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Real Estate Weekly – 9/27/13

Excellence in Community Development

Award winners announced by home builders The Land Development Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland announced the winners of its Excellence in Community Development Awards last week. The program recognizes development professionals who provide superior and creative projects that are sensitive to the community and make appropriate use of the existing natural elements. Richard Moore, retired chairman and president of Gaylord Brooks Investment Co., received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Individual awards were presented to David Murphy of Elm Street Development, who received the Rising Star Award; Howard Perlow of Residential Title, Consultant of the Year Award; Chickie Grayson of Enterprise Homes, Developer of the Year; and Bill McGrew of HTI Contracting, Contractor of the Year. The Trails at Beech Creek in Harford County, developed by Clark Turner Cos., was named the Project of the Year. Awards of Excellence went to Humphrey Development for Reservoir Ridge in Eldersburg; Elm Street Development for Odenton Gateway; Bozzuto Homes for Uptown at Murray Hill in Annapolis; and Orchard Development for Orchard Meadows at North Ridge in Ellicott City.

Black Oak Associates acquires Greensboro, N.C., shopping center

Hicone_-_Press_Release_PictureBlack Oak Associates, an Owings Mills-based commercial real estate development and investment group, acquired Hicone Shopping Center, a 90,000-square-foot grocery-anchored shopping center in Greensboro, N.C. The purchase price was $7.2 million. Anchored by Food Lion and CVS, the shopping center is over 85 percent leased and has additional pad acreage for future development. The acquisition is the first in Black Oak Associates’ latest investment funding vehicle, Black Oak IV. Black Oak assumed existing debt financing from John Hancock Life Insurance Co. to complete the transaction. Black Oak currently owns 14 shopping centers containing approximately 2 million square feet in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.

Theater owner plans 12-screen movie house in St. Mary’s County

R/C Theatres has signed a letter of intent with St. John Properties Inc. to construct a 12-screen, 45,000-square-foot movie theatre at Lexington Exchange, a planned mixed-use development in St. Mary’s County. The Baltimore-based theatre management company anticipates opening the 2,400-seat, state-of-the-art movie complex by the third quarter of 2014, contingent on obtaining financial incentive from St. Mary’s County. Lexington Exchange is St. John Properties’ first project in St. Mary’s County. The 140-acre mixed-use project is configured to support nearly 350,000 square feet of flex office space, combined with opportunities for “big-box” retail uses and complementary retailers. A number of pad sites are also integrated into the design that are suitable for fast-casual restaurant, financial institution, gas station and pharmacy uses. Lexington Exchange is within minutes from Patuxent Naval Air Station, a facility that employs more than 20,000 workers. Baltimore-based SJPI is a full-service development and management company that owns and has developed more than 17 million square feet of office, R&D/flex, retail and warehouse space throughout seven states.

Mahan Rykiel Associates bring the beach to Hampden

Mahan Rykiel Associates’ staff who constructed the firm’s beach scene on 36th Street in Hampden are, front row from left, Ryan Cosgrove, Alice Jones, Katie Vocke, Ryan Johnson, Monica Johnson, Joe McGinley and Travis D’Onofrio; and back row from left, Cherisse Otis and JoAnn Trach-Tongson.

Mahan Rykiel Associates, a Baltimore-based landscape architectural, urban design and planning firm, last week turned two parking spaces on The Avenue (36th Street) in Hampden into a beach scene, complete with sand, dune grass, umbrellas, chaise lounges, benches and fishing (in a kiddy pool), and invited passers-by to “spend some time at the beach.” That was the firm’s contribution to “PARK(ing) Day,” an effort by artists, urban designers, environmentalists and just plain folks in cities around the world to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into parks and other public gathering places. Since its start in 2004 in San Francisco, PARK(ing) Day has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement. For this year’s event on Sept. 20, there were more than 975 “PARK” installations in more than 160 cities in 35 countries on six continents.

Moderate Income Housing program enrollment to open in Howard County

Howard County Housing will begin accepting applications for the October enrollment period for the county’s Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) program on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The open enrollment period will end Thursday, Oct. 31. The MIHU program is an inclusionary zoning program that requires developers of new housing in certain zoning districts to sell or rent a percentage of the new dwelling units to households of moderate income. The program offers quality new homes at reduced sale prices and rents to income-eligible individuals and families. HCH will hold an “MIHU Buyers and Renters Workshop” on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive in Columbia to explain the program’s eligibility requirements and application process for prospective homebuyers and renters. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland and Delaware Inc. will also be on hand to present information regarding the importance of credit scores for buying or renting a home. For more information or to register for the workshop, contact HCH’s Homeownership Division at 410-313-6318 and select option 4.

NAIOP Maryland slates conference on legislative and regulatory issues

NAIOP Maryland, a trade association for commercial real estate professionals, has scheduled a Legislative and Regulatory Conference for Monday, Oct. 7, at the Marriott Inner Harbor hotel at 700 Aliceanna St. in Baltimore, starting at 8 a.m. The event is approved for three hours of Continuing Education credits by the Maryland Real Estate Commission. The conference is designed to explain methods for commercial real estate development, management and investment companies to better navigate taxes, fees and regulations in Maryland. The program will also provide information on how to reduce tax and fee exposure and prepare for upcoming changes to Maryland’s land development regulations. For additional information or to RSVP, visit www.naiopmd.org, e-mail kates@naiopmd.org or call 410-986-9429.

Delmar to have outdoor amphitheater

(AP) Construction is underway for a 7,000-seat outdoor concert venue in Delmar, a town in Wicomico County. The 30-acre site will be named The Amphitheater at Heron Ponds. Doug Marshall, the owner of the property, said he expects the venue will be up and running in about two to three years. It will host a variety of entertainment events, including concerts, festivals, theater, sports and auto shows. However, residents don’t have to wait to enjoy entertainment. Beginning this Friday, drive-in movies will be shown every Friday and Saturday during the construction period, at a cost of $10 per car.

New sustainable communities earmarked

Maryland housing and planning officials have designated five more “Sustainable Community Areas” under the state’s Sustainable Communities Act of 2010. Sustainable Communities seek to conserve resources; provide green spaces and parks for recreation and agriculture; offer many options for transportation; use natural and cultural resources wisely for future generations; and consider the social and economic needs of all residents. Designated communities are eligible for such resources as state tax credits. The five new areas, which join 33 areas already designated, are Town of Federalsburg (Caroline County), the Town of Bel Air (Harford County), the Town of Leonardtown (St. Mary’s County), the City of Crisfield (Somerset County), and six communities in Calvert County.

Foundation expands school library funds

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, of Baltimore, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, announced it is providing an additional $5 million for up to 12 more public school library renovations as part of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project. Including the foundation’s current $5 million commitment for 12 libraries by 2015, the Weinberg Foundation now has committed a total of $10 million for as many as 24 new public school libraries. The Library Project coincides with Baltimore City Public Schools’ work to provide its school communities with modern, high-quality buildings, entailing $1.1 billion in renovations and new construction in coming years.

Konterra microgrid project completed

Standard Solar Inc., of Rockville, a designer and installer of solar electric systems, in collaboration with Solar Grid Storage LLC, of Silver Spring, a developer of battery energy storage systems co-located with commercial photo-voltaic (PV) systems, announced completion of construction on the solar microgrid project at the headquarters of Konterra, a 2,200-acre mixed-use development in Laurel. In the event of a grid power outage, Solar Grid Storage’s advanced lithium-ion energy storage system allows critical circuits at Konterra to remain energized, enabling Konterra to reduce its use of non-renewable natural resources, while also providing stability to the grid and backup power to its building during outages.

Large apartment complex in Laurel sold

A partnership of Morgan Properties, of King of Prussia, Pa., and New York-based DRA Advisors LLC has purchased Parke Laurel Apartments, a 526-unit garden apartment development in Laurel, for an undisclosed price, from sellers Graycliff Partners of New York and Dragone Management of Laurel. CBRE represented the sellers in the transaction. Parke Laurel was originally built in two phases in 1966 and 1971, and was partially renovated in 2008. The new owners said they intend to complete the renovations, but did not give details. Morgan Properties owns and manages 106 apartment communities with over 27,000 units, including 18 complexes with over 7,500 units in the Maryland-D.C. corridor.

Frederick airport to get federal grant

The Frederick Municipal Airport will receive a $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund extension of the runway. The grant, announced by Rep. John K. Delaney, D-Md., will allow the city to purchase additional land and remove existing obstructions. This is one of several airport improvement grants benefiting Maryland locations. On Monday, U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, both D-Md., announced more than $8 million in grants to two airports — $5.7 million to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and $2.5 million to the Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico Regional Airport — for runway improvements.

MGM shows design for proposed casino

(AP) MGM Resorts International has unveiled the design of a proposed casino near the nation’s capital. The company provided an update Wednesday on its bid to develop the facility at National Harbor that will include a high-rise hotel. The plans outline a hilltop location with panoramic views of the Potomac River and the monuments of Washington. It would be set on a 1,600-foot stepped pedestal, which the company said will be designed to look like a grand and respectful monument. Two other companies also have applied for the license. The state could designate the winner of the license by the end of the year.

PERSONNEL

Jessica Seipp_webJessica Seipp, a water resource management professional, has joined the Baltimore office of Fairfax, Va.-based Dewberry as a project manager. In her new post, Seipp will be responsible for growing Dewberry’s presence in the total maximum daily load (TMDL) and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) markets for the mid-Atlantic region. Seipp has more than nine years of experience in management of TMDL and NPDES implementation. Prior to joining Dewberry, she served as a project manager for Frederick County, overseeing the county’s NPDES permit program and watershed restoration and retrofit projects. Seipp’s new employer , Dewberry, is a professional services firm providing architecture, engineering, and management and consulting services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients.

LEASES

Commercial real estate services provider Cassidy Turley announced the completion of a 32,934-square-foot lease by Peerless Specialty Flooring, a flooring and wall systems company, at 9060 Junction Drive in Annapolis Junction. This brings the 144,571-square-foot building up to 70 percent leased, with only one unit remaining. “This vacancy … is unique in the [Baltimore-Washington] Corridor, in that it will provide a tenant with an option for a secured truck court and some outside storage,” commented Jarred Testa, senior vice president and principal with Cassidy Turley, who together with Tilghman Herring of Cassidy Turley’s Core Industrial Leasing Team represented the landlord, TA Associates Realty. The tenant, Peerless Specialty Flooring, was represented by Mike Roden of CBRE.

Towson-based law firm Bodie, Dolina, Hobbs, Friddell & Grenzer P.C. has leased 17,295 square feet of space at 305 Washington Ave. in Towson, it was announced by MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services. Blue Ocean Realty purchased the 52,800-square-foot building in 2012. Nearly vacant at the time of sale, the building is now 95 percent occupied with only one small space available. “We were committed to keeping Bodie Dolina in Towson and were successful in doing that because we are not only vested in the properties we own and manage, but also the neighborhoods and communities surrounding them,” said Blue Ocean Realty President Jonathan Ehrenfeld. MacKenzie Vice President F. Joseph Bradley III represented Blue Ocean Realty in the transaction.

Merritt Properties LLC, of Woodlawn, reported the following recently signed leases: IronRisk Strategies LLC, a risk management company, leased 1,317 square feet of office space at The Exchange, 1122 Kenilworth Drive, Suite 316, in Towson. Also, Julie St. Marie Inc., a catering and event coordination company, leased 2,700 square feet of space (1,948 s.f. office, 752 s.f. warehouse) at the Annapolis Business Center, 1981 Moreland Parkway, Building 4 Bay 6, in Annapolis. In this transaction, the tenant was represented by Jay McConnell of Murphy Commercial. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs represented the landlord in both transactions.