. SECU also sold $108.4 million in first mortgages over the same period. Outstanding fixed and adjustable first mortgages totaled $724.4 million, while real estate loans serviced by SECU topped $389.7 million.

AiNet selected by Keynote Systems to house critical computer equipment

Keynote Systems Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., a provider of Internet and mobile cloud testing and monitoring services, has selected Beltsville-based AiNet to house some of its monitoring equipment. Keynote, which is expanding its locations in the D.C. area, has moved its equipment into AiNet’s Beltsville headquarters facility. Keynote maintains over 4,000 measurement computers and mobile devices in over 275 locations around the world, which enable companies to continuously improve their online and mobile experience. AiNet, a 19-year-old provider of design, construction, operations and technology systems for Internet data centers and fiber optic networks, recently announced it has purchased a former department store building in Glen Burnie and will convert it into a to 300,000-square-foot, secure data center called CyberNAP.

Lt. Gov. Brown addresses meeting of NAIOP Maryland Developers Council

From left, Tim Zulick, First Potomac Realty Trust; Dianna Wilhelm, president of NAIOP Maryland; Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown addressed the NAIOP Maryland Developers Council at a dinner Wednesday at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Pikesville. More than 30 executives from the commercial real estate industry participated in a question-and-answer session with Brown. The local organization of NAIOP comprises 350 members working for real estate development companies and brokerage firms, and affiliated companies such as financial institutions, architectural firms and engineers.

Garrett, banks agree to whitewater deal

(AP) Garrett County officials said they have struck a deal to pay off the debt of a manmade whitewater course near McHenry. The County Commissioners said that two banks have agreed to accept $600,000 as full payment for more than $3 million in loans on which the nonprofit Adventure Sports Center International had defaulted. The county will pay the debt from hotel-motel tax revenue as part of a county takeover of the tourist attraction and athletic training site. The nonprofit group opened the publicly funded course in 2007. The whitewater course is the planned site of the 2014 world canoe slalom championships.

Jones Lang LaSalle picked to manage Cross Keys Jones

Lang LaSalle Inc., a Chicago-based commercial real estate brokerage and management company, said its Retail Group has been selected by Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. to manage The Village of Cross Keys, a 260,000-square-foot, two-level, office and retail center in North Baltimore. Ashkenazy, a New York-based real estate investment firm, recently acquired Cross Keys from General Growth Properties Inc. GGP acquired the property when it purchased its original developer, the Columbia-based Rouse Co. JLL provides accounting and management services to several million square feet of retail space owned by Ashkenazy, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, Union Station in Washington and the Rivercenter Mall in San Antonio, Tex.

Ariz. city chosen as energy-tower site

Clean Wind Energy Tower Inc., of Annapolis, a green energy company, said it hopes to build two energy-generating downdraft towers and a component-parts assembly plant in San Luis, Ariz. 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.

MoCo may face property tax hike

(AP) A task force appointed by Democratic County Executive Isiah Leggett is expected to argue that Montgomery County must raise property taxes to help pay for expanded bus transit. For the past year, task force members have been researching how to implement a network of express bus lanes along corridors. The task force is expected to release a report on its findings next month. Members and county officials told The Washington Post that rapid bus transit is the cheapest way to move commuters along the traffic-choked county. The task force concluded that a property tax increase was a better option than income or sales tax hikes.

Four hotels sold by Bethesda REITs

Two Bethesda-based lodging real estate investment trusts announced they sold four hotels to a single investor, Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., of Oak Brook, Ill. Three of the hotels — the 409-room Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa in Lexington, Ky.; the 521-room Renaissance Waverly in Atlanta; and the 492-room Renaissance Austin in Austin, Texas — were sold by DiamondRock Hospitality Co. for a total of $262.5 million. Separately, Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. sold the 685-room San Francisco Airport Marriott hotel to an Inland American affiliate for $108 million. All of the hotels are under long-term management agreements with Marriott International Inc., also of Bethesda.

WTMD moving in fall to downtown Towson

WTMD 89.7 FM, Towson University’s 10,000-watt public broadcasting station that is a center for local musicians and contemporary bands, will move in early fall from cramped quarters on the university’s campus to a modern, 8,000-square-foot broadcast and community center at the new Towson City Center, a redeveloped office building in the heart of downtown Towson. In addition to studios and offices for the station’s employees, the facilities will contain a live-music performance space, and a community meeting room, and classrooms for the university’s electronic media and film department. Private social and corporate groups also will have use of the space for their functions.

Dental clinic may open in Cumberland

(AP) The Western Maryland Area Health Education Center wants to open a low-cost oral health clinic in Cumberland that would be based in the former Memorial Hospital building. The Cumberland Times-News reported the government agency is working with dentists in Western Maryland, as well as areas in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, to establish the clinic and satellite offices. Planners say oral health is the region’s most pressing health care need. The city-owned hospital was vacated in 2010 when the Western Maryland Health System opened a new medical center. City officials recently said they would consider demolishing it unless more tenants are found.

Council panel OKs property tax cut plan

(AP) A Baltimore City Council committee approved Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s proposed property tax cut that would mostly be paid for with slots revenue. The plan approved Wednesday calls for a newly created homeowners’ tax credit program that Rawlings-Blake has said would be paid for with money generated by slots, and by gradually reducing spending over the next several years to prevent large cuts to city services and public school funding. Under the plan, the owner of a home valued at $200,000 would see an annual tax reduction of $40 in 2013, growing to $400 in 2020, according to the mayor’s office.

Marriott’s development plans outlined

Marriott International Inc., of Bethesda, a worldwide operator and franchisor of hotels and lodging facilities, outlined some of its development plans at a conference it hosted in Los Angeles for more than 1,300 hotel owners and managers. Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, said the company expects to open roughly 30,000 rooms in 2012 among its various brands. There are about 110,000 rooms in the development pipeline. “We are bullish about … long-term growth prospects …,” Sorenson said. The company’s brands include Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott Hotels, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, Edition, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance and Autograph Collection.

National Main Streets Conference being held in Baltimore

The 2012 National Main Streets Conference starts Sunday in Baltimore, attracting more than 1,000 city planners, community revitalization professionals and elected officials to explore the theme “Rediscovering Main Street.” Organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the gathering features the release of the annual “State of Main Street” report, a summary of trends that reveal how Main Streets nationwide are surviving and thriving in this uncertain economy. The conference, co-hosted by Baltimore Main Streets in partnership with Main Street Maryland, will end on Wednesday. The schedule of meetings is available here . To register, or for more information, please call 202-588-6219. The public may purchase tickets for field tours upon registering for the conference on site, beginning Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Baltimore Hilton.

Construction starts at Johns Hopkins Bayview on new annex for the emergency department

Construction is scheduled to start this weekend on a new, three-story emergency department annex on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. The $40 million project involves relocating and adding beds to the emergency department, establishing a patient observation unit, creating a dedicated pediatric emergency and inpatient unit, and renovating space for a new psychiatric evaluation services unit. When the project is complete in 2014, the emergency department will have expanded from 40 to 48 beds, doubled its ambulance bays from four to eight, and have its home in a 53,970-square-foot building. The existing 13,680-square-foot emergency department space will be renovated into six psychiatric evaluation areas, as well as improved trauma and critical care spaces. The 558-bed Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center is a full-service, academic medical center in East Baltimore. Among the wide range of services offered are an area-wide trauma center and the state’s only regional adult burn center.

Western Md. business buys HQ building

(AP) A Garrett County company hatched in a local business incubator is spreading its wings. GCC Technologies LLC, based in McHenry is buying a 30,000-square-foot building near Oakland for its new headquarters, county officials said. The move to the new location is expected to take place in the fall. The 5-year-old federal contractor bought the building from the county for about $1.2 million. That’s the same amount the county paid in December to buy the building from the Maryland Economic Development Corp. GCC has about 200 workers and offices in Washington; San Diego and Arlington, Va., the Cumberland Times-News reported.

LEASES

General Physics leased 5,460 square feet of office space at 500 Edgewood Road in Edgewood. Beetle Smith of RKS Realty represented both the landlord and the tenant. Smith also represented both parties in the lease by Caring Nurses of 1,152 square feet of office space at 260 Gateway Drive in Bel Air. In another deal, McDonalds leased retail space at U.S. Route 1 and Md. Route 152 in Fallston. McDonalds was represented by Sax Realty; William Vanden Eynden of RKS Realty represented the landlord.

The following recently signed leases were reported by Merritt Properties LLC:

Vintage Affairs LLC, a party equipment rental company, leased 3,150 square feet of warehouse space at 7585 Washington Blvd., Suite 106, in Elkridge. Kate Jordan of KLNB represented Vintage Affairs, and Merritt’s in-house team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw represented the landlord. The same Merritt team also handled negotiations leading to the leasing by Vision RT Inc. of 3,020 square feet of office space at 8840 Stanford Blvd, Suite 3200 in the Columbia Corporate Park. The space will be used as a training facility for Vision RT’s imaging technology for radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer.

In a separate deal, Magothy Partners LLC, an investment banking firm, leased 1,648 square feet of office space at 729 E. Pratt St., Suites 850-860 in Baltimore City. Whitney Nye of Cushman & Wakefield represented Magothy Partners. Merritt Properties in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs represented the landlord.

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