Real Estate Weekly – 4/11/14

First Potomac Realty Trust acquires historic D.C. building

First Potomac Realty Trust, of Bethesda, a real estate investment trust that owns office and business park properties in the Greater Washington, D.C., area, announced its acquisition of 1401 K St. N.W., a 12-story, 117,093-square-foot office building in the heart of downtown. The purchase price was $53 million. Also known as The Tower Building, it is considered one of the first Art Deco office buildings in Washington and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property is 88 percent leased to 22 tenants. First Potomac assumed $37.3 million of existing secured mortgage debt and funded the remaining balance with a draw on its revolving line of credit. Planned improvements include restroom renovations, upgrades to the lobby, storefront, elevator cabs and fitness center. The broker team comprised of Mark Klug, Max Friedman and Abigail Todd from CBRE will represent First Potomac in the leasing of the property.

J.O. Spice Co. opens new store in Halethorpe

J.O. Spice Co. has been manufacturing crab seasonings, soups and batters for restaurants since it was established in 1945. The company recently celebrated the expansion of its location with a ribbon cutting at 3721 Old Georgetown Road in Halethorpe. The company added 17,000 square feet of space to the location to expand the growing retail portion of its business. J.O. Spice’s online and retail stores offer seasonings and soups, plus Maryland crab jewelry, engraved mallets, crafts, and other “crabby” items. Customers can find J.O. Spice products in many crab houses throughout Maryland, by visiting the new store or online at www.jospices.com.

Groundbreaking for new affordable housing in Cecilton

A groundbreaking was scheduled Wednesday for The Parklands at Cecilton, a new affordable housing community in the Cecil County community. The Parklands will consist of 62 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in 10 buildings, as well as a community center for residents. It will be built on 13 acres adjacent to the Cecilton Library. The developer, Ingerman Group, of Cherry Hill, N.J., is partnering with the nonprofit Housing Initiative Partnership on the project.

Peak Management opens new self-storage facility in Bel Air

BelAirShoppedPeak Management, an affiliate company of Timonium-based Hill Management Services Inc., has opened a self-storage facility in Bel Air. This is the company’s third YourSpace Storage location in the Harford County market and its seventh in the Baltimore-Washington region. The new self-storage facility, located near the intersection of MD Routes 24 and 924, features 876 units ranging in size from 25 square feet, enough space to store items contained in a typical walk-in closet, to 300 square feet, an area that can store the entire contents of a single-family home. Peak Vice President Teresa Rosier, said the company is confident that the new YourSpace Storage facility “will fill to capacity quickly” in view of the number of apartment complexes and businesses in the immediate vicinity. Peak Management now operates locations in Baltimore and Harford counties as well as two facilities in Charles County, totaling more than 6,000 individual units.

Merritt Construction Services to renovate Cranston Building

Merritt Construction Services, a Woodlawn-based general contracting, construction management and design-build company, said it has been selected to renovate the 15,000-square-foot Cranston Building in Towson. Work involves improvements to the basement and upper floors of the 40-year-old, two-story building as well as upgrades to the parking lot and landscaping. Tenants, including the owner, Henry Smith of Smith & Downey and 320 Towson Boulevard LLC; The Children’s Chorus of Maryland; Gerhold, Gross and Etzl; Don Macaulay, CPA’ and Spectra Inc., will occupy the building’s second floor as the demolition and fit-out are underway on the basement and first floor. Once those areas are completed, around June 1, The Children’s Chorus will move to the basement, and other tenants to new first-floor offices. Demolition will then begin on the second floor, preparing the space for future leasing.

Construction gets underway for DHCD HQ in New Carrollton

Ground was broken Wednesday in New Carrollton for the new headquarters of the state Department of Housing and Community Development, marking the start of construction of a project that will anchor new development around the New Carrollton Metro station. The new building is expected to create 132 permanent jobs and 325 construction jobs, and generate significant tax revenue for Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland. The department’s relocation from its current Crownsville location will create a greater need for restaurants, retail and other services in the vicinity. Grand Central Development is the developer of the transit-oriented development project, which the DHCD headquarters is part of. DHCD has signed a 15-year lease for its space. The TOD’s first phase will cost an estimated $166 million and include 500 residential units and 65,000 square feet of retail space. When fully built out, the project will incorporate up to 2,400 residential dwelling units, 100,000 square feet of retail and a 300-room hotel.

Datastory moves office to downtown Baltimore

Datastory Consulting, which was spun off from the Lutherville-based MacKenzie Companies in 2013, has moved its headquarters to 111 S. Calvert St. in downtown Baltimore. The firm has experienced tremendous growth over the past year and is on course for more growth over the next two years by serving an international client base. Datastory has moved into 750 square feet of space at the new location, with an option to grow by another 200 square feet, a representative said. Datastory specializes in location analytics and place-based business consulting, using sophisticated Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to help businesses make better decisions. “Our work is about helping businesses leverage the power of place, and we decided to take our own advice! Being located in the heart of downtown Baltimore makes sense for us because of the businesses we serve and the workforce we attract,” said Vice President Alison Yeloushan.

Baltimore County plans upgrades to area surrounding Towson Square

With new restaurants and 15 Cinemark movie screens slated to open this summer at Towson Square, an $85 million entertainment complex under construction in downtown Towson, Baltimore County is updating streetscapes and lighting in the area. New sidewalks with brick bands will be installed this spring along Delaware and Shealy avenues to provide safer walkways surrounding Towson Square. The east side of York Road between Chesapeake and Pennsylvania avenues also will be updated with decorative plantings and fresh sidewalks. The Baltimore County Department of Public Works already has completed upgrades to every public street light in downtown Towson, the core area bounded by Washington, Burke and Virginia avenues and Joppa Road. “The opening of the new Towson Square entertainment center begins an exciting new time for downtown Towson. We want to be sure people can easily and safely navigate downtown by car, by foot, by bicycle, bus or taxi cab,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

State awards capital bond funds to Unified Community Connections

Unified Community Connections, of Hunt Valley, a nonprofit agency that serves adults and children with a range of disabilities throughout Maryland, was awarded $127,000 in state capital bond money for major renovations of its Adult Day Habilitation facility in Frederick. The funds will enable UCC to expand to serve additional people from Frederick and Montgomery counties. The center, which has a capacity of 70 people, will be able to accommodate an additional 36 people once renovations are completed. Renovations are scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014. Unified Community Connections seeks to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of individuals with disabilities through residential, transportation, employment and adult day habilitation services as well as assistive technology, in-home support services and Delrey School in Arbutus. UCC operates adult day habilitation centers in Middle River, Cumberland, Frederick and Hagerstown.


Paul Pestun

Paul Pestun

Ruppert Landscape, of Laytonsville, announced the promotion of Paul Pestun to the position of national sales business development manager. Pestun joined Ruppert two years ago as an assistant production manager. In the new post, he will be responsible for initiating and developing customer relationships, identifying and tracking potential projects, securing bid opportunities, presenting proposals and negotiating sales. Pestun, a resident of Damascus, has over 10 years of industry experience, including owning his own landscape company. He was recently accepted into the Associated Builders and Contractors 2014 Leadership Development Program. Ruppert Landscape has 17 branch offices and provides commercial landscape construction and management in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina.



Merritt Properties LLC reported the following recently signed leases:

* ZZZ Traders LLC, an online sales company, leased 2,550 square feet of office and warehouse space at 150 Blades Lane in Glen Burnie. Merritt’s in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Vince Bagli, Liz Tarran-Jones and Steve Shaw negotiated the deal on behalf of the landlord.

* Soccer American Inc., a soccer apparel and equipment retailer, leased 2,320 square feet of retail space at Columbia Market Place, 9400 Snowden River Parkway, in Columbia, Merritt was represented by its in-house leasing team of Jamie Campbell, Vince Bagli, Liz Tarran-Jones and Steve Shaw. Cooper Henry of KLNB Retail represented Soccer American in the lease negotiations.

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