Real Estate Weekly – 3/8/13

Siena School enters a new era

The Siena School, of Silver Spring, a school for bright, college-bound students with language-based learning differences, such as dyslexia, is celebrating the opening of a new building, marking the completion of a multimillion-dollar, seven-month renovation that gives it more than twice the space of its former building. The renovated structure, the former Boys and Girls Club of Silver Spring, features a full-sized gymnasium, two art rooms, a photography darkroom, a science lab, outdoor playing fields and a playground. The school currently has 80 students in grades 4-12, and anticipates growing to 110 students, with expansion potential up to 225 youngsters.

Glen Burnie apartment complex acquired

Morgan Properties, of King of Prussia, Pa., a real estate investment, development and management company, and Dune Real Estate Partners LP, of New York, have formed a joint venture partnership to acquire Chesapeake Glen, a 796-unit multifamily apartment community in Glen Burnie. The seller was Chicago-based Equity Residential. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The garden apartment complex, originally built by the Artery Group in phases in 1973 and 1977, has twice renovated its interior spaces. The new owners said they plan “to address [the development’s] capital needs and complete interior unit renovations,” but gave no details.

Princess Anne mulls historic district

(AP) Officials in Princess Anne are making a new effort to establish a historic district in the town. Even though a section of town is listed on the National Register of Historic Place, town officials have never formally adopted historic district boundaries. The Daily Times of Salisbury reported that a five-member Historic District Commission has drafted an ordinance that establishes boundaries matching the ones drawn for the National Register. Though historic districts often come with rules or restrictions on what changes owners may make to their properties, officials hope a formal historic district in town will be good for economic development.

Areva relocating headquarters to N.C.

Areva, a provider of technology and services for nuclear energy and electrical transmission and distribution, said it is relocating its North American headquarters from Bethesda to Charlotte, N.C. The Paris, France-based company, which is controlled by the French government, announced it will add 130 positions over the next four years to its Charlotte operational center, already that city’s largest engineering firm with more than 300 licensed professional engineers among its total workforce of 562 employees. In connection with the move, the company received a Job Development Investment Grant, valued at up to $2.5 million over nine years, from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

GICA extends farmers’ survey deadline

The Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission for Agriculture has extended until March 15 the deadline for farmers to respond to its voluntary online survey, which is designed to determine how Maryland farmers’ experiences with county zoning and permitting and health regulations have impacted their businesses. Farmers can take the survey at https://mdamarketing.wufoo.com/forms/gica/. GICA, which launched the survey in response to concerns expressed by farmers, will share the findings with the Maryland Association of Counties and ask for input into survey results. GICA will then convene a workgroup to develop recommendations. For more information, contact Joanna Kille at joanna.kille@maryland.gov or 410-841-5880.

Transit center’s problems mount

(AP) A Montgomery County Council member says engineers have found more problems at the troubled Silver Spring Transit Center beyond previously disclosed issues with the thickness and strength of its concrete. Council member Roger Berliner, the chairman of the council’s transportation committee, said the council will be briefed next week in a closed session about the findings of a new engineering report. He told WRC-TV that the latest problems involve the long-term durability of the building, not its safety. Foulger-Pratt, the principal contractor on the project, says the building is structurally sound. The bus-and-train hub is already more than two years behind schedule and $80 million over budget.

Walker & Dunlop boosts 4Q earnings

Walker & Dunlop Inc., of Bethesda, a real estate lender focused on multifamily loans, posted net income of $11.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, a 4.8 percent increase over the $11 million net income for the year-ago quarter. However, earnings per share decreased, to 34 cents per diluted share from 50 cents per share in the 2011 period, a drop of 32 percent. Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $105.5 million from $47.6 million in the prior-year period. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had on average forecast earnings per share of 62 cents on revenue of $104.6 million. The company attributed both the increase in revenue and the drop in earnings per share to the income from and expenses of its acquisition of a rival firm, Washington, D.C.-based CWCapital.

Board of Public Works OKs water grants

The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved more than $16 million in funding for eight water-related projects around the state. The projects are aimed at reducing pollution and improving water quality by upgrading wastewater treatment plants, reducing polluted stormwater runoff and improving a wastewater collection system to prevent sewage overflows; improving energy efficiency at a wastewater treatment plant; promoting water conservation through the use of new water meters; and improving infrastructure by upgrading an aging drinking water distribution system. Recipients of the grants are located in St. Mary’s, Somerset, Allegany (three projects), Anne Arundel (two projects) and Carroll counties.

Easement protects historic property

Mt. Welcome, a National Register historic property in Granite, a community in western Baltimore County, will be perpetually preserved from development through a conservation easement donated by the original owner’s family, to be held by the Maryland Environmental Trust and Maryland Historical Trust. The conservation easement protects a historic mid-18th century farmstead, manor, family cemetery and out-buildings, as well as 71 acres of scenic fields and woodlands. The easement includes 17 acres of agricultural land, 46 acres of woodlands and a portion of Granite Branch, a tributary to the Patapsco River. There are nearly 500 acres of protected lands within one mile of the property.

Distribution center tenant renews lease

Terreno Realty Corp., of San Francisco, a publicly traded real estate company focused on industrial real estate, said the tenant of a large distribution center it owns in Savage has renewed its lease for 10 years. The tenant, Maines Paper & Food Service Inc., a Conklin, N.Y-based foodservice supplier with nine distribution centers nationwide, occupies the entire 98,745-square-foot building at 8730 Bollman Place. Terreno acquired the property in 2011 for approximately $7.5 million, according to published reports. Terreno owns and operates industrial real estate in six major coastal U.S. markets, including Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Seattle and Miami.

Crisfield wind turbine gets funding

Maryland’s Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved $3.6 million for a wind power project in Crisfield, clearing the way for construction to begin. The board approved a $3.2 million grant and a $453,000 loan for the project. The grant forgives a state loan for the project, which would provide power to Crisfield’s sewage treatment plant. The turbine is expected to save the city $150,000 to $200,000 a year. The Crisfield City Council awarded a construction contract for the turbine in January. An engineer hired by the city had said that construction was expected to take nine months after approval by the Board of Public Works.

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