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Real Estate Weekly – 8/9/13

Towson land parcel sold to Patient First

KLNB Retail has brokered the sale of a three-quarters of an acre parcel at 950 York Road in Towson to Patient First, which recently began construction on a new, 7,000-square-foot, free-standing urgent care facility on the site. KLNB Retail Principal Patrick A.M. Miller handled the negotiation on behalf of the Richmond-based company. Patient First expects to be operational at this facility by the end of this year. The former Towson Ford used-car lot and Towson Wash Mobile are located at the intersection of York Road and Fairmount Avenue, one traffic light south of the Baltimore Beltway. Patient First operates 45 urgent care facilities throughout the Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia marketplace, including 13 within the Greater Baltimore metropolitan region.

Leasing center opens at Metro Centre at Owings Mills

DSC_5941.JPG_webThe leasing center for Metro Crossing, the luxury apartment component of Metro Centre at Owings Mills, is now open on 10209 Grand Central Ave. within the mixed-use, Transit-Oriented Development) located in the Owings Mills sub-market of Baltimore County. Two five-story buildings, which cumulatively contain 56,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 232 market-rate apartment homes on the upper four floors, are now available for lease. The residential floor plans range in size from 700 to 1,245 square feet of space and feature one and two bedroom designs, an open, spacious kitchen with granite islands, stainless-steel appliances, designer lighting and fixture packages and nine-foot ceilings. Monthly rental rates begin at $1580. The initial 232 apartment homes comprise the first phase of the program that consists of 1,700 units at final completion. For additional information, visit www.metrocrossingapts.com or call 410-363-3309.

Retail building at Abingdon shopping center 100% leased

MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services of Lutherville announced that 3491 Merchant Boulevard, a two-story retail building in the Boulevard at Box Hill shopping center in Abingdon, is 100 percent leased, with six tenants occupying space since the building opened in September 2012. Signature tenant Spa on the Boulevard was joined by Accents Jewelry, ATI Physical Therapy, Pet Valu, Wild Birds Unlimited and Lemon N’ Ginger Asian Grille. ”With the continued signs of improvement in consumer spending and an overall confidence in the economy, The Boulevard at Box Hill is gaining momentum. The position of this project along Route 24 and Interstate 95 is proving to be a strong regional shopping destination and is drawing customers from a much larger trade area that is attractive to today’s growth-oriented retailers. The continued delivery of new retail space is providing for the right timing to meet this demand,” said MacKenzie Senior Vice President/Principal Thomas L. Fidler Jr.

Charlestown sees 121 apartment settlements in first half of 2013

Charlestown, a retirement community in Catonsville, marked a 21 percent increase in settlements of apartment homes for the first half of 2013, officials said. A total of 121 apartments were settled in the first half of 2013, compared to 100 for the same period the year before. Officials said a key factor in helping people move to Charlestown is an in-house realty services program that connects prospective residents with movers, real estate agents and move-in representatives. The program eases the often-arduous process of selling a home and smoothes the logistics management that accompanies a home sale.

Maryland company to build Pennsylvania power plant

Argan Inc., of Rockville, a developer and provider of energy facilities and services, said its wholly owned subsidiary, Gemma Power Systems LLC, has entered into an agreement with Vienna, Va.-based Moxie Patriot LLC, under which GPS will design and construct an 800-megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant for Moxie in Clinton Township, Lycoming County, Pa. The power plant has an estimated cost of more than $800 million, according to Moxie Patriot’s website. However, Argan said, whether the power plant will proceed depends on whether an unnamed third-party investor that has been funding certain preconstruction costs can secure permanent financing for the project.

Somerset recovery funds partially OK’d by HUD

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved a $4 million first phase of Maryland’s plan to help Somerset County residents recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the state Department of Housing and Community Development announced. This will bring to the county $3 million to help low- and moderate-income owner-occupants rehabilitate or replace their homes, and $1 million to assist small businesses that have unmet recovery needs. State officials are waiting for HUD to approve the remainder of the state’s $8.6 million request for Somerset County restoration. Nearly 1,000 homes in the county were damaged and families displaced when Hurricane Sandy hit the area last fall.

Host Hotels sees improved 2nd quarter

Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., of Bethesda, a lodging real estate investment trust that owns upscale and luxury full-service hotel properties, said its second-quarter Funds From Operations — a key measure of a REIT’s profitability — rose 29 percent on higher room rates and occupancy. FFO for the three-month period ended June 30, 2013, was $297 million, or 39 cents per diluted share, compared to $230 million, or 31 cents per diluted share, in the prior-year period. Excluding special items and one-time charges, FFO totaled 45 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet had forecast FFO of 42 cents per share. Revenue rose to $1.42 billion, up 7 percent from the 2012 period’s $1.33 billion.

Waterway improvement grants are available

The Watershed Assistance Collaborative, a partnership of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the University of Maryland, is providing funding and on the ground assistance to Maryland communities seeking to carry out projects to improve their local waterways. Created by the collaborative, the Watershed Assistance Grant Program — open to nonprofit organizations, community associations, faith-based groups, local governments and more — is currently providing up to $50,000 per applicant to improve water quality in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and in the Maryland coastal bays. Grant applications are being accepted until 5 p.m. on Aug. 30. For information and to apply online, go to http://www.cbtrust.org/site/c.miJPKXPCJnH/b.5457627/k.463C/Watershed_Assistance.htm/.

FCP sells its interest in National Cancer Institute building

Federal Capital Partners, a privately held real estate investment company based in Chevy Chase, announced the sale of its partnership interest in the National Cancer Institute building at Riverside Research Park in Frederick, to its development partner, The Matan Cos., a Frederick-based commercial real estate development firm. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The two companies formed a venture in 2010 to complete the financing for the development of the 332,000-square-foot Advanced Technology Research Facility and delivered the shell of the state-of-the art office and laboratory facility in March of 2011. The facility is the only federally funded research and development center in the country focused exclusively on biomedical research and development.

Bankruptcy judge rules against Turner

Baltimore developer Patrick Turner’s $225 million lawsuit against a Las Vegas investment firm and three Las Vegas-based developers, whom he accused of attempting to take control of his 43-acre Westport waterfront development, has been dismissed by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Baltimore. The Baltimore Business Journal reported the action by Judge Robert A. Gordon on July 23 is but the latest round in a long-running battle by Turner and his investment partners, who are seeking to refinance a loan extended by Citibank, after the lender filed a foreclosure action in November. Meanwhile, a bankruptcy filing by Turner himself on the so-called Inner Harbor West development is still wending its way through bankruptcy court.

Bechtel Power finishes Alberta project

Bechtel Corp., one of the world’s largest engineering and construction companies, said its power division, headquartered in Frederick, announced it completed the Hanna Region Transmission Development project in Alberta, Canada, on schedule and under budget. The project to expand and upgrade Atco Electric’s electrical transmission system and infrastructure in Alberta included stringing 219 miles of transmission lines, constructing more than 1,200 new transmission towers, building six new substations and upgrading 12 substations. The company is now working on Atco Electric’s Eastern Alberta Transmission Line project, involving the construction of approximately 300 miles of high voltage, direct current transmission line.

Downtown Management Authority opposes Harbor Point tax proposal

The Downtown Management Authority of Baltimore on Tuesday said its board voted to oppose the tax-increment financing, or TIF, proposed for the Harbor Point complex planned by the Beatty Development Group for Exelon Corp.’s regional headquarters. The TIF is supported by key city leaders, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. In a lengthy statement, the DMA said it did not make the decision to oppose the TIF lightly, and debated the issue “for quite some time.” Basically, the DMA said it opposes the TIF to benefit the Beatty group because it wants a downtown TIF that it proposed but which city officials rejected in favor of the Harbor Point development.

Howard County EDA names executive v.p.

The Howard County Economic Development Authority said it has hired a veteran economic development official as executive vice president of business development. Vernon Thompson, formerly executive director of the Cecil County Office of Economic Development, and deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, took the Howard County post on Monday. Thompson has over 27 years of experience in the field of economic development. He succeeds Lawrence Twele in the No. 2 county economic development agency job. Twele became the CEO of the county EDA in March, following Laura Neuman’s being named to the post of Anne Arundel County Executive.

Federal funds aid affordable housing

Seven affordable housing developments in Maryland will receive grants totaling more than $3 million from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta to build or repair 693 housing units in Baltimore city, and Baltimore, Frederick and Cecil counties. The funds were announced Thursday by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. The funds will be dispensed by area banking institutions like Bank of America, BB&T and Capital One. Those receiving grants are Benet House Apartments in Baltimore, $450,000; North Street Senior Apartments in Elkton, $500,000; Riverwoods at North East, $500,000; The Parklands at Cecilton, $500,000; Seton Village in Emmitsburg, $400,000; Day Village in Dundalk, $255,555; and Hollins Place in Baltimore, $400,000.

Walker & Dunlop’s profit soars

Walker & Dunlop Inc., of Bethesda, a real estate lender focused on multifamily loans, said its second-quarter net income rose 52.5 percent to $14.5 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, from $9.3 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, in the 2012 quarter. The number of outstanding shares rose by 12.5 million year-to-year, diluting the earnings. Revenue surged to $90.7 million from $46.7 million in the prior-year period. The company attributed the gain in revenue and profit to increases in loan origination volume and servicing fees. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast, on average, earnings of 55 cents per share on revenue of $95.18 million.

PERSONNEL 

Gary Simpson

Dewberry, a Fairfax, Va.-based provider of architectural, engineering, and management and consulting services, promoted Gary Simpson to senior associate in its Lanham office. Simpson is the Maryland operations survey manager, as well as the director of survey technology for the company. He has more than 32 years of experience in the field of surveying, and has worked on projects of all sizes, from city lots to several-thousand-acre undertakings. Simpson has associate degrees in forest management and land surveying from West Virginia’s Glenville State College. He is a member of the International Right of Way Association, the Maryland Society of Surveyors, the District of Columbia Association of Land Surveyors, the West Virginia Society of Professional Surveyors, the Virginia Association of Surveyors and the Surveying Historical Society.

LEASES 

Baltimore Gateway Office Building Exterior ImageSickle Cell Disease Association of America Inc. signed a lease with St. John Properties Inc. for 2,714 square feet of space at Baltimore Gateway, a five-story, 100,000-square-foot office building at 3700 Koppers St. in Baltimore. Matt Lenihan of St. John Properties represented the landlord, and Richard Fields and Spencer Daw of NAI KLNB represented the tenant in this transaction. The building, the former corporate headquarters of Environmental Elements Corp., was acquired last year by St. John Properties, which undertook an extensive renovation. SCDAA plans to relocate its operations from 231 E. Baltimore St. in Baltimore. Earlier this year, Bombardier Transportation, an affiliate of Bombardier Inc., the Montreal-based manufacturer of airplanes and trains, signed a lease for 6,039 square feet of space at Baltimore Gateway, and is presently in the process of moving 100 employees into the building. Between Bombardier and SCDAA, the building is now 25 percent leased.

MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services said BA/CH Polymers LLC signed a lease for 2,500 square feet of office space at 111 Chinquapin Round Road in Annapolis. Trish Farrell, vice president of MacKenzie, represented the landlord in the transaction. Randy Miller of CB Commercial represented the tenant. The building is owned by a partnership of The Bernstein Cos. and Union Realty Partners Inc., and is currently 80 percent occupied. Approximately 7,000 square feet of loft/showroom space is available for lease.

Merritt Properties LLC reported that Direct Energy US Home Services Inc., an HVAC contractor, leased 14,100 square feet of office and warehouse space at Baltimore Commons, 7484 Candlewood Road, in Hanover. Scott Wingrat of Cresa represented the tenant. Also, Jailbreak Brewing Co. LLC, a microbrewery, leased 10,200 square feet of space at 9445 Washington Blvd., in Hanover, for use as a brew house and distillery. Jailbreak was represented by James Cahill of Jones Lang LaSalle, In both transactions, Merritt Property’s in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Liz Tarran-Jones, Vince Bagli and Steve Shaw represented the landlord.

Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC, of Timonium, reported the following recently completed transactions:

* Debtless Community Foundation leased 10,400 square feet of office space at 435 Maryland Ave. in Essex. Patrick M. Smith and David R. Paulson of Blue & Obrecht Realty represented the Landlord, CUZ II LP LLLP. Steve Cornblatt of Trout Daniel & Associates represented the tenant.

* Dr. Edwin Aguilar, a pediatrician, purchased a medical office condo totaling 2,956 square feet at 6830 Hospital Drive, Unit 206, in Rosedale. Patrick M. Smith and Paul F. Obrecht III of Blue & Obrecht Realty LLC represented the sellers, Myo and Khin Thant. Anthony Gross of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services represented the purchaser.

* Sinclair Broadcasting Group Inc. leased 11,715 square feet of office space at Lakefront III, located at 180 Lakefront Drive in Hunt Valley. Richard F. Blue Jr. and Patrick M. Smith of Blue & Obrecht Realty represented the tenant. Lizzy Sweeney of Cassidy Turley represented the landlord.

* Abel Communications Inc., a public relations and marketing communications agency, leased 3,316 square feet of office space at 3355 Keswick Road in Baltimore. David R. Paulson of Blue & Obrecht Realty represented the tenant and Ben Frederick represented the landlord.

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