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Real Estate Weekly – 8/3/12: Developer helps school for autistic individuals

Maryland team to design and construct new hospital building in Fairfax, Va.

Bethesda-based Clark Construction Group has been selected to build a 12-story, 665,000-square-foot patient tower at the Inova Women’s Hospital & Children’s Hospital in Fairfax, Va. The $215 million contract is part of Inova Health System’s multi-year effort to upgrade its Fairfax, Va., campus into a world-class environment for patient care, education and research. Wilmot Sanz Inc., of Gaithersburg is the project architect; RMF Engineering, of Baltimore, mechanical-electric-plumbing engineer; and Cagley & Associates, of Rockville, structural engineer.

Pennsylvania company acquires Randallstown garden apartments

Morgan Properties, of King of Prussia, Pa., together with its equity partner Core Properties LLC of Columbus, Ohio, completed the acquisition of the 588-unit Garden View Apartments in Randallstown. Morgan Properties acquired the garden-style apartment community in northwest Baltimore County for $27.4 million, or approximately $46,000 per unit. Morgan Properties, a real estate investment, development and management company, owns 15 apartment developments with more than 5,000 units in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Morgan said it expects to invest significant capital to upgrade and modernize individual units and correct deferred maintenance.

Developer helps school for autistic individuals

David S. Brown Enterprises Ltd., an Owings Mills-based commercial office, retail and residential real estate company, is building a 36,000-square-foot school for Linwood Center, an Ellicott City-based, non-public, special education school and residential program that provides services for individuals living with autism and related developmental disabilities. Preliminary design plans for the new facility came in at about $12 million, far too great for the school’s fund-raising abilities. School officials then got in touch with Howard S. Brown, the company’s chairman. Brown brought in a new team of architects, engineers and other vendors who were able to redesign the project to meet the school’s specifications for approximately half the cost of the original design. Said Bill Moss, Linwood Center’s executive director: “It would not be an under-statement to suggest that the Linwood Center new school project would not be occurring without the vision, talent and generosity provided by Howard Brown and his development team.”

Omega Healthcare’s quarterly FFO rises

Omega Healthcare Investors Inc., of Hunt Valley, a real estate investment trust that invests in the long-term care industry, reported second-quarter funds from operations — a key measurement of a REIT’s financial performance —totaled $55.8 million, or 53 cents per share, in the 2012 period, versus $42.6 million, or 42 cents per share, in last year’s quarter. Adjusted FFO, which excludes special charges such as stock-based compensation, was 53 cents per share. Revenue rose to $83.8 million from $72.6 million in 2011. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, FFO of 51 cents per share and $84.2 million in revenue.

Chesapeake Lodging obtains mortgage

Chesapeake Lodging Trust, of Annapolis, a hotel real estate investment trust, said it closed on a $70 million fixed-rate mortgage. The loan was provided by Texas-based Western National Life Insurance Co., and is secured by the 613-room Denver Marriott City Center. The loan has a term of 30 years, but is callable by the lender after 10 years. The loan carries an annual fixed interest rate of 4.90 percent, with principal and interest based on a 30-year amortization. Proceeds were used primarily to repay the remaining outstanding borrowings under the trust’s revolving credit facility.

Enterprise Zone public hearing scheduled

The Baltimore Development Corp. announced a public hearing on Aug. 8 to discuss inclusion of the Alameda Shopping Center and Harbor Point in Baltimore’s Enterprise Zone in the fall. The Enterprise Zone is a statewide property tax credit program for businesses making capital investments in their property — construction or renovation of a building, or expansion of an existing facility — or hiring at least one new employee in the zone. The hearing will be held at Johns Hopkins Eastern, 1101 E. 33rd St., from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Representatives from both organizations will be present to explain their projects and answer questions.

Preliminary study for offshore wind farm

The Maryland Energy Administration announced the first request for proposals to be funded out of the Offshore Wind Development Fund developed as a result of the $7.9 billion acquisition of Constellation Energy Group by Exelon Corp. in March. The RFP will fund a study on the geophysical resources of the area designated by the U.S. Department of Interior as suitable for offshore wind energy. The information gathered in the study will give developers a better understanding of the depth and texture of the sea floor and provide valuable information necessary for federal approval of an offshore wind farm. The deadline for submission of proposals is 2 p.m. on Sept. 6. The MEA will hold a pre-proposal conference at its office at 60 West St., Suite 300, in Annapolis at 10 a.m. on Aug. 16.

Feds want Exelon to slow wind turbines

(AP) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing limits on a Western Maryland wind energy project to reduce potential fatalities of endangered bats. The draft plan would require Chicago-based Exelon Corp. to slow down its turbines from mid-July to mid-October to reduce the number of Indiana bats that might be harmed by the spinning blades, the Baltimore Sun reported. The plan would apply to the 28-turbine Criterion project on Backbone Mountain in Garrett County that began operating in late 2010. Exelon said it plans to spend at least $170,000 to protect bat habitat. The plan is open for public comment through Sept. 28.

Manekin gets third Greenfield assignment

Greenfield Partners, a Connecticut-based, private real estate investment firm, has selected Columbia-based Manekin LLC to manage a portfolio of 15 buildings in Frederick, Howard and Anne Arundel counties. The portfolio consists of mid-rise office buildings, single-story office buildings, and flex and industrial properties in Frederick, Columbia and Hanover. They contain a total of 550,000 square feet of space and span five business parks. This is the third assignment that Manekin has received from Greenfield Partners this year. The firm tapped Manekin on two separate occasions in January and April to oversee 34 properties in Columbia with nearly 1 million square feet of space.

More hotel franchisees choose Choice

Choice Hotels International Inc., of Silver Spring, one of the world’s largest lodging franchisors, said its system size expanded during the second quarter of 2012 with 88 newly opened franchised properties. Additionally, the company executed a total of 106 new domestic contracts in this year’s second quarter, a 54 percent increase over the prior-year period. Openings included hotels in 34 states and seven countries — Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, New Zealand and Norway — adding more than 6,700 guestrooms to the company’s existing 498,000-plus rooms. The company opened 46 hotels during the first quarter of 2012 and 256 new hotels in 2011.

Minority contractors’ group sues city

(AP) A minority contractors association is suing the city of Baltimore claiming the Board of Estimates awards contracts to large firms without considering minority contractors. The suit brought by Arnold Jolivet, managing director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association Inc., is seeking $40 million for the association. The lawsuit alleges city officials regularly accept low bids from preferred contractors with the understanding that changes will be made later to increase the size of the contract. The suit also asks that the court appoint an independent monitor to take over the city’s contract bidding process. A mayoral spokesman said the lawsuit has no merit.

LEASES

Merritt Properties LLC of Baltimore reported the following recently signed lease agreements:

* TMD Technologies LLC, a provider of testing and repair of government-related radar and communications, leased 6,000 square feet of space (3,000 office, 3,000 warehouse) at the Beltway Business Park, 1730 Twin Springs Road, Suites 211-212, in Arbutus, Baltimore County.

* VTS-VM LLC, an IT placement and recruiting firm, leased 2,987 square feet of office space at Columbia Corporate Park, 8840 Stanford Blvd., Suite 3150, in Columbia. Dave Fields of CBRE represented the tenant. Merritt was represented in both sets of negotiations by its in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw.

Mack-Cali Realty Corp., of Edison, N.J., a real estate investment trust that owns primarily office and office/flex buildings in the Northeast, reported the following transactions:

* The University of Maryland signed an 8,030-square-foot lease renewal at 6305 Ivy Lane in Greenbelt. The 112,022-square-foot office building is in the Capital Office Park.

* Blue Water Media, a provider of web design, custom web development and online marketing solutions, signed transactions totaling 10,051 square feet at 6404 Ivy Lane, a 165,234-square-foot office building in the Capital Office Park. The transactions consisted of a 6,501-square-foot renewal and a 3,550-square-foot expansion. Dennis Murphy and John Rosso of Murphy Commercial Real Estate represented the tenant.

* MHI Hotels Inc., trading as Chesapeake Hospitality, signed leases totaling 6,833 square feet at 6411 Ivy Lane, a 138,405-square-foot office building in the Capital Office Park. The transactions consisted of a 5,917-square-foot renewal and a 916-square-foot expansion. The tenant was represented in the transaction by Andrew J. Smith of Cassidy Turley. The landlord, Mack-Cali, was represented in all of the transactions by its director of leasing, Kenneth Smondrowski.