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Real Estate Weekly – 7/20/12

Real Estate Weekly – 7/20/12

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J. Crew and Anthropologie stores to open in Harbor East

Two national retailers, J. Crew and Anthropologie, will open stores next week in the Harbor East neighborhood, it was announced this week. J. Crew, a retailer of apparel for young professionals, will open in a 7,200-square-foot space on the ground level of the Legg Mason Tower, 120 International Drive, on Wednesday. Anthropologie, a retailer of fashionable women’s apparel, will occupy more than 6,000 square feet on the ground level of the Four Seasons Hotel, 280 International Drive, on Friday. MAC Cosmetics and Lululemon Athletica also are planning stores in the Harbor East area. These will be the only locations in Baltimore for all of the new retailers.

Goodwill to open sixth store in Anne Arundel County

Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake is opening its sixth store in Anne Arundel County on July 27 at 7311 A Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie. The new location will create 13 jobs. By donating and shopping at Goodwill, consumers help fund job training and placement programs for those with disabilities or other disadvantaged conditions. Goodwill collects reusable items for resale in its retail stores, trains people for work and living skills, and instills dignity and purpose in people’s lives. Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake Inc. employs more than 600 individuals, operates 27 retail stores and nine career development sites, and provides a variety of commercial services. Goodwill annually provides services to more than 20,000 people in need of assistance because of physical, mental or other social barriers, and places approximately 2,300 in jobs.

KBE starts renovation at UConn dininghall

KBE Building Corp., of Columbia and Farmington, Conn., has started renovations on the University of Connecticut’s McMahon Dining Hall. The $7.1 million project consists of 14,000 square feet of renovations, including a 5,500-square-foot addition, a new dining facility with all new kitchen equipment, and the removal of a storefront. The existing building is composed of two seven-story towers and a two-story dining and lounge area. The project is scheduled for completion in September. KBE has constructed eight projects to date for the University of Connecticut, including the 138,000-square-foot, 450-bed Hilltop Residence Hall, the 230,000-square-foot renovation and addition to the Student Union, and the renovation and code upgrades of more than 50 buildings on the main campus at Storrs and at three other satellite campuses in the state.

Family-owned fitness center moves headquarters

Brick Bodies gym, founded in 1985 by Baltimore natives Victor and Lynne Brick, is relocating its flagship Timonium location from 212 W. Padonia Road to the former Shoppers grocery space in the Broad Street Market Shopping Center at 2340 Broad Ave. Renovations of the 58,405-square-foot space are expected to start in the fall, with the gym opening in early January. “Although we have had chances to move in the past, none of the previous locations were big enough for us to include everything we felt we needed in a club. The Shoppers space will allow us to build a world class facility for our members and for the community,” the owners said. The Bricks own five co-ed fitness clubs and two women-only clubs.

Siena School has room to expand

The Siena School, a private school in Silver Spring that serves college-bound students with language-based learning difficulties, said it purchased the Boys and Girls Club building in Silver Spring for an undisclosed price. The property will provide Siena with a gym, playing field, playground and space to expand beyond its current enrollment of 80 students in grades 4-12. A special zoning exception granted to the school in April allows it to gradually increase enrollment to 225 students over three phases of growth. Siena plans to move from its current location nearby once the Phase I renovation is completed in the late fall.

Pebblebrook strengthens credit facility

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust focused on luxury hotels in large U.S. cities, announced that it has amended and restated its senior unsecured revolving credit facility. The credit line was increased to $300 million and consists of a $200 million unsecured revolving credit facility and a $100 million unsecured term loan. The pricing on the amended credit facility has been significantly reduced, and it now matures in July 2016 with an option to extend to July 2017. Pebblebrook said the amended facility will substantially reduce its borrowing costs, extend the maturity date and increase available capital.

Host Hotels’ results outdo projections

Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., of Bethesda, the nation’s largest lodging real estate investment trust, reported second-quarter funds from operations of $239 million, or 32 cents per diluted share, up from $213 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, for the year-ago period. When adjusted to exclude certain one-time charges, FFO was $254 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, versus $219 million, or 31 cents per diluted share, for the prior-year period. (FFO is a key measure of a REIT’s financial performance.) Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters on average projected adjusted FFO per share of 33 cents. Second-quarter revenue totaled $1.37 billion, up from $1.28 billion in the prior year, exceeding analysts’ estimates of $1.36 billion.

Annapolis REIT completes public offering

Chesapeake Lodging Trust, of Annapolis, a self-advised hotel real estate investment trust, announced it closed the public offering of 5 million of its 7.75% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Shares, including 600,000 shares sold pursuant to the underwriters’ exercise of their over-allotment option. The offering generated net proceeds of approximately $120.8 million after deducting the underwriting discount and estimated offering expenses payable by the trust. CLT said it intends to use the net proceeds to repay debt outstanding on its revolving credit facility and for other general corporate purposes, including the acquisition of properties.

Homeless veterans program gets VA grant

A $1 million grant aimed at combating homelessness among veterans has been awarded by the Veterans Administration to Baltimore-based Alliance Inc., one of 151 community agencies in 49 states and the District of Columbia to receive money. The Alliance grant will serve approximately 400 homeless and at-risk veteran families in Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carol, Cecil, Harford and Howard counties, as part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. Veterans and their family members will be offered outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA benefits and other public benefits. The grants are part of an Obama administration effort to end veteran homelessness by 2015.

BWI getting runway improvement grant

The U.S. Department of Transportation is giving Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport a $12 million grant to upgrade runways and improve runway safety. The grant will be used for the first phase of improvements to bring Runway 10-28 up to Federal Aviation Administration safety standards, according to an announcement by U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, and Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes, all D-Md. Improvements include pavement rehabilitation, shoulder expansion, improved grading and new signage. The first phase of the multi-year, $350 million project is expected to cost $40.3 million and support more than 500 jobs.

Developers close on Gaithersburg project

Two Washington-area real estate development firms, JBG Rosenfeld Retail of Chevy Chase, and The Bozzuto Group of Greenbelt, said they have closed a $28 million deal on Downtown Crown, a 20-acre, mixed-use centerpiece to the Crown development in Gaithersburg. JBGR will develop 260,000 square feet of dining and retail space. Bozzuto purchased the rights to build 538 multifamily units above the retail component. The Crown development is a 182-acre master-planned community that will consist of more than 2,200 new homes and apartments, acres of parks and trails, and a future transit stop for the Corridor City Transitway.

Daft McCune receives MBE certification

Daft McCune Walker Inc., of Towson, a multidisciplinary consulting firm, said it has received certification from the state of Maryland as a Minority Business Enterprise for engineering, surveying, environmental and computer-assisted design services. The MBE certification is valuable to a business, as many companies look for partnerships with a minority-owned firm to meet supplier diversity guidelines, and to demonstrate their commitment to small, minority- and women-owned businesses. As a recognized woman-owned business, DMW said it will expand its reach to support the engineering, environmental and surveying requirements of public-sector clients, while continuing to grow its private-sector business.

LaSalle’s results fall below forecasts

LaSalle Hotel Properties, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns upscale and luxury full-service hotels, reported funds from operations rose in the second quarter of 2012. FFO, a key measure of a REIT’s financial performance, rose to $56.1 million, or 65 cents per share, versus $44.7 million, or 54 cents per share, in the prior-year period. Adjusted FFO, which excludes certain one-time or special charges, was $61.8 million, or 72 cents per share, compared to $45 million, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters on average projected earnings per share (excluding special items) of 75 cents for the quarter. Revenue rose to $242.1 million versus $202.6 million in the 2011 quarter, less than analysts’ forecasts of $250.6 million.

Walker & Dunlop’s deep pockets

Walker & Dunlop Inc., of Bethesda, a real estate lender focused on multifamily loans, said its subsidiary, Walker & Dunlop LLC, provided $67.8 million in Fannie Mae financing to Chicago-based Hometown America LLC for a portfolio of manufactured housing communities. The portfolio consists of five properties and more than 1,800 home sites on more than 500 acres in New Jersey, Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts. All of the transactions were refinances with the exception of Little Manatee Springs in Florida, which received acquisition financing, W&D said.

HarborView pier homes finally sold

The real estate firm responsible for marketing and selling the pier homes at Baltimore’s HarborView complex on Key Highway said it has sold and settled all of the residences. McWilliams Ballard, of Washington D.C., said it sold the 42 units over a two-year span, garnering $42 million. The luxury townhomes, overlooking the Inner Harbor and Baltimore skyline, feature gourmet kitchens with polished granite countertops and recessed lighting, master baths with ceramic tile floors, polished granite countertops and upgraded fixtures, and ceramic tiled showers with glass enclosure and whirlpool tubs in master baths. The homes also have 9-foot ceilings on main levels and the master bedroom level.

FastSigns moves to larger quarters

FastSigns of Glen Burnie owner Bryan Lebsack has moved his business to a larger location. The 13-year-old visual communications company has moved from its former location at 6636 Ritchie Highway, where it occupied 2,400 square feet of space, to 703 Ordinance Road. The new location has 2,900 square feet and, Lebsack said, an improved layout. “These two factors make it possible for us to take on larger jobs and offer even more products and services to our customers,” Lebsack said. The company offers window shades, vehicle graphics, way-finding signage, digital graphics, exhibits and displays, architectural signs, channel letters and mobile websites.


Mahan Rykiel Associates, Inc., a Baltimore-based landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm, announced that Danny Dunston, Saba Hamidi, Kevin Mokos and James Sink are joining the firm as staff landscape architects. Dunston, an experienced landscape architect, holds the designation of PLA (Professional Landscape Architect) from the American Society of Landscape Architects. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from UNC at Chapel Hill and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Morgan State University and is a LEED Green Associate. Hamidi graduated from the University of Maryland and has experience in urban design, landscape architecture and site design. Mokos and Sink both graduated from Pennsylvania State University, and each holds a degree in landscape architecture.


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