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Real Estate Weekly: 6/15/12

St. John honored by University of Maryland

Photo caption: Edward St. John, left, is presented with his Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree by University of Maryland President Wallace Loh.

Real estate developer Edward St. John may now be legitimately addressed as “Dr. St. John,” having received an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from the University of Maryland. The honor was awarded to St. John on May 20 during the school’s commencement ceremony. St. John earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the university in 1961. University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said St. John was being honored “because of his contributions to the State of Maryland and his impact on the lives of so many people.” St. John, a Baltimore native, has contributed and pledged more than $43 million to support local nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Approximately 7.5 percent of the annual net income of his company, St. John Properties Inc., is donated to charitable causes through the Edward St. John Foundation. He has also served on the boards of many educational institutions, including the Maryland Academy of Sciences/Maryland Science Center, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Alex Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, The Johns Hopkins University Real Estate Institute and others.

View at Mill Run apartments now 70 percent leased

Photo caption: Helping to celebrate the grand opening of the View at Mill Run apartment development are, from left, Sidney Emmer, Sidney Emmer LLC; Yvette B. Jackson, HUD supervisory project manager – development chief; and Robert G. Iber, HUD director of project management.

The View at Mill Run, a 375-unit, luxury rental apartment community near the Owings Mills Town Center, which began leasing in September, is 70 percent leased. The apartment community received $55 million in mortgage insurance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The View at Mill Run was developed by Sidney Emmer Builders Inc., and is managed by The Dolben Co. Inc., a junior partner. The 10-building development is designed in a configuration that surrounds a seven-level parking structure, allowing residents to park in covered parking on the same level of the building in which they live. The community features a mixture of one- and two-bedroom apartment homes in 10 different floor plan configurations, including units with lofts and dens, ranging from 762 square feet to 1,525 square feet and renting from $1,250 to $1,800 a month.

Lakeview I & II sold for $30.2M

Cassidy Turley announced the sale of Lakeview I & II, a four-building, 215,662-square-foot office portfolio in Columbia. Jonathan Carpenter and James Wellschlager of Cassidy Turley’s Capital Markets Group represented the seller, The Goldstar Group, a Bethesda-based commercial real estate investment firm. Archon, an affiliate of The Goldman Sachs Group, purchased the 79 percent-leased portfolio for $30.2 million. “This sale continues the strong trend of institutional investment in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor since January 2011,” commented Carpenter, senior vice president and principal at Cassidy Turley. “Over the past 18 months, Cassidy Turley has arranged more than $300 million of investment sales in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor alone.”

KBE pledges $25K to Hood College

to aid creation of head tennis coach post KBE Building Corp., a commercial construction company based in Columbia and Farmington, Conn., has pledged $25,000 over five years to establish an endowment fund to partially support a head tennis coach position at Hood College in Frederick. The firm, which has a long history of work with the college, recently completed the second phase of Hood’s $20 million campus-wide upgrade to its facilities. This summer, KBE will begin the construction of six tennis courts and renovations to the college’s Huntsinger Aquatic Center. That project is scheduled for completion in late August.

State to pay $7.8 million to complete design of Centreville interchange

Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the state will put up $7.8 million to complete the design of the US 301/MD 304 interchange in Centreville, Queen Anne’s County. The present intersection is in place at what is one of the most heavily traveled stretches along the US 301 corridor. With the construction of a grade-separated interchange, motorists will have a safer way to move across US 301 and along MD 304. The additional money provides full funding for the design phase of the project. The total projected cost of acquiring the necessary right-of-way and constructing the project, still to be funded, is more than $55 million. The US 301/MD 304 interchange has been identified as their top transportation priority by Queen Anne’s County elected officials.

BWI Airport starts terminal improvements

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has started a $100 million construction program to upgrade its existing passenger terminal. Improvements include a new, expanded security checkpoint; a secure connector between Concourses B and C with moving sidewalks and other passenger amenities; an improved Concourse C facility with improved airline gate hold rooms; and 8,500 square feet of new food and retail space. Construction is expected to take about a year. The new, nine-lane passenger security checkpoint will have the latest screening equipment, and will serve Concourses A, B and C. The existing checkpoint at Concourse C will be decommissioned upon completion of the new facility.

Hammond Wilson Architects picks Vitamin for PR work

Hammond Wilson Architects, an Annapolis-based architecture firm, selected Baltimore-based Vitamin, a boutique design-web-public relations firm, as agency of record for its rebranding initiative. Vitamin is handling the development of the firm’s new logo, brand messaging, identity collateral and website. Founded in 1976, Hammond Wilson Architects has designed homes and unique commercial buildings on and around the Chesapeake Bay. Vitamin’s past and present clients in the design field include GWWO Architects, Wiencek & Associates, Nika Architects and Engineers and Marshall Craft Associates.

Manekin forms alliance with Chicago firm

Manekin LLC, of Columbia, one of the largest full-service commercial real estate companies in the Baltimore/Washington marketplace, and Brennan Investment Group, a Chicago-based private real estate investment firm, have formed a strategic alliance to acquire, develop and manage a portfolio of industrial assets throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Manekin will use its local market expertise and proprietary relationships to locate and evaluate beneficial transactions. Brennan will provide acquisition support and analysis, as well as capital, to the venture.

Ikea plans large solar installation

Home furnishings retailer Ikea said it plans to install solar energy panels on two large distribution centers in the Northeast, one of them in Maryland. Installation will take place this summer on the Ikea distribution centers in Perryville and Westampton, N.J. Both projects will rank among the largest commercial rooftop solar installations in the U.S. The Perryville center comprises 1.7 million square feet on 278 acres; the installation will consist of 18,535 solar panels generating electricity equivalent to powering 282 average-size homes, Ikea said. Inovateus Solar LLC, of South Bend, Ind., will install both systems, which Ikea will own and operate.

RLJ Lodging buys San Franciso-area hotel

RLJ Lodging Trust, a self-advised, publicly traded real estate investment trust focused on acquiring premium-branded and compact full-service hotels, said it has entered the San Francisco Bay Area market with its acquisition of the 278-room Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco Oakland/Bay Bridge in Emeryville. RLJ paid $36.2 million, or approximately $130,000 per room. The purchase price represents a forward capitalization rate of approximately 9.4 percent on the hotel’s projected 2013 net operating income. The acquisition was funded through cash available on the company’s balance sheet. With this purchase, RLJ now owns 144 hotels with more than 21,300 rooms in 20 states and Washington, D.C.

Improvements aimed at easing Army base’s traffic congestion

(AP) Maryland is spending nearly $9 million to help ease traffic congestion tied to the growth of Aberdeen Proving Ground, according to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. Maryland’s second-highest elected official said that $7.6 million will pay for land acquisition at the intersection of Route 22 and Paradise Road. He said the state will spend $1 million to relocate utilities at Route 22 and Old Post Road. He said it will take another $20 million to $25 million to complete the intersection upgrades. Brown chairs the Governor’s Committee on Base Realignment and Closure. Military base closure and consolidation moves brought 8,000 jobs to Aberdeen from 2005 to 2011.

PERSONNEL

Rick Abbott

Baltimore-based architecture and design firm Hord Coplan Macht announced that Richard Abbott has joined HCM as a principal in its health care studio. Prior to joining HCM, Abbott was a vice president and health care principal with HDR Architecture in Alexandria, Va. With more than three decades of experience in national and international health care planning, design and operations, Abbott will play a key role in expanding HCM’s presence regionally and nationally. Among the projects in his portfolio are the Yale School of Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital at both the Cornell and Columbia university campuses; King Hussein Medical City in Jordan; Franklin Square Hospital, Sinai Hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center and Greater Baltimore Medical Center, all medical facilities in and around Baltimore. Abbott holds a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and a master’s degree in architecture from Pennsylvania State University.

Tony Bridges, chief of staff in the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, has been named to the board of directors of Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc. (CHAI) of Baltimore. Bridges is the first African American and first non-Jewish person to serve on the board of the nonprofit organization, which was created in 1983 to develop and support thriving, stable communities in neighborhoods with a substantial Jewish population. CHAI primarily serves the Northwest Baltimore communities of Glen, Fallstaff, Cross Country, Cheswolde and Mount Washington, and is looking to expand its presence in Pikesville and Owings Mills. The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives coordinates outreach to ethnic, cultural and faith-based communities as well as to local government organizations across Maryland. Bridges earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Frostburg State University, and a certificate in strategic public relations and integrated communications from Towson University.

First Potomac Realty Trust, of Bethesda, announced that Barry H. Bass, its executive vice president and chief financial officer, has notified company officials that he plans to resign on or before Sept, 10. Bass will continue to serve as CFO through the effective date of his resignation, and will assist in the transition of those responsibilities to his successor. Bass has been with First Potomac since 2002, and was instrumental in the company’s growth from its initial public offering in 2003 to its current position as a leading owner of office and industrial properties in the Greater Washington region. The company has initiated a national search for a permanent chief financial officer.

The Bozzuto Group, a Greenbelt-based real estate services organization, named Chris Block as director of construction for Bozzuto Homes, one of its six companies. In the post, Block will be directly responsible for all home building construction activities for Bozzuto Homes, including Uptown at Murray Hill in Annapolis, Towson Green in Towson, and Uplands in Baltimore City, said Tom Baum, president of Bozzuto Homes. Block previously held several executive positions at Caruso Homes Inc., most recently as executive vice president, where he managed daily operations for the regional home builder. He also served as director of operations for Golden Builders Inc., an Annapolis-based custom homebuilder.

LEASES

Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC reported the following recently signed lease transactions:

* RMS Omega Technologies Group Inc., an integrated barcoding solutions firm, leased 6,160 square feet of office space at 9635 Philadelphia Road in Rosedale. Middleton Smith, Richard F. Blue Jr. and Paul F. Obrecht III, all of Blue & Obrecht Realty, represented RMS. Beetle Smith and David Linton of RKS Realty represented the property owner.

* Living Sans Frontiers Inc., a provider of nursing and personal-at-home care services, leased 6,344 square feet of office space at 7124 Ambassador Road in Windsor Mill. Blue & Obrecht Realty’s Paul F. Obrecht III represented the tenant, and Richard F. Blue Jr., also of Blue & Obrecht Realty, represented the landlord, First Industrial Realty.

* Elias Wilf, a flooring company, leased 27,726 square feet of industrial space at 7243 Ambassador Road in Windsor Mill. Mike Mull of KLNB represented the tenant; Richard F. Blue Jr. and Paul F. Obrecht III, both of Blue & Obrecht Realty, represented the landlord, First Industrial Realty.

* Professional Restorations, a restoration services specialist that helps commercial property managers, insurance companies and homeowners reduce their loss, maintenance and liability exposures, leased 38,700 square feet of industrial space at 6600 Frankford Ave. in the Moravia Business Park in Baltimore. Paul F. Obrecht III and Middleton Smith of Blue & Obrecht Realty represented the landlord, C.F. – P.F. Obrecht Properties Inc. Rob Freedman of Colliers International represented the tenant.

* Froehling & Robertson Inc., an independent consulting engineer/testing firm, leased 7,296 square feet of flex space at 10626 York Road in Cockeysville. Patrick M. Smith of Blue & Obrecht Realty represented the tenant; landlord St. John Properties Inc. was represented by its own agent, Matt Lenihan.

* Hill, Barnes & McInerney LLC, a law firm, leased 1,260 square feet of office space for a new law office at 1643 Liberty Road in Eldersburg. The landlord, Liberty LLC, was represented by Patrick M. Smith of Blue & Obrecht Realty.

The following sale transaction was reported by Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC:

JCS Properties LLC, a truck sales and service company, purchased a 21,516-square-foot industrial building at 3510 Marmenco Court in Halethorpe. Paul F. Obrecht III and Middleton Smith, both of Blue & Obrecht Realty represented JCS Properties. David Paulson of Blue & Obrecht Realty (formerly with Manekin) represented the seller, Art Lithio.