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Real Estate Weekly: 4/27/12

LaSalle FFO, revenue up on higher rates

LaSalle Hotel Properties, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns upscale and luxury full-service hotels, reported first-quarter funds from operations of $14 million, or 16 cents per share, on revenue of $172.3 million, versus FFO of $8.5 million, or 8.5 cents per share, on revenue of $138.4 million in the prior-year period. LaSalle attributed the rise in revenue to improving business conditions that have filled more hotel rooms, plus additional intake from rising room rates. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast earnings per share of 17 cents on revenue of $167.8 million for the quarter.

Fort Ritchie redevelopment awaits study

(AP) An Army attorney said the Army hasn’t funded an environmental assessment needed to proceed with redevelopment of the former Fort Ritchie in Western Maryland. Army environmental attorney David Howlett said the earliest the study could begin is this summer, but that depends on when the Army authorizes funds, the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reported. The property is owned by Columbia-based Corporate Office Properties Trust, which said it is awaiting an environmental review prompted by a citizen lawsuit over the project’s environmental impact. COPT has written off its $28 million investment in the property, according to Bill Hoffman, COPT’s environmental services manager.

BGE Home acquires Mount Airy companies

BGE Home, of White Marsh, a home services company owned by Constellation Energy, said it has acquired the residential and commercial plumbing and HVAC business assets of Van Sant Inc. and VSI Commercial Inc., both based in Mount Airy. Financial details were not disclosed. BGE Home — which is separate from Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., a regulated utility — provides heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical sales and service to commercial and residential customers throughout Maryland. BGE Home said the VSI companies’ deal will allow it to continue the extension of its residential service territory into Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties.

New building 100% leased before delivery

MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, of Lutherville, announced that 1111 Light Street, a new office building under construction in Federal Hill, has been completely leased prior to the projected July 16 delivery date. The four-story, 24,000-square-foot building will have five tenants: M&T Bank and 7-Eleven on the ground floor, and Betamore, an entrepreneur education and innovation center; BTS Software Solutions; and Red Owl Analytics, each occupying one of the upper floors. The LEED Silver-equivalent building, developed by Caves Valley Partners, is the first phase of a mixed-use project that will also feature a 93-unit apartment building and a parking garage. MacKenzie’s Meghan Gill Roy, Jonathan Di Virgilio and Scott Wingrat represented the landlord, Caves Valley Partners, in the deal. Ryan Scavo of Digital Harbor Real Estate Development represented the tenants.

Berlin earns ‘sustainable’ community nod

The Town of Berlin in Worcester County is the first municipality in Maryland to earn a “Certificate of Sustainability” under a new statewide environmental program managed by the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center. The free, voluntary program recognizes and assists communities working to protect their assets, as well as revitalize and improve their long-term quality of life. Berlin formed a citizen-government team that set goals related to resource management and economic development. Residents completed activities involving community-based food systems, energy, health and wellness, and natural resources, among others. Twenty-two communities in Maryland are working toward their own sustainability certification.

Study: New Hagerstown stadium feasible

A feasibility study by Pikesville-based Ripken Design of a proposed outdoor multipurpose sports and events center in downtown Hagerstown has concluded that such a facility would create 312 new jobs, and generate roughly $44.5 million in economic impact over the first decade. The $30 million stadium would be financed with state, city and private funding, the Herald-Mail newspaper in Hagerstown reported. Hagerstown is trying to prevent Winchester, Va., from becoming the home of the current Hagerstown Suns minor-league baseball team. City and Washington County officials are scheduled to meet on May 1 to further consider funding options, according to the newspaper.

Bozzuto commits to wind power matchup

The Bozzuto Group, a Greenbelt-based real estate services organization, said it has committed to matching 100 percent of the electricity used at its corporate headquarters with renewable energy from U.S. wind projects. The goal will be achieved through the purchase of Green-e Energy Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from 3Degrees, a San Francisco-based renewable energy certificate and carbon offset provider to wholesale and retail customers. The RECs ensure that for every megawatt-hour of electricity used at Bozzuto’s headquarters, a wind power project will deliver one megawatt-hour of renewable energy to the power grid.

Host Hotels reports improved FFO

(AP) Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., a Bethesda-based lodging real estate investment trust, said Wednesday that its first-quarter funds from operations improved as hotel room rates climbed and occupancy improved. Funds from operations rose to $102 million, or 14 cents per share, from $77 million, or 11 cents per share, in the corresponding period a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet, on average, expected FFO of 13 cents per share. FFO adds depreciation and amortization back into net income, and is considered a key measure of a REIT’s financial performance. Revenue increased 10 percent to $985 million from $893 million in the year-ago period.

COPT sees first-quarter profit

Corporate Office Properties Trust, of Columbia, an office real estate investment trust, posted first-quarter net income of $7 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $18.6 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, for the year-ago period. Funds from operations rose to $41.1 million, or 54 cents per diluted share, from $9.5 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, in the 2011 quarter. Revenue totaled $143.5 million in 2012’s first quarter versus $137.5 million in the prior-year period. COPT said it netted $61 million from the sale of nine properties — seven occupied, two vacant — and a land parcel during the 2012 quarter.

Groundbreaking set for design school

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for May 7 at 11 a.m. at 1500 Barclay St. in Baltimore, the permanent site of the Baltimore Design School. The BDS is a new, public middle/high school that opened in temporary quarters in 2011, with a focus on three specific areas of design: architecture, fashion and graphic arts. The school’s new location is the former Lebow Clothing Factory, which will undergo a $25 million renovation, with occupancy by the design school scheduled for fall 2013. The four-story, 120,000-square-foot building will include art galleries, studios, fabrication facilities, computer labs and classrooms. The former loading dock will be transformed into an outdoor fashion show space, and clothing and sewing machines retrieved from the building’s factory days will be featured in a permanent exhibition. BDS, Baltimore City Public Schools and Seawall Development Corp. partnered on the renovation project. Ziger/Snead Architects is the architect, and Southway Builders Inc. is the general contractor.

iCore Networks relocates to bigger office

iCore Networks, a D.C.-based provider of hosted unified communications and cloud applications services, has scheduled a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Wednesday at its new Columbia office location. The growing company moved from 5950 Symphony Woods Road in Columbia to 8850 Stanford Blvd. to accommodate future expansion. According to a company representative, the new office has more room (3,513 square feet versus the old location’s 2,738 square feet), allowing iCore to continue to recruit and hire more employees. The company currently has 13 employees, but intends to be up to about 50 by year end, many of those in the sales area.

First Potomac to pay dividends in May

First Potomac Realty Trust, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns and manages office and industrial properties in the Greater Washington region, said it will pay a first-quarter dividend of 20 cents per common share. The dividend, which equates to an annualized rate of 80 cents per share, is payable on May 11 to common shareholders of record on May 4. The Board of Trustees has also declared a dividend of $0.484375 per share on the company’s Series A Preferred Shares, payable on May 15 to Series A preferred shareholders of record on May 4.

LEASES

St. John Properties Inc. announced four leases in two separate locations totaling more than 35,500 square feet. At the Riverside Technology Park, a 490,000-square-foot business community in Frederick, Robert C. Bost Associates, a manufacturer and distributor of noise control equipment, leased 6,000 square feet, and Re/Max, a full-service residential real estate brokerage firm that is part of a global real estate network, leased 4,197 square feet. Emery Csulak and Ed Stanfield of Long & Foster Realty represented Bost Associates, and Cassandra Bailey of Re/Max represented her company, in the separate transactions. Danny Severn of St. John Properties represented the landlord.

Also, it was announced by St. John Properties that two international companies leased space at Maple Lawn, a 600-acre mixed-use business development in Howard County. ELTA North America, an Israel technology company, leased 7,500 square feet of space at 11840 W. Market Place, with plans to expand into an additional 18,000 square feet. Also, Regus, a Brussels, Belgium-based company that provides furnished and equipped offices and services to business clients, leased 16,018 square feet at 8160 Maple Lawn Blvd.

Cassidy Turley reported three companies signed leases totaling more than 35,000 square feet of industrial space at RREEF’s Patuxent/Bristol project in the Baltimore Washington Industrial Park. Sylvania Lighting Services agreed to lease about 8,500 square feet.  Eastern Connection, one of the largest regional transportation and logistics providers on the East Coast, renewed its lease for 15,225 square feet for an additional five years. Also, DH Vision, a provider of security surveillance equipment and service, leased 10,150 square feet of space. Tom Whelan of Ryan Commercial represented Sylvania Lighting Services; Michael Walsh of Cassidy Turley represented Eastern Connection; and Daniel Sheehan of Hobbs Associates represented DH Vision in the individual lease negotiations. RREEF was represented by Tilghman Herring, Jarred Testa and Michael Walsh of Cassidy Turley’s Core Industrial Leasing Team.

Merritt Properties LLC reported three lease agreements.

At the Lansdowne Industrial Park, Maryland Tractor Trailer Service Inc., a truck repair company, signed a lease for 12,500 square feet of space at 188-194 Alco Place, and Transaxle Inc., a transmission repair and distribution company, leased 14,811 square feet at 178-186 Alco Place. Jonathan Miller of Colliers International represented Maryland Tractor Trailer Service, and Kevin Sachs of Metropolitan Asset Management Inc. represented Transaxle in the separate lease negotiations. Also, Mountain At Night Inc., doing business as Fast Signs, a commercial sign company, agreed to lease 2,627 square feet of space at 703 E. Ordinance Road, Suite 619, in the Curtis Business Center. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw represented the landlord in all three lease negotiations.

PERSONNEL

Peter Teeling

Peter Teeling has joined Manekin LLC as senior vice president, director of property management. Teeling, a 25-year industry veteran, will oversee the company’s property management division, which manages over 9 million square feet of space. Prior to joining Manekin, Teeling was vice president, director of property management of FRP Development Inc. His prior positions include executive vice president of Nottingham Management Co. and vice president at Prentiss Properties. He is a graduate of College of the Holy Cross.

Ruth Gambino

Ruth Gambino, an assistant property manager with Manekin LLC, has received the Real Property Administrator designation from BOMI International. Comprising seven courses, the RPA designation program serves the educational needs of third-party property managers and corporate property managers. Before being awarded the designation, candidates must demonstrate three years of verifiable property management experience. Gambino, who has eight years of industry experience, helps oversee the management of 36 South Charles St., a 25-story, Class A office building in downtown Baltimore.

AWARDS

NAIOP Maryland honored 16 companies and seven individuals during its Awards of Excellence program at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore last week. The awards were presented to winners in 34 categories for excellence in the design, development, marketing and leasing of commercial office buildings and retail projects in the Greater Baltimore region. St. John Properties, Inc. took home the most awards of the night with six, followed by Corporate Office Properties Trust, with five. NAIOP Maryland is comprised of more than 350 professionals working for real estate development companies, brokerage firms and affiliated organizations. For the complete list of 2012 award winners, click here.

Mahan Rykiel Associates, a Baltimore-based landscape architectural, urban design and planning firm, received two Honor Awards from the Maryland and Potomac Chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects for its work at the Mary Catherine Bunting Tower Green Roofs at Mercy Medical Center and the T. Rowe Price Corporate Campus. The Mercy green roofs were recently featured at Greenroofs.com as the “Green Roof of the Week” and profiled in Health Spaces #5, a book showcasing innovative health care architecture and design. At T. Rowe Price, MRA-designed features included stone entry wall, outdoor dining areas, a reflecting pool, stone retaining walls and a naturalized stream bed and meadow.

 

 

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