Real Estate Weekly: 6/22/12

Building in Halethorpe fetches $750,000

D&H Builders, a company that builds cellular telephone towers in Central Maryland, has purchased 2606 Willow Ave., a two-story, 6,100-square-foot office and warehouse building in Halethorpe, for $750,000. D&H intends to move its headquarters from Laurel to the new location, according to an announcement of the transaction. NAI KLNB principal James V. Caronna represented both parties, owners Andrew and Nancy Bassler, and buyer D&H Builders, in the transaction.

Two Maryland companies acquire Harrisburg Mall

A joint venture partnership consisting of Baltimore-based St. John Properties Inc. and Annapolis-based Petrie Ross Ventures has purchased the 1 million-square-foot Harrisburg Mall, located in Pennsylvania’s capital. The mall, which is 70 percent leased and has approximately 70 retail tenants anchored by Macy’s, Bass Pro Shops and Great Escape Theatre, was acquired from TD Bank. This represents the inaugural venture in Pennsylvania for both companies, which are well-established real estate development and management companies in Maryland. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Four more stores join retailers at Waugh Chapel Towne Centre

Greenberg Gibbons, of Owings Mills, a retail and mixed-use development firm, announced that four new tenants will join the retail mix available at its $275 million Waugh Chapel Towne Centre project, currently under construction in Gambrills, a community in West Anne Arundel County. The new stores are Coal Fire, offering artisan-style pizza, fresh salads and sandwiches along with a full-service bar; Snip-Its, a child-themed venue offering haircuts, parties and kid-friendly products; a Subway sandwich shop; and a PNC Bank branch. Already open are a Target department store, Dick’s Sporting Goods and seven other businesses. A Wegmans supermarket will open in the fall.

Diedtrich named general manager of Annapolis Towne Centre

Greenberg Gibbons, named Carol Diedtrich the general manager of Annapolis Towne Centre. Her responsibilities include managing the day-to-day operations and tenant relations for the 2 million-square-foot, mixed-use development. Diedtrich has more than 16 years’ experience in managing retail projects and mixed-used developments for companies that include the former Rouse Co., Retail Resource and Millennium Partners. Prior to joining Greenberg Gibbons, she served as a director for business development with General Growth Properties in Paramus, N.J.

Pebblebrook prices share offering

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns luxury hotels in large U.S. gateway cities, said it will sell 4.5 million common shares at a price of $22.10 per share. The offer is expected to close on Friday. Underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 675,000 shares. Pebblebrook expects net proceeds of approximately $95.3 million from the offering, which it will use to acquire and invest in additional hotel properties, and for debt reduction.

New tenants lease space at UM BioPark

The University of Maryland BioPark announced that two internationally focused life science companies ­– Biogen Diagnostics Ltd. and Global Scientific Solutions for Health Inc. — have opened offices at its West Baltimore campus. London-based Biogen Diagnostics is providing the first molecular diagnostics products tailored to the needs of specific patient groups. GSSHealth, a woman-owned small business, supports the establishment of quality-assured laboratory testing for cross-continental public health programs and clinical research studies. Including the new additions, the BioPark has 26 tenants leasing space at its two buildings in the 800 block of West Baltimore Street.

Marriott outlines hotel plans in China

Marriott International Inc., of Bethesda, the largest publicly traded U.S. hotel chain, said it is on track to have 4,000 hotels in 90 countries across its 14-brand lodging portfolio by 2014. With 115,000 hotel rooms in its development pipeline, it could open between 90,000 and 105,000 new rooms around the world in 2012 through 2014, not including hotels owned by Gaylord Entertainment Co., which Marriott has agreed to acquire. In presentations at its first meeting in China for security analysts and institutional investors, Marriott also said it expects to have more than 100 hotels across nine brands and nearly 40 markets in China by 2014.

Howard gives edge to first responders

The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services has provided its emergency response vehicles with a new technology to give first responders critical information about buildings to which they have been dispatched. The county said it is the first in the nation to equip all of its fire and rescue vehicles with the CommandScope All Hazard Pre-Incident Plan software, which gives first responders with mobile data terminals access to maps, photographs, utility shutoff locations, floor plans, fire protection systems and other necessary information. Gathered information will also be made available to other jurisdictions’ emergency response teams equipped with similar devices, officials said.

Ayers Saint Gross reaches century mark

Ayers Saint Gross, a Baltimore-based architectural, planning, design and landscape architecture firm, is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a series of events, including an educational lecture in the fall and an event at the new University of Baltimore School of Law building — on which Ayers Saint Gross was the prime firm — in early 2013. Founded in 1912 as Sill, Buckler & Fenhagen, the firm now employs 140 people at its three offices — with 100 at its headquarters at the Tide Point/Under Armour campus — and focuses exclusively on work for higher education and nonprofit institutions.

Montgomery Housing Partnership honored for Takoma Park project

The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers has given the Montgomery Housing Partnership Inc. an award for “Best Small Affordable Housing Project” for MHP’s 7610 Maple redevelopment. 7610 Maple is a 36-unit apartment building in Takoma Park that was rescued and restored by MHP, after its former owner abandoned plans to sell the eight-story building to luxury condo developers. MHP acquired the vacant, deteriorated and condemned brick building in December 2008, began construction in the summer of 2010 and completed the restoration in September 2011. New, green features were installed, and a 2,000-square-foot community center, complete with a computer lab, was added. Total development cost was approximately $12.2 million. Residents pay between $450 and $1,575 monthly for the mix of efficiency, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Zavos Architecture + Design was the project architect and Bozzuto Contracting Co. was the general contractor.

Sewage treatment plant upgrades OK’d

(AP) Maryland’s Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved more than $37 million in grants for upgrading septic systems and wastewater treatment plants. The board’s action included $14.9 million in grants from the Bay Restoration Fund for counties to upgrade septic systems statewide. Also approved was a $13 million grant for Baltimore’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The upgrades are designed to reduce discharges of nitrogen that can fuel algae blooms when treated wastewater is discharged into rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The board also approved grants for Baltimore’s Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant and similar facilities in Emmitsburg and New Windsor.

2 new office buildings started at GATE project

St. John Properties Inc., a Baltimore-based real estate development company, has started construction of two single-story office buildings at the 416-acre Government and Technology Enterprise (GATE) business community at Aberdeen Proving Ground. When completed next year, the buildings at 6160 and 6170 Guardian Gateway will add 47,000 square feet of office space to the more than 640,000 square feet of space contained within 12 office and research and development buildings built by St. John Properties over the past three years. Currently under construction is 6190 Guardian Gateway, a three-story, 75,000-square-foot office building scheduled for completion in November. St. John Properties is developing the business park for lease to government and non-government users, and has the capacity to build up to 2 million square feet of Class A office space, both single-story and multi-stories, as well as R&D flex/office and retail space at the GATE.

COPT sells preferred shares to repay debt

Corporate Office Properties Trust, of Columbia, a real estate investment trust primarily focused on U.S. government and defense information technology tenants, said it priced a public offering of 6 million preferred shares at $25 per share. Underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional 900,000 shares over a 30-day period to cover over-allotments. Closing is expected on June 27. COPT said it expects net proceeds of approximately $144 million, or $166 million if the underwriters exercise their over-allotment option in full. COPT said it will use net proceeds to repay outstanding debt under its unsecured revolving credit facility.

ProShares opens New York office

ProShares, a provider of exchange-traded mutual funds (ETF), said it has opened an office in New York City, its first outside of its Bethesda headquarters. The office at 400 Madison Ave. will be used to enhance the firm’s education and distribution capabilities, including its institutional efforts. The new office will be headed by Sanjay Jodh, who is one of three key executives recently hired to support the rapid expansion of ProShares’ product lineup and its position as a premier provider of ETFs.

Cassidy Turley hired to handle sale of Windsor Mill building

Crystal Enterprises, the owner of an office building at 6940 Tudsbury Road in Windsor Mill, has retained Cassidy Turley to handle the sale of the asset. The property is an approximately 16,000-square-foot, single-story office building situated near the offices of the FBI, Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Douglas Brinkley and Brian Wyatt of Cassidy Turley are representing the seller.

Manekin converting former furniture plant to office space

A former manufacturing facility in East Baltimore is being converted into a LEED-certified Class A office building. Manekin LLC has begun redeveloping the 72,000-square-foot building at 5500 E. Lombard St., located directly off I-895 at the NIH entrance to the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. Manekin entered into a joint venture with Jim Crystal, who developed and built the property in 1985 as a manufacturing plant for his national furniture business, LUI Corp. Nearly 300 people worked there at its height. In 2005, Crystal moved out and leased the building to Cambrex, a local drug manufacturing company. Lonza, an international bioscience company, purchased Cambrex and relocated approximately two years ago. DVA Architects in Gaithersburg is doing the building redesign. Manekin is handling all phases of development, including construction, and will manage and lease the property. Completion is anticipated in the spring of 2013.

Md. plans to sell $790.3M of bonds

Maryland is planning to sell up to $790.3 million worth of general obligation bonds to fund capital projects such as schools, college and university buildings and hospitals, Maryland Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp announced Thursday. As in the past, the offering will include the direct sale to the public of approximately $75 million of bonds, with first priority going to Maryland citizens. Those bonds will be sold by brokers from July 27-30. On Aug. 1, the remaining $715.3 million worth of bonds, both taxable and tax-exempt, will be sold in four separate packages in a competitive bidding procedure at the Goldstein Treasury Building in Annapolis.

Wurlitzer organ moving to Engineers Club

The Engineers Club, housed in the historic Garrett-Jacobs Mansion at 11 W. Mount Vernon Place, harkens back to a bygone era of wealth and living among fine objets d’art. Soon, the club will receive a rare, 85-year-old, former theater organ, thanks to Ray Wagner, who has been keeping the Wurlitzer pipe organ at his home in Glen Arm, the Baltimore Sun reported. The instrument once entertained audiences at the State Theatre, a movie theater that closed in the mid-1960s and was later demolished. Wagner said there are fewer than 20 pipe organs in the United States, and 12 of them are Wurlitzers.

Merritt Properties’ renovated office building certified LEED-Gold

Calverton Corporate Center, a Class A office building at 3901 Calverton Blvd. in Calverton, has been certified LEED-CS Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council. Redeveloped by Merritt Properties in 2011, the building was recently named the Best LEED Core & Shell Project in a Suburban Property by USGBC Maryland. Merritt purchased the four-story, 123,144-square-foot office building from SSK VP Calverton LLC in late 2009 for $6 million, then spent an additional $6.2 million to transform the dated building into a contemporary office building, with features such as a two-story lobby atrium, energy-efficient HVAC system, landscaping with reduced turf areas and drought-tolerant plants, along with an irrigation system and a weather station, and smart electric metering.

Ripken Design, Fields Inc. installing Sports field at Mount de Sales Academy

Pikesville-based Ripken Design, a division of Ripken Baseball, has teamed with Georgia-based Fields Inc. to install a state-of-the-art synthetic field at historic Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville. The new, 80,614-square-foot field, made of AstroTurf XPe synthetic turf, will be used as a multipurpose regulation field for soccer, lacrosse, softball and field hockey games, as well as physical education classes. It will also include hillside bleacher seating and a visitors’ plaza. The target completion date is August. Fields Inc. is a general contracting firm that specializes in building athletic fields.


Merritt Properties LLC reported the following recently signed lease transactions:

* Tessemae’s LLC, a food manufacturer, leased 35,400 square feet of office and warehouse space at 8805-8823 Kelso Drive in Middle River.

* Johnson Enterprises LLC, a financial advisor, leased 515 square feet of office space at 10055 Red Run Blvd., Suite 120, in the Owings Mills Corporate Center.

* Bolster Labs Inc., a technology company, leased 1,932 square feet of office space at 729 E. Pratt St., Suite 800-820, in Baltimore.

All three deals were handled by Merritt’s in-house leasing team comprised of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering , Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs.



One comment

  1. I enjoy reading the Real Estate Weekly!
    Mario Sanchez

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *