Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Real Estate Weekly – 5/25/12: More funds OK’d for school construction

Home Builders Association presents Awards of Excellence

The Sales and Marketing Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland presented dozens of Awards of Excellence at its annual ceremony this week, honoring companies and individuals in the industry for their outstanding work in 2011. Among the awards to individuals were: Overall Salesperson of the Year, Chad Sanschagrin, Richmond American Homes; Exceptional Sales Assistant/Associate, Frank Petrucci, Ryan Homes; Most Dedicated Salesperson, Becky Kishbaugh, Ryan Homes; Outstanding Sales and Construction Team, Chad Sanschagrin and Jeff Leimbach, Richmond American Homes; Rookie of the Year, Chris Hawks, Ryan Homes; Sales Manager of the Year, Emma Young, Ryan Homes; Most Exceptional Sales Effort, Jeremy Martin, Ryland Homes.

Cresa opens Baltimore office

Cresa, an international corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents tenants, opened a new office in Baltimore, its second in Maryland. The office will be headed by Senior Vice President Daniel Shapiro, assisted by Vice President Scott Wingrat and Senior Advisor Tony Lavin. Cresa said the Baltimore office is an expansion of its presence in the D.C. area, which has been representing tenants in the Baltimore area for many years. (Cresa’s Washington office is actually located in Bethesda.) Cresa has 57 locations in North America.

Eileen Fisher boutique for women to open new store in Hunt Valley

Greenberg Gibbons, of Owings Mills, a regional developer of mixed-use, town center and retail properties, announced that Eileen Fisher will occupy a new pad site at Hunt Valley Towne Centre. Construction is underway. Eileen Fisher is an eco-conscious, national boutique that sells women’s apparel. The brand is known for offering clothing and accessories made with clean lines, simple shapes and quality, sustainable fabrics. The 6,273-square-foot store will open in September, and will be the brand’s first location in the Baltimore area.

Montrose Crossing in Rockville renovated by KBE Building Corp.

KBE Building Corp., a full-service, single-source commercial construction company whose regional office is in Columbia, said it teamed with architects from Perkowitz+Ruth, a California-based architectural firm with a regional office in Reston, Va., to renovate the 130,000-square-foot Montrose Crossing retail center at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Randolph Road in Rockville. The renovation of the former Levitz building included a 60,441-square-foot Bob’s Discount Furniture store and 24,890 square feet of additional retail space for A.C. Moore. KBE provided core-and-shell construction for both stores, and tenant fit-out services for A.C. Moore. Both stores are open. The work included removal of portions of the existing building to allow space for street and sidewalk expansions, which created a safer environment for pedestrians and bike riders. The project has been awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

WRIT extends maturity on credit facility

Rockville-based Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, which invests in 71 properties in the Washington metropolitan area, has amended one of its two unsecured credit facilities to extend the maturity from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2016, with a one-year extension option. The amendment lowers the interest rate to LIBOR plus 107.5 basis points (previously 122.5 basis points). William T. Camp, WRIT’s executive vice president and CFO, said: “Our strong, conservative balance sheet enables us to negotiate more favorable terms with our lenders when appropriate. In this case, we improved the legal flexibility, extended the term and lowered the interest rate spread and fees of our credit facility to better align with recent market deal metrics.”

Pebblebrook executes new secured loan

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, of Bethesda, a lodging real estate investment trust, said it executed a new, $50 million non-recourse secured loan with PNC Bank at a fixed annual interest rate of 3.90 percent. The loan has a term of five years and is secured by a first mortgage on the company’s 306-room Hotel Sofitel Philadelphia. Proceeds from the loan will be used to pay down the outstanding balance on the company’s credit facility, to fund future acquisitions and for general business purposes. Pebblebrook owns 21 hotel properties with a total of 5,653 rooms.

MacKenzie to manage renovated building

Caves Valley Partners, owner of the redeveloped Towson City Center office building in downtown Towson, has picked MacKenzie Management Co., of Lutherville, to take over management of the adaptive reuse mixed-use project when it formally opens next month. MacKenzie assisted with the project before renovations began, offering advice on development issues. As the property transitions to occupancy, MacKenzie will oversee both the day-to-day physical management of the property, and financial management of the investment. The renovated 12-story office building has signed more than half a dozen tenants, including MileOne Automotive, Towson University, BusinesSuites, WMS Partners and Caves Valley Partners itself, to fill all but two floors.

RLJ Lodging finalizes refinancing

RLJ Lodging Trust, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust focused on acquiring premium-branded and compact full-service hotels, said it completed an $85 million refinancing with PNC Bank. The base term is four years with a one-year extension option. The loan is interest only during the base term and bears a floating rate of LIBOR plus 235 basis points. The new financing terms will have a minimal impact on interest expense, the company said. There are no further maturing debt obligations in 2012. The REIT’s next maturing debt obligation, assuming all extensions are exercised, will be in 2015.

More funds OK’d for school construction

After hearing from representatives of 19 jurisdictions around Maryland, the Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved $161 million in unallocated funding for school construction, bringing the total amount allocated to about $349 million for the 2013 fiscal year. The board approved approximately $187 million in initial funding for school construction in January.

Mikulski seeks money to keep plant open

(AP) U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski wants $43 million in federal funds to keep a spy plane plant’s production line open in Hagerstown. The Maryland Democrat said Tuesday that the appropriation would prevent a shutdown of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s production line. The Sparks, Nev.-based company employs about 400 workers in Hagerstown, the Washington County Economic Development Commission said. The company won a Homeland Security Department contract in 2009 to produce five surveillance aircraft for customs and border patrol work. The contract was funded at $21 million for the current fiscal year after two years with no federal funding.


Rose Krasnow, chief of the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Area 1 team, and a former three-term mayor of Rockville, has been appointed as interim director of the planning department by the county Planning Board. She replaced former Director Rollin Stanley, who took over as head of the Planning, Development and Assessment Department for Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Krasnow has worked at the Planning Department since 2004. For the last year and a half, she directed the department’s Area 1 team, which crafts master plans and reviews development applications for the inner-ring communities around the Beltway. Before that, she was chief of the former Development Review Division for six years. The Planning Board has begun a nationwide search for a replacement for Stanley, and intends to hire a permanent director in six to nine months, said board Chair Françoise Carrier.

Matthew Melnick

Cushman & Wakefield has hired Matthew Melnick as a senior associate in the firm’s Baltimore brokerage services practice group. Melnick will be responsible for landlord and tenant representation in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and I-95 corridor office markets. Prior to joining C&W, Melnick worked at Trout Daniel & Associates. A licensed real estate agent in Maryland, he has a diverse background working in Baltimore office, flex and retail markets as well as in the commercial real estate auction business with Melnick Auctioneers and E.T. Newell & Co. Melnick is a graduate of Boys Latin School and Hampden-Sydney College.


Cassidy Turley announced the state of Maryland leased 4,702 square feet of office space at 222 Schilling Circle in Hunt Valley, for occupancy by the Subsequent Injury Fund. The agency encourages the hiring of workers with pre-existing disabilities by assuming financial responsibility for the combined effects of a pre-existing disability and an accidental workplace injury. Douglas Brinkley, Lizzy Sweeney and Andrew McIlvaine of Cassidy Turley’s Suburban North Office Group in Baltimore represented the landlord, 222-224 Schilling Circle LLC in the transaction. The state was represented by Birch Advisors.

Uni-Select USA Inc., an auto parts distributor, leased 6,600 square feet of warehouse space at Merritt Properties’ Windsor Corporate Park, 2067 N. Rolling Road, in Baltimore County. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs handled the transaction for the landlord.

Cushman & Wakefield announced that Everything Warehouse, a supplier of industrial material handling equipment, racking and retail store fixtures, signed a lease to relocate into 54,600 square feet of office-warehouse space at 1615 Wicomico St. in Baltimore. 1601 Wicomico Street is a newly redeveloped, 325,000-square-foot industrial property, with 241,000 square feet available and ready for occupancy. McLane Fisher and Ned Brady of Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland Inc. represented Everything Warehouse in the transaction.