COPT obtains $120M loan, expandable to $200M
Corporate Office Properties Trust, a Columbia-based office real estate investment trust primarily focused on the specialized requirements of U.S. government and defense information technology tenants, announced it entered into a $120 million term loan agreement, with the option to expand the amount drawn during the term, subject to certain conditions, by $80 million, for a maximum loan of $200 million. The loan has a seven-year term and a variable interest rate of LIBOR plus 2.10 percent to 2.60 percent, depending on the company’s leverage levels. Wells Fargo Securities LLC acted as sole arranger and sole bookrunner for the loan. Wells Fargo Bank, National Association acted as administrative agent, and Capital One N.A. acted as documentation agent.
Howard County to hold meeting on new vision for Ellicott City
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced the county will hold a town hall meeting on Aug. 21 to lay out the new vision planned for historic downtown Ellicott City. The vision is a result of numerous meetings and discussions with merchants, property owners, residents and county representatives over the past two years to increase customer and tourist activity. The county has also applied to have Ellicott City designated as a “Sustainable Community” through the state, which will make other resources available to the area as well. The meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Bujilding, 3450 Courthouse Drive, about a half-mile from downtown Ellicott City.
St. John Properties rebrands Frederick-area business park
St. John Properties Inc., a Baltimore-based commercial real estate development firm, announced the renaming of its nine-building business park at the intersection of I-270 and Md. Route 85 (Buckeystown Pike) in Frederick. Formerly known as the Center of Monocacy, the business center is now called Westview Business Park. The 49-acre business community consists of 427,000 square feet of multi-tenanted R&D/office/flex buildings in a corporate campus, with an additional six acres of developable land directly along Md. Route 85. “We believe the project’s new identity of the Westview Business Park more accurately reflects its prominence as an original anchor of the Greater Westview area of Frederick,” said Matt Holbrook, regional partner for St. John Properties. “In addition, our tenants more closely align themselves with the Westview area, which is widely recognized as the ideal place to work, conduct business and shop.”
Greenfield taps MacKenzie to manage 8 office buildings
MacKenzie Management Co. said it has been selected to manage a portfolio of Hunt Valley and White Marsh office buildings recently sold to Greenfield Partners, a Norwalk, Conn.-based private real estate investment firm, by Columbia-based Corporate Office Properties Trust. The eight multi-tenant office buildings contain a total of 845,000 square feet. The portfolio consists of 226 Schilling Circle, 10150 York Road, 11311 McCormick Road, 200 and 201 International Circle in Hunt Valley, and 7941-7949, 8029 and 8031 Corporate Drive in White Marsh. MacKenzie was selected by Greenfield Partners in January 2012 to manage more than 140,000 square feet of medical-office and office properties in White Marsh. With the addition of the latest round of acquisitions, MacKenzie will manage nearly 1 million square feet for Greenfield.
Md. bonds sold at ‘historically low’ rate
The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved the sale of more than $727 million worth of general obligation bonds, pinned to an overall interest rate of about 2.16 percent that Maryland Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp called “historically low.” Bank of America Merrill Lynch bid successfully for two series of bonds, while Morgan Stanley & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC each submitted the winning bid on two other series. Kopp attributed the overall low interest rate to Maryland’s keeping its prized Triple A bond rating from all three of the major rating agencies — Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor.
Bethesda REIT obtains new term loan
LaSalle Hotel Properties, of Bethesda, a hotel real estate investment trust, announced that it has closed on a new $300 million term loan. The five-year loan, provided by a group of banks headed by Citigroup Capital Markets, matures on Aug. 2, 2017, including a one-year extension subject to certain conditions. The term loan was swapped to a fixed-interest rate for the full five-year term. The interest rate will be 2.68 percent when the company’s leverage ratio (as defined by the term loan) is between 4.0 and 4.75 times. The company said $200 million of the loan proceeds were available at closing, and it expects to draw the remaining $100 million toward the close of a 95-day period.
Funding to complete C&D Canal Trail
The 17-mile-long Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Trail is getting more than $2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant was announced by U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, both D-Maryland. The money will be used to complete the final, 1.8-mile Maryland portion of the trail linking Chesapeake City in Maryland to Delaware City, Del. Cardin called the C&D Trail “a recreational treasure” that, when complete, will attract tourists who want to enjoy hiking and biking along the canal that connects Maryland and Delaware.
Grant to restore historic slave cabin
Maryland’s two Democratic U.S. senators also announced the award by the U.S. Department of Transportation of about $195,400 to restore a historic slave cabin on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The cabin, located off Maryland Route 16 between Preston and Denton in Caroline County, is expected to open to the public in time for the 100-year commemoration of Tubman’s death next year. The funds will be administered through the National Scenic Byways Program. The program provides funding to implement projects along highways designated as relevant to national identity.
Walter Reed traffic gets DOD funding
(AP) Montgomery County has been awarded $40 million in Defense Department grants to deal with increased traffic at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the grant Monday. Panetta said the recently concluded Base Realignment and Closure process has increased personnel at Walter Reed by almost a third and doubled the medical center’s visitor load. Traffic-easing projects include a bicycle and pedestrian path under Maryland Route 355 that will connect the medical center and a Metrorail station. Three high-speed elevators are also planned to connect the street level of the medical center to the Metrorail mezzanine level 120 feet below.
Baltimore County opens new road section
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz opened the newest mile of Owings Mills Boulevard Monday, marking a major step in improving the transportation connection between the Owings Mills and Liberty Road communities. The two-year, $14 million county-funded project extends Owings Mills Boulevard from Lyons Mill Road to Winands Road. The county incorporated a bike path and retaining walls that complement the visual feel of the Lyonswood community. The four-lane boulevard includes extensive landscaping, with over 2,800 trees and bushes. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013 for the extension of Owings Mills Boulevard to Liberty Road.
Heritage areas grants awarded
The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority has awarded nearly $198,000 in matching grants to five heritage tourism projects in the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway areas of Harford and Cecil counties. The grants are among 63 totaling more than $2.7 million statewide that were awarded by the MHAA in this grants cycle. The grants support heritage tourism projects and activities that expand economic development and tourism-related job creation. Darlington-based Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway is a nonprofit organization with the mission of stimulating local economic activity by developing a linkage to natural, historic and cultural resources through land and water recreational trails.
Battlefield preservation gets state help
(AP) Gov. Martin O’Malley is awarding $980,000 to help preserve 150 acres of Civil War battlegrounds in Frederick County. The Department of Natural Resources announced the funding Tuesday. The private Civil War Trust will match the funds for a total of $1.96 million. The trust will acquire seven properties and preserve them from development through conservation easements. Frederick County is home to the Monocacy National Battlefield near Frederick, and part of the South Mountain State Battlefield bordering Washington County. The state share is funded through the federal Transportation Enhancement Program. The governor decides which projects qualify for federal funds administered by the Maryland Department of Transportation.
Matthew S. Felton, managing director of GIS and Research at MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate LLC, has been appointed to the Maryland Integral Map (MD iMap) Executive Committee by Gov. Martin O’Malley. The appointment is effective immediately. Felton is one of five private sector representatives on the iMap executive committee, which also consists of most members of the governor’s cabinet plus local elected officials. MD iMap is a live, interactive system to provide information to Maryland citizens about government services, such as economic and job growth, resource management, environmental initiatives, public health, public safety, emergency services, and science and technology. Created by O’Malley in 2009 by executive order, iMap uses geographic information systems, or GIS, to make data more understandable and accessible through the use of interactive maps. The state Department of Planning’s PlanMaryland, the state’s first comprehensive plan for sustainable growth and development, makes extensive use of GIS.
Denver REIT buys Curtis Bay warehouse
Industrial Income Trust, a Denver-based industrial real estate investment trust that owns and operates distribution warehouse properties throughout the U.S., has purchased 7621 Energy Parkway, a 222,636-square-foot bulk warehouse in Curtis Bay, paying $15.2 million The sale was announced by Cassidy Turley, whose Capital Markets Group represented the seller, High Street Equity Advisors, a Boston-based private equity real estate investment firm. The property is leased long-term to Reliable Churchill LLP, the largest distributor of wines and spirits in Maryland. According to Jonathan Carpenter, senior vice president and principal at Cassidy Turley, the offering generated “tremendous interest … with over 15 offers received on the property.”
New Hagerstown library behind schedule
(AP) Washington County’s public works director said a new library in downtown Hagerstown will open about six months later than expected. Joseph Kroboth III said poor soil conditions and the discovery of an underground tank are delaying the project, now scheduled to open in March, the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reported. The original construction bid for the project was $15.9 million, but Kroboth said there have been $500,000 in approved change orders so far and more are expected. The 82,000-square-foot library will be about twice the size of the old library, and slightly larger than Frederick’s main library.
Howard County housing authority gets A+ credit rating from S&P
The Howard County Housing Commission received an A+ credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, one of three major bond rating agencies, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced. The rating, among the highest for comparable housing authorities, will give the commission greater access to credit markets. Since 2007, the commission has, either directly or in partnership with private developers, created nearly 400 rental housing units for persons with incomes below 60 percent of the Baltimore area median ($85,600 for family of four. Another 200 or more units are in the planning stages.
Cochran & Mann, a commercial paint and wall covering contractor serving clients in Maryland, Washington and Northern Virginia, signed a lease with St. John Properties Inc. for about 5,000 square feet of space at the Westview Business Park, located at the intersection of Interstate 270 and MD Route 85 in Frederick. The company relocated from the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg. J.B. Powell with Real Estate Teams LLC represented the tenant in the lease negotiations. St. John Properties was represented in-house by Danny Severn.