Real estate weekly – 1/31/14

Process started to revitalize village center in Columbia

Howard County’s government has started a process aimed at revitalizing the Long Reach Village Center in Columbia, County Executive Ken Ulman announced. Ulman said the county is proposing a unique urban renewal project that he says will create a sustainable and vibrant community focal point, and that could serve as a model for future redevelopment in Columbia. “The Long Reach community has long been concerned over the decline of the Village Center. We’ve heard those concerns and can’t wait any longer to act,” Ulman said. In the first step of the process, legislation has been submitted to the County Council to designate the Village Center’s commercial portion as an urban renewal area. The designation is needed before the county can purchase the property and create more detailed plans. Following adoption of the urban renewal legislation, the county will retain an architectural and engineering firm to assist in conducting a planning process that will include community outreach.

Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster introduces new logo

The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate, ranked by The Wall Street Journal and REAL Trends as the No. 1 real estate agency in Maryland for all residential brokerages by volume for 2010, 2011 and 2012, has a new logo: a compass star colored in red, white, black and yellow, the colors of the Maryland state flag. “The Creig Northrop Team holds strong roots in Maryland,” said team President Creig Northrop. “I graduated from the University of Maryland and continue to support Maryland causes … and our new logo reflects that loyalty.” The redesigned logo will be used in all of the team’s marketing materials, including its website, signs, business cards and promotional materials. The Northrop team consists of more than 50 full-time real estate agents and offices in Columbia, Clarksville, Sykesville, Rockville and Lutherville-Timonium.

Charlestown marks 20 percent increase in settlements

Charlestown retirement community marked a 20 percent increase in apartment home settlements in 2013, with more than 300 people moving into the Catonsville development. Settlements occurred for 211 apartments, and Charlestown officials also opened 55 newly renovated apartments. “At least 97 percent of our apartments homes are now spoken for,” said Sales Director Don Grove. He said people moved to Charlestown from Catonsville, Arbutus, Halethorpe and Ellicott City, and as far away as Texas and Arizona. The retirement community, which is managed by Catonsville-based Erickson Living, has a resident population of around 2,000 people.

Montgomery County mulls changes in development rules

A series of legislative initiatives introduced in the Montgomery County Council will, if passed, change the development rules for all new commercial and residential buildings, according to a newsletter published by law firm Ballard Spahr. Among the proposals is one that would require all new buildings to meet LEED Silver rating standards or higher for green building certification. Currently, all new buildings must meet the basic LEED certified requirements. The Silver rating is more stringent. (LEED stands for Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design, a set of standards promulgated by the U.S. Green Building Council for the design, construction and maintenance of commercial and residential buildings.) Other proposed changes: One electric vehicle charging station will be required for every 50 parking spaces; and property owners will be required to allow public review of benchmarking energy-efficiency reports.

DDG of Baltimore to design expansion of huge mall in Jakarta, Indonesia

DDG, a Baltimore-based design, planning, architecture, interiors and graphics firm, has been selected to design the expansion of the Grand Metropolitan mall in Jakarta, Indonesia. DDG provided concept architecture, including defining the theme and schematics for the 646,000-square-foot mall, which had its grand opening in December. DDG provided environmental graphics and signage design for the project, as well as collaboration with local architects, dealing with all permitting and codes, and merchandising. The expansion will feature two high-rise towers, one of which will include a 221-key hotel, five levels of retail space and multiple parking levels. The second high-rise will contain 24 levels of office space and 168 apartment units, along with amenities like a gym, bar, pool and indoor parking.

St. John Properties sells land in Glen Burnie business park

910 CromwellSt. John Properties Inc., of Woodlawn, announced the sale of approximately three acres of land at Cromwell Business Park, 910 Cromwell Park Drive in Glen Burnie, for approximately $2.5 million to the owners of The Sofa Store and The Big Screen Store. The local electronics and furniture retailers recently broke ground on a new, 32,000-square-foot, free-standing location adjacent to Interstate 97 at the business park that is expected to be completed this fall. The parent company operates 11 Big Screen stores throughout Maryland and Virginia and one Sofa Store in Towson. Cromwell Business Park, a 135-acre. mixed-use business community in Anne Arundel County, contains 17 buildings, comprising more than 822,000 square feet of commercial office and R&D/flex space, as well as a retail component.

Snow and cold doesn’t deter prospective Baltimore homebuyers

More than 150 prospective Baltimore homebuyers braved snow and cold on Saturday to attend Live Baltimore’s first homebuying incentive event of 2014. City Living Starts Here, which took place at the John Eager Howard Recreation Center in Reservoir Hill, included a city-living fair, a neighborhood walking tour and an incentive presentation from Baltimore Housing. “Saturday’s turnout far exceeded our expectations for this first event,” said Steven Gondol, Live Baltimore’s executive director. “Seeing so many active homebuyers this early in 2014 is a strong sign for the city’s housing market in months to come.” Live Baltimore’s next event, Buying Into Baltimore, will be held on April 12, 2014. The next City Living Starts Here event is scheduled for June 7, 2014.

Greysteel Co. arranges sale of Newport News retail center

The Greysteel Co., a Bethesda-based real estate investment services firm, arranged the sale of Newport Crossing Shopping Center, a 194,000-square-foot, grocery-anchored, community shopping center in Newport News, Va. The buyer, Coastal Equities Real Estate, of Weston, Fla., and Garden City, N.Y., paid $12.85 million for the property, which is 80 percent occupied by a mix of tenants, including Food Lion, Dollar Tree, Citi Trends, USA Discounters, First Virginia Financial Services and Riverside Health System. Greysteel Managing Director Gil Neuman represented the seller, Harbor Group International LLC, of Norfolk, a private real estate investment and management firm. Neuman also found the buyer of the property.

Howard County officials act to keep large employer in Laurel

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman is backing an initiative that would allow one of the county’s largest employer’s, Coastal Sunbelt Produce, to remain in Howard and expand its operations. After learning that Coastal was looking at properties outside the county as a site for a new headquarters, Ulman and the Howard County Economic Development Authority worked to identify a site within Howard County that would meet the company’s objectives. The preferred location is in North Laurel, near the Laurel Race Track. Ulman supports a necessary change to county zoning regulations that would allow the company to operate on the land that has been identified. The amendment awaits final Howard County Council approval, allowing the transaction to be completed. Coastal Sunbelt currently employs about 1,000 permanent full-time employees in the county and could add several hundred new jobs after the real estate transaction is finalized.


St. John Properties Inc. signed Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt and CPR Cell Phone Repair to new leases at Magothy Beach Plaza, a 28,675-square-foot neighborhood shopping center in Anne Arundel County’s Pasadena section. New stores opening at the location are The BBQ Joint and Glenn’s Gourmet Bakery, both locally owned. … Adventure Park USA, a family-oriented entertainment destination in New Market, is hosting a “Cabin Fever Indoor Beach Party” on Feb. 15 to lure families who are tired of coping with one of the coldest winters ever experienced in the Northeast. Featuring an indoor cookout and video games, the park’s owners are suggesting summer attire, like Bermuda shorts, crazy sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts for the party. Tickets are $25 per person when purchased online, $30 at the door; $15 for children under 5 years old. Now, if only it doesn’t snow that day. … The newly renovated Olney Library at 3500 Olney-Laytonsville Road will hold a ribbon cutting on March 15 to mark the facility’s reopening. … French Fry Heaven, a new food concept that bills itself as “the only franchise in the gourmet fry category,” has opened its first Maryland location at Towson Town Center. Owners Ivan Roney, Jim and Karen Arnaiz and Sharon Enterline say the store is the first of five coming to Maryland in the next few years. It features such imaginative combinations of flavors as garlic parmesan fries with black truffle salt; fries topped with spicy red chili sauce with the “world’s hottest salt,” and sweet potato fries with marshmallow topping, among others. … CleaVe THE BOUTIQUE, a wedding and party planning, gifts and accessories venture, has opened at 45 West St. in Annapolis. The store features more than 3,000 products to meet all wedding and party-planning needs, as well as fashion apparel, accessories, jewelry, perfume, aromatherapy candles and bath gels, among other items. The name CleaVe, explains owner Valery Hall Yancey, traces its roots to the Bible, specifically Genesis 2:24, “For a man shall leave his mother and father and Cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” … Secolari, an artisan olive oil and vinegar store, has opened at the Mall in Columbia, in a 1,380-square-foot location designed to look like the interior of a Tuscan farmhouse in Italy. The store features a commercial kitchen where guests can take cooking classes and learn new ways to use Secolari products. This is owners’ Bart and Mary deRosa’s second location in Maryland. The Clarksville couple opened their first store on Bethesda Row in Bethesda in October 2011.


Colliers International in Baltimore brokered a long-term lease renewal for 35,124 square feet of office space for Booz Allen Hamilton at Water’s Edge Corporate Campus at 4692 Millennium Drive in Belcamp. Colliers represented the landlord, Manekin LLC in a joint partnership with Alex. Brown Realty. Booz Allen already occupies 20,486 square feet in the building, making it the largest tenant. Colliers’ Matt Haas and Kevin Haus, and Jones Lang Lasalle’s James Cahill, were the brokers involved in the deal-making. Booz Allen provides management consulting, technology and engineering services to the U.S. government in defense, intelligence and civil markets, and to major corporations, institutions and nonprofit organizations.

Cushman & Wakefield announced a new, 11,106-square-foot lease for Nexius Solutions Inc. at 7550 Teague Road, in the Arundel Mills Corporate Park in Hanover. The building, owned by AMCP-2 LLC, is located at the corner of Route 11 and Arundel Mills Boulevard, directly across from the main entrance to the Arundel Mills mall. Nexius delivers end-to-end wireless services and software to clients worldwide and employs approximately 70 people locally. C&W’s Richard Thomas and Charlie Beck represented the tenant in the lease negotiations.

Merritt Properties LLC reported three recently signed leases. Horizon Forest Products L.P., a hardwood floor distributor, leased 12,600 square feet of warehouse and office space at 7022-7026 Golden Ring Road in Rosedale. Tyler Boykin of Colliers International represented the tenant. Tower Communications Expert LLC, a telecommunications contractor, leased 5,937 square feet of office and warehouse space at 6770 Oak Hall Lane in Columbia. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Vince Bagli, Liz Tarran-Jones and Steve Shaw represented the landlord in both transactions. Nalley Fresh, a restaurant/deli, leased 1,255 square feet of space at The Exchange, 1122 Kenilworth Drive in Towson, for use as a restaurant. Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs of Merritt Properties represented the landlord in the lease negotiations.

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