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Dundalk on the rise

Dundalk, once the butt of Baltimore jokes for its remote location and colorful characters, is finally getting its close-up.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and community types there are touting the development of new retail and residential opportunities, even as Towson is undergoing a major facelift on the county’s north side.

“Private developers see the strength of Dundalk as a great place to invest, especially in retail,” Kamenetz said Thursday in a statement. “Dundalk is truly seeing a boom in new shopping and business services.”

Artois Retail, now working on a redevelopment of the 1960s-style Merritt Park Shopping Center, along with Baltimore-based Regional Management Inc., predicts that the number of households on the Dundalk peninsula is expected to grow to 9,170 in the next four years, up from today’s figure of 6,623. The average income in the eastern county enclave is about $75,000 per household.

Nearby, in the Merritt Manor Shopping Center, new owner Continental Realty Corp., of Baltimore, plans to add to the offerings there that presently include Gold’s Gym, Hair Cuttery, an M&T Bank branch, and Sherwin Williams.

At the site of the former North Point Drive-In, K. Hovnanian Homes is planning to build a 108-unit townhouse residential development called The Townes at North Point. Next door, St. John Properties is planning a 10,000-square-foot retail space. Another residential community, The Greens at Logan Field, will target seniors to live in 84 single bedroom and 18 two-bedroom apartments to be located on the 3-acre former site of a World War I municipal airstrip. Columbia-based Enterprise Homes will be the developer of The Greens at Logan Field.

“It is really exciting to see all of this private investment in Dundalk,” County Councilman John Olszewski Sr., whose district encompasses Dundalk, said in a statement. “The private sector is recognizing what those of us who have lived here for years have always known — Dundalk is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

CareFirst of Maryland Inc. recently inked a lease for just over 26,000 square feet of office space on two floors of BECO Tower One in Owings Mills, Beco Management Inc. officials said this week.

The health care insurer’s lease means that it will remain in the Owings Mills Corporate Center at 10451 Mill Run Circle.

Beco Management recently acquired the two high-rise landmark towers at the site and commenced $15 million in renovations and upgrades over the past six months. Together, the towers hold 330,000 square feet of Class A space.

“We spent a lot of time interviewing and surveying our tenants so that we could focus on changing the most important factors of their experience in the buildings,” Levi Cohen, asset manager at Beco Management, said in a statement. “With upgrades ranging from a new HVAC system to amenities like a BECO Fitness center and a 110-person conference room, I am confident that we will continue to exceed the expectations of our new and current tenants.”

Real estate broker Alex Lassar of Jones Lang LaSalle represented CareFirst, while Gary Applestein of Colliers International was the leasing rep for Beco Management.

Late last month, officials of Garrison Investment Group LP closed on the sale of the nearly 402,000-square-foot Towson Commons building in the heart of the county seat.

The sale ended a roller coaster ride in ownership and controversy for the hulking office and retail space that faces York Road and has been sadly vacant on the retail side for several years.

That is about to change, though.

LA Fitness is moving into what once was a multiplex movie theatre at the development. Workers are now retrofitting the space that once held cinematic tales of love, loss and everything in between to modern workout rooms exercise class areas.

Last month, General Dynamics Information Technology unveiled plans to expand its workspace there, too. The company signed a lease renewal for 146,000 square feet of space, up 25,000 square feet from what it currently leases there.

Retail tenants are expected to be announced in the coming months as the new owners work to reinvent what was once considered a white elephant in the center of Towson. Former owners Capmark Financial Inc. bought the Commons at foreclosure in 2011 for $28 million.

The Center for Neurology at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center recently completed an expansion that includes a 3,400-square-foot neurology suite with five exam rooms, physician office space, a new waiting area and electric imaging area.

Merritt Construction Services was the general contractor for the interior build-out that also included an expansion of portions of the parking area at the suburban medical complex located at 6701 N. Charles St.

The work follows a project that wrapped up at GBMC in January that included a first-floor renovation of the hospital and the relocation of the respiratory therapy unit to the fifth floor.

Mullan Contracting Co. was recently chosen by Annapolis-based Righttime Medical Care to build the company’s first “after hours” medical facility in Frederick.

Righttime’s latest venture (the company has nine locations at present) will be located at Market Square, a mixed-use development now under construction at the intersection of Route 26 and Worman’s Mill Road that also includes HomeGoods, PetSmart, Sport & Health, Buffalo Wild Wings and Noodles & Co. The clinic, an alternative to the hospital emergency room, is expected to open this fall and will operate from 7 a.m. to midnight, 365 days a week.

A similar clinic under the flag of Patient First, is under construction on York Road, near Fairmount Avenue. The hours there will be 8 a.m. through 10 p.m., also 365 days a year.

TIDBITS: Sonic is coming to Timonium. The fast food chain known for its quirky commercials, limeades and Tater Tots, will soon open a franchise in the 2000 block of York Road…Bozzuto Management Co., of Greenbelt, was recently selected to market and manage the 458-unit Apartments at CityCenter in Washington. The development is a luxury mixed-use project set to open later this summer or early fall…Scheer Partners, of Rockville, recently appointed real estate veteran Marek Rich a vice president…Chesapeake Realty Partners said this week that their residential project at 1901 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, the first wood-framed residential rental community in the city to gain such status…Schematic designs for a new mixed-use development at 325 W. Baltimore St. downtown will be presented July 18 to the city’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel. It will be the first glimpse of the latest renewal on the West Side, as presented by developer Howard Brown, president of David S. Brown Enterprises of Owings Mills. Curry Architects is developing the plans.