Real Estate Weekly: 11/16/12

Forrester completes Andrés’ minibar project in Washington

Forrester Construction Co., of Rockville, said it completed construction of the restaurant minibar by José Andrés, which relocated to 855 E Street NW in Washington. This was Forrester’s fifth restaurant project for Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup, others being the Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya and America Eats Tavern. Minibar by José Andrés is the award-winning chef’s culinary testing ground featuring an avant-garde dining experience with seating for 12 guests. The restaurant, located in the former Zola Wine & Kitchen, replaces Andres’ previous six-stool minibar location at 405 Eighth Street NW.

Diageo marks grand opening of upgraded plant in Relay

Diageo, the world’s leading premium spirits, wine and beer company, on Tuesday celebrated the grand opening of its blending and packaging facility in Relay, where distilled spirits including Jose Cuervo, Captain Morgan and Seagram’s are processed and bottled. The company invested more than $50 million for major renovations of the 60-acre site, which began in March 2012 and were completed on time and on budget. Diageo installed three new high-speed bottling lines and upgrades to key production areas.

Baltimore company purchases shopping center in Tulsa, Okla.

A Baltimore company paid $2 million for east Tulsa’s 146,713-square-foot Briar Village Shopping Center, with plans to renovate the 44-year-old property, according to George Thomas with Whiteside and Grant Realtors of Tulsa. Briar Village Center LLC paid $13.94 per square foot to Briar Associates LLC of San Bruno, Calif., to take over the shopping center. The new owner operates a chain of Community Thrift Stores, including one in Tulsa, said Thomas, who represented the buyer in the transaction. Jim McDowell of McDowell and Associates represented the seller.Thomas said Community Thrift Stores will occupy a portion of Briar Village after an extensive renovation.

NOTE: This story first appeared in The Journal Record of Tulsa, a sister paper of The Daily Record.

COPT executes major lease at Blue Bell, Pa., office park

Corporate Office Properties Trust, of Columbia, said it executed a lease with a commercial tenant that serves the pharmaceutical and biotech industries for 51,000 square feet at Hillcrest II, a redevelopment start at its business park in Blue Bell, Pa. The building, which will comprise 184,000 square feet upon completion, was 28 percent leased on Oct. 17, and is now approximately 55 percent leased. COPT said it anticipates the tenant, which it did not identify, will occupy the building during the second quarter of 2013. As a result of this transaction, the company’s redevelopment pipeline, which was 36 percent leased on Oct. 17, is now approximately 54 percent leased.

Mullan starts construction on Hunt Valley church addition

Lutherville-based Mullen Contracting Co. has started construction of a 5,800-square-foot addition to the St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church at 909 Shawan Road in Hunt Valley. Designed to reflect an ancient Byzantine style of architecture, the new structure will be constructed of stone, and features a domed interior, towering spires and stained glass windows. The addition, designed to blend seamlessly with the existing church, was designed by Sanders Designs. Completion is expected in early 2013.

Sollers Point Community Center awarded LEED Gold certification

The Baltimore County Department of Public Works’ Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Community Center has been awarded LEED Gold level of certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nation’s pre-eminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Certification is established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. Rubeling & Associates, of Towson, a regional architecture and interior design firm, designed the 28,800-square-foot building, incorporating the latest innovations in energy use, high-efficiency lighting, water conservation and use of building materials.

O’Malley honors landowners who donated easements to MET

Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday honored 215 landowners from across Maryland who have donated conservation easements to the Maryland Environmental Trust since Jan. 1, 2007. The landowners’ conservation easements permanently protect more than 16,000 acres of scenic open space, historic and cultural resources, and environmentally sensitive habitat from development. Since MET received its first donation of a conservation easement 40 years ago — a 10-acre property in Anne Arundel County — it has protected more than 128,000 acres of open space throughout Maryland. MET has also helped create more than 40 local and regional land trusts across the state. These land trust partners co-hold conservation easements and help to steward the protected properties forever.

Storms’ impact felt by Pebblebrook

The financial effect of Hurricane Sandy and last week’s nor’easter is being felt by companies in the travel and hospitality industries. On Monday, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust issued a revised 2012 outlook to account for the impact from the two recent storms. Bethesda-based Pebblebrook lowered its estimated EBITDA (earnings before interest. taxes, depreciation and amortization) to $110.5 million to $112.5 million, down from $112 million to $114 million. Adjusted funds from operations were lowered to $62 million to $64 million from $63.5 million to $65.5 million. In a statement, company officials said the one-two punch of Sandy and the nor’easter within about a week of each other “significantly hindered travel in and out of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.”

Enterprise and partner fund competition

Enterprise Community Partners Inc., of Columbia, a nonprofit affordable-housing developer and investor, and Deutsche Bank have launched the “Lowering the Cost of Housing Competition.” The winner will receive a $250,000 award in program-related investment. Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation is also providing an additional $50,000 in grants to proposals that show innovation in lowering costs, or advance the best research in this area. The competition is seeking submissions from multidisciplinary teams that are creating multifamily affordable housing projects that improve neighborhoods and reduce traditional developmental and building costs. Proposals are due on Jan. 15. For competition guidelines and materials, go to www.loweringcost.com

DiamondRock purchases San Francisco hotel

DiamondRock Hospitality Co., a Bethesda-based hotel real estate investment trust, announced its acquisition of the fee simple interest in Hotel Rex, in the Union Square district of San Francisco, for $29.5 million. The 94-room, full-service, boutique hotel is managed by Joie de Vivre Hospitality LLC. DiamondRock said it intends that the hotel will continue operating as an independent boutique property, and it is evaluating room renovations and reconfiguring the public spaces to generate more revenue. DiamondRock, which recently sold the Westin Atlanta North hotel for $39.6 million, paid for the Hotel Rex acquisition through its existing corporate credit facility.

Norris Automotive buys former Ford site

KLNB Retail announced the sale of a 4.15-acre site on U.S. Route 40 in Ellicott City to the Norris Automotive Group for $4.9 million. The former Miller Motors Ford dealership closed in late 2008 when the Ford Motor Co. downsized nationally. The new owner plans to open a high-end automobile dealership that uses existing buildings with approximately 25,000 square feet of space, as well as support its existing Acura and Nissan dealerships in the area. Patrick A.M. Miller, principal of KLNB Retail, and Alan Coppola of NAI KLNB, represented both the buyer and the seller, the Miller Brothers family, in the transaction.

Korean church OK’d in Frederick County

(AP) A Korean-American church based in Silver Spring has won approval from the Frederick County Planning Commission for an 800-seat worship center near Sugarloaf Mountain, despite opposition from nearby residents. The panel voted 3-1 Wednesday to approve the Global Mission Church’s site plan, the Frederick New-Post reported. The project is a scaled-down version of a 1,200-seat church, three-story school and 500-seat dining hall proposed in 2009. State environmental regulators said that plan was too big for the proposed septic system. Some neighbors say the church is still too big. And the Audubon Naturalist Society says the view from Sugarloaf Mountain should not include a large church.

Storm didn’t delay O.C. Boardwalk rehab

(AP) A project to rebuild the Ocean City boardwalk remains on track despite the effects of Hurricane Sandy last month. City Engineer Terry McGean told the Daily Times of Salisbury that the project lost only two days to the storm and is still expected to be done in April. The storm certainly affected Ocean City, putting much of the downtown underwater and causing severe damage to an iconic fishing pier. But McGean said floodwaters never got into the worksite, and spared the existing Boardwalk. The project is rebuilding the Boardwalk between North Division and 15th Street.

Charm City Cupcakes expands to Owings Mills

Charm City Cupcakes owner Sandra Long has selected the Valley Village Shoppes in Owings Mills as the site of her fourth retail location. Long is a former deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development who decided in 2005 to follow her family tradition of baking (she is a fourth-generation baker), and opened her first store at the Harborplace pavilion. Other locations followed in the Mount Washington area and the main campus of the Johns Hopkins University. The cupcakes are baked fresh daily and come in 60 flavors. Long expects to open in the new location in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season. Valley Village Shoppes is a 48,000-square-foot retail center at 9101 Reisterstown Road, managed by David S. Brown Enterprises.

NewDay USA moving HQ in Fulton, but not very far

NewDay USA LLC, a nationwide VA, FHA and reverse mortgage lender, will move its Maryland headquarters a few doors down in the Maple Lawn area of Fulton, in Howard County. The company is moving from 8171 Maple Lawn Blvd. to a new, 60,000-square-foot facility at 8160 Maple Lawn Blvd. The move is being undertaken to accommodate the NewDay USA University, an educational and training center created for new and established mortgage banking professionals. The company expects to complete the move in early 2013. The new location also will give NewDay more room to grow. It estimates that its workforce will reach 1,000 by the end of 2013.

Cathedral Commons development gets underway in Washington

The partners in a joint venture held groundbreaking ceremonies on Thursday for Cathedral Commons, a mixed-use community in Washington that will include 137 apartments, eight townhomes, 128,000 square feet of retail and more than 500 parking spaces, all centered around a state-of-the-art Giant Food supermarket. The $130 million project is a joint venture among partners Greenbelt-based Bozzuto Development Co., Southside Investment Partners and Giant Food of Landover. Giant has maintained a store at the four-acre location on Wisconsin Avenue, Between Macomb Street and Idaho Avenue, in Northwest Washington, for more than 50 years. The new development will have a 56,000-square-foot Giant that more than triples the size of the previous store. Bozzuto Building Co, is the general contractor for the development, and the apartment homes will be managed by Bozzuto Management Co.

303 International Circle achieves LEED Silver certification for O&M

Merritt Properties LLC, a Baltimore-based full-service commercial real estate firm, announced that its property at 303 International Circle in Hunt Valley has been certified LEED-EB: O&M Silver (LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance) by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The 23-year-old office building was retrofitted by Merritt Properties to meet LEED sustainability standards. The LEED-EB: O&M rating system addresses all levels of a building’s operation, such as exterior building site management programs, water and energy use, environmentally preferred products and practices for cleaning and alterations, sustainable purchasing policies, waste stream management and ongoing indoor environmental quality. Merritt Purchased the 137,000-square-foot, Class A building in 2005, and from 2006 to 2007 made renovations to the lobbies and other common areas of the building.


Gambino named property manager at Water’s Edge campus in Belcamp

Ruth Gambino

Manekin LLC has promoted Ruth Gambino to property manager of the Water’s Edge Corporate Campus in Belcamp. For the past five years, Gambino has been an assistant property manager with Manekin, overseeing the management of 36 South Charles, a 25-story, Class A, high-rise office building in downtown Baltimore. Prior to joining Manekin, Gambino served as property management coordinator with Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc. The Water’s Edge complex, under development by Manekin and Alex Brown Realty Inc., is a 467,000-square-foot campus comprised of four mid-rise office buildings, four one-story office buildings, a restaurant, putting green, nature walk and fitness center.


The following recently signed leases were reported by Merritt Properties LLC:

* Domestic Linen Supply Co. Inc., a linen uniform service, leased 5,400 square feet of office and warehouse space at the Beltway Business Community, 3600 Commerce Drive, Suite 611-612, in Halethorpe. Mike Walsh of Cassidy Turley handled negotiations for the tenant. Merritt Properties was represented by its in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw.

* RE/MAX Advantage Realty, a full-service real estate brokerage, leased 5,753 square feet of office space at 729 E. Pratt St., in the Harbor East area of Baltimore. Charles Breitenother of KLNB represented RE/MAX. Merritt Properties was represented by its in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs.



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