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Real Estate Weekly – 9/13/13

Mullan completes renovation of Jesuit middle school

Mullan Contracting Co., of Lutherville, has completed construction and renovation work at Saint Ignatius Loyola Academy, an independent Jesuit middle school for boys that moved from its former location on North Calvert Street to a 27,000-square-foot building, the former Catholic Community School, at 300 E. Gittings St. in Baltimore’s Federal Hill. Work included the upgrade of all classrooms, science laboratories, the gymnasium and the library-media center. The newly renovated space is approximately twice as large as the school’s old building on Calvert Street. The school accepts only students from low-income families, who are not charged tuition.

COPT joint venture to gain from planned hotel in Alabama

Corporate Office Properties Trust, a Columbia-based office real estate investment trust, announced that a Marriott TownPlace Suites hotel will be built on a 3.1-acre parcel in Redstone Gateway, a 4.2 million-square-foot business and industrial development park of 52 buildings being built on property owned by Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. The hotel developer, Redstone Hospitality LLC, which is not an affiliate of COPT, will pay LW Redstone Co. LLC, a joint venture between COPT and Jim Wilson & Associates LLC, a ground rent in accordance with a ground lease between the two parties. The developer expects to break ground before March 31, 2014, and to complete construction approximately one year later. The hotel, to be built to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard, will contain approximately 125 guest rooms, a breakfast area, meeting rooms, a fitness and health facility, indoor pool and other amenities.

Merritt starts construction of White Marsh athletic club Merritt Athletic Clubs, of Woodlawn, announced it has started construction on a new, 45,000-square-foot facility at 5301 Campbell Blvd. in White Marsh. The new “super” club, which is being developed by Merritt Construction Services, will open in spring 2014 and will feature a state-of-the-art outdoor aquatics center with an Olympic-style pool, family fun pool and kiddy pool. Other amenities include a dynamic kids club with an interactive play maze and party room, a restaurant/café, saunas, a cardio theater room, and three separate fitness studios for yoga, cycling and group exercise. The fitness floor will feature the latest in technology and equipment to give members a full workout experience. A preview center will open on the site later this fall. Merritt’s currently owns and operates nine athletic clubs located in downtown, Fort Avenue and Canton in Baltimore city, Towson, Woodlawn, Owings Mills, Cockeysville, Hanover and Eldersburg.

Owings Mills celebrates completion of Dolfield Blvd.’s final section

Baltimore County elected officials headed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz joined Owings Mills area community and business leaders and officials of the county Department of Public Works on Thursday to celebrate the official opening of the final section of Dolfield Boulevard connecting Reisterstown Road to Lakeside Boulevard. The $6.5 million road project extends the popular and heavily used roadway its final half-mile, providing a much-needed connection between the Reisterstown Road corridor and the Owings Mills Town Center and Red Run Boulevard business community. The four-lane roadway is expected to ease long-standing traffic congestion. Construction was completed in just one year — about half of the estimated construction schedule — due to a mild winter and an unusually fair spring and summer.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation awards housing grants to nonprofits

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced $203,000 in housing grants to 10 Baltimore-area nonprofits to help individuals and families achieve and sustain financial stability. The foundation said the investments will help improve access to affordable housing, preserve neighborhoods, provide financial education and coaching for future homeowners, and support organizations and initiatives that contribute to the success of local communities. Those receiving grants are Belair-Edison Neighborhoods Inc.; Healthy Neighborhoods Inc.; St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center Inc.; Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers; Baltimore Museum of Art; Comprehensive Housing Assistance; Govans Ecumenical Development Corp.; Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake; Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna; and Neighborhood Housing Services.

20 buildings built by St. John Properties have earned LEED certifications St. John Properties Inc., of Baltimore, announced that 8160 Maple Lawn Blvd., a four-story, 105,000-square-foot Class A office building in the Maple Lawn Business Community in Howard County, has earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This marks St. John’s 20th certification from the USGBC for satisfying Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design requirements and elements in the construction of commercial office buildings. The buildings, totaling more than 1 million square feet of commercial office space, are located in five different counties in Maryland, and have all been constructed since 2009. Nineteen of the 20 have earned either Gold or Silver certification.

MacKenzie Commercial representing

Williams Scotsman building in White Marsh MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services LLC, of Lutherville, announced that F. Joseph Bradley III, a MacKenzie vice president, has been selected by Baltimore-based Blue Ocean Realty to represent the former Williams Scotsman building at 8211 Town Center Drive in White Marsh. The 70,000-square-foot building, currently vacant, is adjacent to The Avenue and White Marsh Mall. Blue Ocean Realty purchased the property, along with 201 N. Charles St. in downtown Baltimore, and 6901 Security Plaza at the crossroads of Interstates 695 and 70 in Woodlawn. The three-story, former Williams Scotsman building in White Marsh is undergoing renovation, with changes to the façade and lobby areas nearing completion. “This building is an ideal fit for a large firm looking for an employee-friendly location to grow and maintain a productive workforce,” said Bradley.

College of Southern Maryland dedicates new building at Prince Frederick Campus

The College of Southern Maryland dedicated its newest building Tuesday at the Prince Frederick Campus. Building B adds 30,000 square feet of space with 3,000 square feet dedicated to a multipurpose room for hosting conferences, lectures, cultural events and concerts, and 3,000 square feet dedicated to the Center for Nuclear Energy Training. In addition, there is classroom space, faculty and staff offices, a student lounge, computer lab, conference room, health care program lab and tutoring rooms. “The building is designed to meet at least [LEED] silver level certification but we are trying for gold status,” said CSM Vice President Richard Fleming, who as dean of the Prince Frederick Campus served as project lead for the construction. “This will be only the second LEED-certified building in Calvert County.” The building features the only green roofs in Calvert County, which help with water runoff and energy efficiency. All of the HVAC and electrical systems are computer-controlled so the building is constantly monitoring itself and making automatic changes in energy and lighting usage and in air quality control. The building uses recycled materials and almost all of the construction waste is recycled.

AE Productions opens new video studio

AE Productions LLC, of Silver Spring, a provider of video production services, added a full-service video and television production studio and facility to its operation. The facility includes high-definition cameras, two broadcast studios, captioning and transcription equipment, and fiber conductivity, green screen-ready, editing suites and streaming services, as well as seminar and conference room rental space. The company hosted an open house on Thursday to show off its new capabilities. AE Productions provides production services to large sports facilities, network and cable television providers, large and small businesses and corporations, nonprofits and government agencies.

APG interchange reconstruction hailed

Completion of an important highway interchange near Aberdeen Proving Ground brought Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and other state and federal and county officials to Harford County on Monday. The reconstruction of the US 40/MD 715 interchange and roadway widening project leading to the entrance of APG in Harford County cost about $33 million and employed more than 300 workers during the three-year construction period. The reconstruction took on added necessity after hundreds of civilian and military personnel moved to the area of the Army base as a result of the Base Realignment and Closing, or BRAC, process. The project is part of a $129 million state effort to improve roadways leading to APG.

Sky Zone makes debut in Howard County

Howard County officials, headed by County Executive Ken Ulman, held a ceremonial ribbon cutting Friday for Sky Zone, a new trampoline park in Columbia, and the first in the state of Maryland. The privately owned facility is part of a national franchise chain headquartered in California. Sky Zone features three dodge ball courts, one main court, a foam zone and a SkyJam area, with basketball hoops of various heights for slam dunks. The facility will open to the public next week, and has already hired 80 people for its opening, with intentions to have over 130 employees when fully staffed.

Annapolis’ Market House reopens

Annapolis’ historic Market House officially reopened on Sept. 7 with eight new businesses. The market includes a smoothie bar, a gelateria and a seafood and oyster bar. Also open is Amsterdam Falafelshop, which also has a location in the District of Columbia. Market House has been plagued by problems over the past decade, including damage from Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003 and legal disputes with prior tenants. Officials said they’ve now improved the air conditioning of the building, which previously could become very hot.

UMES plans to install two wind turbines

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore plans to install two wind turbines with enough power to fuel hundreds of homes to serve as instruments for student and faculty research, The Daily Times of Salisbury reported. G. Dale Wesson, UMES’ vice president for research and economic development, said the university is negotiating the project through the Hawk Corp. research foundation with Eastern Shore Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based National Renewable Solutions. Wesson said plans call for two, 2-megawatt turbines capable of supplying direct electrical power to meet campus utility needs. Specific details such as the turbines’ height and location will be announced after an agreement is reached.

Real Hospitality Group to manage Dunes hotels

Real Hospitality Group, of Ocean City, a provider of property management and business development services for hotels, resorts and similar properties, announced it has been selected by Genesar Inc., of Ocean City, the owner of the 170-room Dunes Manor Hotel and the 111-room Dunes Motel, to manage the properties, both located in Ocean City. RHG will work with Genesar on long-term planning for the assets, and to capitalize on an extensive renovation program completed earlier this year. RHG manages 41 hotel properties containing 5,564 rooms in such locations as New York, Philadelphia, Morgantown, W.Va., Glen Falls and Montauk, N.Y., and Ocean City.

Ritz-Carlton unveils expansion plans

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. LLC, a luxury hotel brand headquartered in Chevy Chase, announced a major expansion and development initiative to add 20 hotels and resorts to its portfolio by 2016, raising the number of Ritz-Carlton branded properties to 100 worldwide. The plan will expand the brand to urban capitals and emerging tourist destinations, ranging from Morocco to Japan, and from Israel to India. Six new Ritz-Carlton hotels are scheduled to open in the last quarter of this year, including properties in Chengdu and Tianjin, China; on the Caribbean island of Aruba, and in three new countries: Herzliya, Israel; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Bangalore, India.

LEASES 

Merritt Properties LLC reported the following recently signed leases

* Grid One Solutions Inc., a utility metering services company, leased 8,400 square feet of warehouse space at 10711 Red Run Blvd. in Owings Mills.

* Lucky Day Furniture Installation LLC, a furniture installation company, leased 6,300 square feet of warehouse and office space (5,500 warehouse, 800 office) at 4240 Shannon Drive in Baltimore.

* Starline Industries Inc., a window manufacturer and distributor, leased 10,925 square feet of warehouse and office space (9,925 warehouse, 1,000 office) at 4240 Shannon Drive in Baltimore.

In all three of these transactions, Merritt Properties, the landlord, was represented by its in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs. The tenants’ representatives were not disclosed.

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