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Real Estate Insider: CSX facility needed for Baltimore port growth

If the Port of Baltimore is going to grow, and continue as catalyst for the region’s thriving industrial real estate market, stakeholders need to get serious about discussions to build an offsite truck-and-train intermodal facility for CSX Transportation.

About six months ago, community opposition basically killed a plan to build a $90 million facility in Morrell Park that would’ve allowed the company to move double-stack containers from the port. Although the demise of that deal hasn’t immediately threatened growth at the port, or hampered the area’s industrial real estate market, it could become a major hindrance if a solution isn’t in hand in the next few years.

“All indications are that the port is growing, that the region’s industrial market is growing, land supply is constrained, if you add those three things up you’re going to have a need for the CSX guys to move off the port. It’s just a question of when,” said Jim Lighthizer, a principal at Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC.

Lighthizer said current demand for space at the port isn’t at a premium — noting that Duke Realty is sitting on four 200,000-square-foot pad sites — but that eventually if the CSX facility isn’t moved off its current site at the port it will eventually become an impediment to the industrial market’s growth.

“There is some functional obsolescence and some built in capacity around the port. Meaning there are some older buildings and there’s some land that can still be developed. Until that capacity dries up, why would the 17 acres that the CSX guys occupy on the port property, why would relocation be necessary when there’s land around the corner?” Lighthizer said.

But Lighthizer, whose company built an intermodal facility for Norfolk Southern in Pennsylvania, warned the process of developing such projects can take years, and that conversations about developing a facility need to start shortly, or Baltimore may miss out on a  great opportunity. “The CSX intermodal, you’re talking about a five year project, right, at least. So it’s not a bad conversation to have. Because we all know, once you start having the conversation, and you agree to do it — it’s five years later,” he said. “You don’t want to miss it. You don’t want to be late. Let’s say you’re late by a year or two that will adversely impact the economic growth of the region.”

Gr-Owings Mills?

Investors and property managers have been looking for a rebound in the Owings Mills office market for years. Although the market has remained slow, BECO Management Inc. announced four leases totaling more than 12,000 square feet at the company’s 12-story BECO Tower II, located at 10461 Mill Run Circle.  New tenants in the 200,000 square foot building include American Family Life Insurance of Columbus, Realistic Computing Inc. and HighTower Network.

All roads back to Owings Mills

Representatives from David S. Brown Enterprises, developers of Metro Centre at Owings Mills, and Baltimore County elected officials celebrated the opening a road that connects Metro Centre at Owings Mills with Owings Mills Town Center. The road also provides the Transit Oriented Development with smoother access to nearby Interstate 795.

Keeping it Inline

JCR Cos. just dropped $22 million on a shopping center in Suburban Maryland. On Tuesday the company announced its acquisition of the Manokeek Shopping Center in Prince George’s County about 10 minutes outside of Washington D.C. The 90, 172-square-foot shopping center is anchored by a Giant Food Store. JCR intends to maintain long-term ownership of the inline portion of the shopping center and sell the pad sites associated with the property that are approved for up to 50,000 square feet of commercial development.

Hagerstown on the rise?

The Bradford, a 418-unit garden style apartment complex in Hagerstown, has been sold for an undisclosed amount. Hagerstown Apartments Limited Partnership sold the property to Homes for America in partnership with National Housing Trust/Enterprise and Housing Partnership Equity Trust. Bethesda-based Greysteel Co. represented the seller in the disposition of the development that was built in three phases through the 1960s and 1970s.

Delancey Street Capital buys again

Delancey Street Capital continues to show a soft spot for Baltimore multifamily developments. On Tuesday, Delancey announced it had acquired Ridgely’s Delight, a 28-unit luxury apartment development near the University of Maryland Medical Center for an undisclosed amount. This is the second apartment acquisition by the company in that area of Baltimore in six months. In August Delancey announced it purchased the 107-unit Sail Cloth Factory Apartments.

Industrial Strength

Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire Products celebrated the expansion of their facility on Tuesday with Rep. Steny Hoyer and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The company is expanding its factory floor space by 50 percent with the help of a $250,000 loan from the Baltimore Development Corp.

Keep on Lending

That’s a lot of lending. Walker & Dunlop Inc. is Fannie Mae’s largest multifamily lending partner in the nation for the third straight year. Fannie Mae last year was the largest supplier of capital to the multifamily marketplace distributing $28.9 billion across all asset classes.

Adam Bednar covers commercial real estate and economic development for The Daily Record. Follow him on Twitter @Bmorejourno and on his blog, Ground Up, on our website.

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.

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