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Real Estate Weekly – 9/14/12

Former pharmaceutical company building will house Stevenson School of Design

A 17,500-square-foot building in Owings Mills that once housed offices of a pharmaceuticals maker is being retrofitted as Stevenson University’s School of Design. Construction is underway at the former Shire Pharmaceuticals building. The burgeoning university acquired the 28-acre site, which includes an adjacent 150,000-square-foot building, from Shire in November 2011. Towson-based Curry Architects is designing the renovation, with construction management support provided by David S. Brown Enterprises LTD. The university plans to relocate existing components of its School of Design from its Greenspring campus in time for the spring 2013 or fall 2013 semester.

Bonefish Grill opens restaurant in Annapolis Towne Centre

Bonefish Grill, a Florida-based chain of seafood restaurants, opened a 220-seat restaurant at 1915 Towne Centre Blvd. in the Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole. Containing 7,678 square feet of space, the casual restaurant features wood-grilled fish, seafood and chops. Two days before the grand opening on Monday, the restaurant held a “soft opening” with a charity event benefiting the Historic Annapolis Foundation that raised more than $9,500. In addition to the new restaurant, other Bonefish Grills in Maryland are located in Bel Air, Brandywine, Gaithersburg, Frederick, Glen Burnie and Owings Mills.

Some spots still open for NAIOP Golf Outing

NAIOP Maryland, the local affiliate of NAIOP, which represents professionals in the commercial real estate industry, is urging golf enthusiasts to sign up for the 11th annual NAIOP Maryland Golf Outing, scheduled for Sept. 24 at the Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre De Grace. The event begins at noon with a luncheon in the Bulle Rock community clubhouse, continues with 18 holes of golf, and concludes with a full-course dinner reception and awards presentation. All inclusive golf foursomes are priced at $1,300. Also, a small number of sponsorships are available. The course is located at 320 Blenheim Lane in Havre De Grace. For information, call Kate Sanft at 443-986-9429 ext. 102 or email kates@naiopmd.org.

Fuddruckers completes Annapolis renovations

Fuddruckers, a Texas-based restaurant chain specializing in hamburgers, has put the final touches on an extensive renovation of one of the company’s longest continuously operating restaurants. The Annapolis location at 175 Jennifer Rd. opened in May 1985, just a few years after the fast-casual chain was founded in San Antonio. It is one of five Fuddruckers in Maryland. The redesigned exterior incorporates an enhanced entrance, new stucco and awnings, plus a tower element incorporating the Fuddruckers logo. The interior, which encompasses 6,617 square feet, has been completely refashioned to showcase the chain’s signature, roadhouse look, including new paint, flooring, countertops, wainscoting and restrooms. Luby’s Fuddruckers Restaurants LLC consists of 59 company-operated locations and 124 franchises across the United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada.

At long last, Arbutus gets series of roadway improvements

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz led a ceremony on Thursday to celebrate long-awaited roadway improvements in the Arbutus business district. The county is investing $2 million in upgrading the roadways in the main commercial district of the southwest community, benefiting local businesses and area residents. Kamenetz announced completion of a $1.8 million project to correct deteriorated road conditions and add sidewalks, curbs and gutters along Leeds Avenue between Linden and Beechfield roads, and to kick off the $100,000 resurfacing of East Drive from North Road to Sulphur Spring Road. He also announced the county has allocated $75,000 to resurface another important Arbutus roadway, Sulphur Spring Road from East Drive to Benson Avenue.

Gordon Biersch schedules Harbor East opening in October

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant is set to open its first Baltimore location at 1000 Lancaster St. on Oct. 29, bringing a made-from-scratch menu with California-influenced cuisine and handcrafted German lagers to Harbor East. The location, with a staff of 75-80 employees, will feature an on-site brewery, where Head Brewer Chris Cashell will create signature lagers and seasonal brews in-house to be served in the restaurant and bar. In addition, the 9,500-square-foot restaurant will serve a variety of appetizers and entrees, from premium burgers, salads and pizzas, to fresh seafood and steaks. The restaurant will seat 300 people inside with an additional 50 seats on an outdoor patio. Gordon Biersch, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., operates 33 restaurants in the United States and three in Taiwan.

Lab’s infrastructure build-out completed

Build-out of a fully integrated and scalable computing infrastructure for data-intensive operations has been completed at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. “The system, housed in our new, state-of-the-art R&D facility in Frederick, will enable us to keep pace with the escalating amounts of biomedical data that our scientists work with every day,” said Greg Warth, director of IT operations at SAIC-Frederick Inc., the prime operations and technical support contractor for FNL. The project was funded by the National Cancer Institute through a $15 million subcontract with SAIC-Frederick. Accunet Solutions Inc., of Boston, was the prime contractor for the build-out.

Feds give funds to Dorchester airport

(AP) The Cambridge-Dorchester Airport is getting a $92,000 federal grant to help it plan its future, according to an announcement from U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, both Maryland Democrats. The lawmakers said the grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will be used to update the airport’s master plan and help identify future needs. The money will also be used to ensure the airport is in compliance with environmental standards and Federal Aviation Administration safety guidelines. Reducing the environmental impact of storm water runoff from the airport and runway extension is among the items that will be funded by the grant.

COPT leases space to single tenant

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, said it executed a lease with an unidentified, existing tenant for 115,000 square feet of space at its 7205 Riverwood Rd. development, plus an adjacent property. Riverwood, part of Rivers Corporate Park in Columbia, is located within 10 miles of Fort Meade. The new lease is for 100 percent of the property. The tenant plans to occupy the space in late 2013 or early 2014.

Freightliner to add jobs in Hagerstown

(AP) The Freightliner truck dealership near Hagerstown is planning an expansion that will add about 30 jobs to its present 52-employee staff. The Herald-Mail newspaper on Monday reported that the business is adding a second location on a nine-acre site that it bought near its present site. The new parts, service and sales center will contain about 65,000 square feet of space, larger than the current dealership. Service Director Daniel Stine said ground will be broken Sept. 18, with completion expected in June. He said when the new complex opens, the current location may become a body shop for large and medium-duty trucks.

Money added to Wells Fargo expansion fund

(AP) Frederick County is giving $100,000 to help Wells Fargo expand in the area. The Frederick News-Post reported the county is giving a 10 percent match to a $1 million fund created seven years ago to incentivize Wells Fargo to remain in Maryland. County officials said after the county and state became aware of the San Francisco-based banking company’s intention to leave the state, they proposed incentives to help it expand its local operations. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development also offered to provide a conditional loan for the expansion and infrastructure improvements. Wells Fargo has since retained 1,148 full-time employees and hired 212 new employees.

Queenstown home on bay to be auctioned

A Colonial-style, waterfront residence on 5.2 acres with direct access to the Chesapeake Bay will be auctioned by New York-based Concierge Auctions on Oct 10. Originally offered for $2.1 million, 400 Quarter Creek Drive will sell at or above a $1.1 million reserve. The Queenstown property is 7,000-square-foot, New England-style residence with four bedrooms and five and one-half bathrooms. The seller, Carol McGowan, purchased the property at auction in 1990. The listing agent is Betsy Stettinius of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. For information on the sale, go to www.queenstownauction.com or call 877-603-1103.

Linwood Center starts expansion project

The Linwood Center, a provider of special education services for autistic children in Howard County, has started construction of a $6.5 million expansion adjacent to its existing building, a historic mansion in Ellicott City. The two-story addition will allow the nearly 60-year-old educational institution to nearly triple its enrollment, from 24 to 70 students. Completion is expected in the fall of 2013. The project is being funded by a combination of state and county grants, private donations and a bank loan. Linwood offers the only autism program of its kind in Howard County or the surrounding area, according to Howard County Executive Ken Ulman’s office.

Baltimore County stream project underway

The Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability has begun construction of a project to restore the severely degraded Jennifer Run, a neighborhood stream that runs from the Carney area into the Gunpowder Falls and the Chesapeake Bay. The stream, which runs through residential areas east of Harford Road, has been problematic for many homeowners due to the effect of erosion of their property and infrastructure. The $3.3 million project will include the restoration of 6,024 feet of stream to reduce erosion, improve ecological function, stabilize infrastructure and improve the water quality of Jennifer Branch, the Lower Gunpowder Falls and the Chesapeake Bay.

More federal money coming to BWI Airport

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is getting its second significant federal grant in two months, with an award of more than $2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to remove visual obstructions from one of its runways. The nearly-$2.5 million infusion will be used to lower Amtrak overhead wires that obstruct the Approach Lighting System on Runway 10. About 32 jobs are associated with the project. Construction is scheduled to start in the fall of 2013 and be completed in the spring of 2014. In June, the airport was awarded $12 million in federal funds to bring Runway 10 up to Federal Aviation Administration standards.

Frederick Co. adopts faster growth plan

(AP) Frederick County is adopting a more aggressive growth plan that state planning officials consider an invitation to residential sprawl. The all-Republican county commissioners voted 4-1 Thursday to adopt changes to a 20-year land-use plan that the previous, Democrat-led board approved in 2010. The new zoning could lead to construction of 12,600 new homes on about 9,000 acres. The Maryland Department of Planning said last year that rewriting the plan would extend residential sprawl and require construction of more roads and schools. Several environmental groups sued to stop the rewrite but their lawsuit was dismissed in June as being premature.

Elkton chemical plant to be demolished

(AP) Ashland Inc. officials say they plan to demolish a former factory in Elkton that manufactured materials used in paints, adhesives, textiles and paper, the News Journal of Wilmington, Del., reported. Gary Rhodes, director of corporate communications for Kentucky-based Ashland, said most of the business associated with the site was sold to Celanese Corp. earlier this year, and production ceased in July. Rhodes said the manufacturing space on West Main Street will be demolished to clear the land for sale. He said no decisions have been made about the remaining structures on the site, including an office building and warehouse.

First Sheraton opens in Silver Spring

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. announced the opening of the Sheraton Silver Spring hotel. Owned by Los Angeles-based Integrated Capital LLC, a hotel-focused, private real estate advisory and investment firm, the former Crowne Plaza has undergone an extensive renovation and conversion project costing more than $5 million to bring it up to Sheraton standards. This is the first Sheraton-branded hotel in the suburban Washington community. The hotel offers 229 refurbished guest rooms and nearly 16,000 square feet of flexible meeting space with the latest in meetings technology. Additional amenities include a full-service restaurant and lounge, outdoor pool and fully equipped fitness facility.

Chesapeake Lodging acquires Calif. Hotel

Chesapeake Lodging Trust, of Annapolis, a hotel real estate investment trust, said it has acquired the 429-room Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marinated in San Diego for $62 million, paying for the acquisition with cash and a borrowing under its revolving credit facility. CLT assumed the existing management agreement with Hyatt Hotels Corp. According to its announcement, the hotel’s previous owner undertook an extensive renovation in 2007, and CLT plans an additional $6 million in enhancements. This is CLT’s second property in San Diego. The company owns 14 hotels in six states and the District of Columbia.

Highway crews repairing ICC overpasses

(AP) Maryland State Highway Administration officials said crews are working to repair cracks found in overpasses on the Inter-County Connector. SHA inspectors have discovered cracks on 10 bridges along the new $2.5 billion toll highway. David Buck, a spokesman for the agency, said half of those cracks were found last year. Buck said the overpasses are still safe for motorists to use. The Washington Examiner this week was first to report on the existence of two of the most recently discovered cracks.

LEASES

LBCMT 2007-C# Patrick Street LLC DE Limited, the owner of the Gold Mile Plaza, a 13,500-square-foot retail center in Frederick, has selected Manekin LLC as the leasing agent. Stacey Berman and Susan Homberg, brokerage vice presidents in Manekin’s Baltimore office, are in charge of leasing the property at 1046 W. Patrick St. Tenants are Starbucks, Sprint, FedEx Office and Subway. A 4,000-square-foot end space is still looking for a tenant to bring the property up to full occupancy. Manekin is well-versed in the Frederick market, having previously developed Ballenger Creek Center, Ballenger Creek Plaza, Catoctin Professional Center and Westview Corporate Campus.

Merritt Properties LLC announced that Fisher Auto Parts Inc. leased 9,230 square feet of space at 2020-2022 Lord Baltimore Drive in the Windsor Mill area for automotive parts distribution space. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering , Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs handled the negotiations.