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$170M State of Maryland Public Health Laboratory Now Open in Baltimore’s Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins

10 Aug 2014, 10:18 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Baltimore’s $170 million State of Maryland Public Health Laboratory is finally open. Governor Martin O’Malley, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and many other federal, state and local officials were present on July 22, at the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins in East Baltimore, to cut the ceremonial ribbon for the new state-of-the-art facility.

With 234,000 square feet of space, the Public Health Laboratory will enhance the state’s ability to identify and respond to current and emerging public health threats. It will be home to 212 laboratory employees and its six levels will house five scientific lab divisions: Environmental Chemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Newborn and Childhood Screening, and Virology/Immunology. The employees will relocate to the new building later this year, from the 40-year old, outdated facility at Baltimore’s State Center. They will conduct more than 10 million tests at the new location each year.

The new facility is LEED Silver certified. It was constructed by Turner Construction Company, Cain Contracting and Essex Construction, and was designed by HDR Inc. The project included minority-owned firms and other locally owned business, exceeding the goals set before the start of construction. According to a statement from the Governor’s office, 1,183 jobs were created during construction and about 11 percent of them were local community hires.

The Maryland Economic Development Corporation, a company created by the General Assembly to assist state and local jurisdictions in fostering and supporting economic development projects, helped finance the $170 million Public Health Laboratory. Other partners on the project included Forest City—New East Baltimore Partnership,  East Baltimore Development, Inc., the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of General Services.

“The Public Health Lab is the backbone of Maryland’s healthcare system and serves as an early warning system to protect the health and well-being of Maryland families,” Governor Martin O’Malley said in a press statement. “We’re harnessing the power of technology to strengthen our ability to respond more effectively and efficiently to contain a wide range of public health emergencies from disease outbreaks to natural disasters and bioterrorism.”

Photo credits: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene



Developers Break Ground on the Little Patuxent Square Mixed-Use Project in Downtown Columbia

4 Aug 2014, 4:21 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman was present in Columbia on Tuesday, July 29, to help break ground on a new, major commercial and residential development. Called Little Patuxent Square, the project represents the first new commercial building constructed in the city’s downtown since 2001.

The project is developed by LPP Investors and constructed by Costello Construction. According to The Baltimore Sun, its total cost is $65 million. When finished, in 2016, the project will deliver a nine-story building constructed to high efficiency standards, on a 1.1 acre site near Lake Kittamaqundi. It will have 160,000 square feet of office and retail space, and 160 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom residential units. The building will also feature green roofs, space for Zip cars and outlets for electric vehicles.

Little Patuxent Square will be the first concrete frame office building in Columbia. According to a Howard County news release, most of the Class A office space has already been leased by a major Maryland-based technology company.

“We are setting a new standard for quality development in Columbia,” David Costello, owner of Costello Construction and a partner in Little Patuxent Square, said in a press statement. “The market demands the sustainability of LEED Silver construction and the convenience of a broad array of amenities.” Costello added that the project will fill a growing need for high-end office space in Columbia.

Little Patuxent Square is a key part of the next wave of growth in Downtown Columbia. In 2010, County Executive Ulman and the Howard County Council adopted a new plan for the area. It created the opportunity for new offices, homes and major community improvements.

“The next chapter of Downtown Columbia is unfolding before our eyes,” County Executive Ulman said. “This project is happening now because Downtown Columbia has become a prime destination to live, work and play.”

Photo credits: www.littlepatuxentsquare.com



Mayor Rawlings-Blake Opens Baltimore’s First New Recreation Center Built in the Last 10 Years

30 Jul 2014, 7:04 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A new recreation center has opened in Baltimore this week. Called the Morrell Park Community Center, it’s the first new recreation center built in the city in the last 10 years.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was present at the grand opening, on Monday, July 28, together with members of the Morrell Park community. The construction of the Morrell Park Community Center is part of the mayor’s plan to replace Baltimore’s aging recreation centers with a network of new, high-quality facilities, better suited to serve the city and its residents. Most of the current recreation centers were constructed in the late 60s and early 70s.

The project was constructed at a cost of $4.1 million. It delivered a “green” certified building, with a green roof, which captures rain water and reduces storm water runoff. The Morrell Park Community Center features a gymnasium, fitness room, multi-purpose room, large patio, and outdoor green space. It currently offers summer camp and senior programs. In the fall, it will include Afterschool Adventures, basketball, chess, cheerleading, a computer lab, environmental activities and trips, karate, and Zumba.

Construction on the project started in 2012. The city hired a local company, TECH Contracting, to develop the Morrell Park Community Center. The contract called for the inclusion of at least 26 percent Minority Business Enterprise and six percent Women Business Enterprise. TECH Contracting also used sub-contractors during the development of the project and managed to meet and even exceed these goals.

On Monday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also announced her plan to to sell four city-owned parking garages in order to generate up-front, one-time proceeds. This will allow the city to invest in urgent priorities, such as recreation programming, infrastructure and blight elimination, without increasing its debt.

“By investing in our neighborhoods and providing modern facilities for our residents, especially our kids, we can offer more options and better opportunities to which they may not otherwise have access,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said in a press statement. “I am committed to ensuring that we provide high-quality, state-of-the-art facilities that offer multi-purpose functions—from fitness and health to recreational and learning environments.”

Photo credits: City of Baltimore



Baltimore’s Historic Union Trust Building is Back On the Market

28 Jul 2014, 4:07 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Baltimore’s historic Union Trust Building is once again on the market. Rialto Capital, the owner, has retained Hunter Hotel Advisors as the exclusive representative in the sale of the old property located just blocks from the city’s Inner Harbor. The asking price for the building was not announced.

The Union Trust Building, also known as the Jefferson Building, was constructed in 1884 by Boston-based Winslow & Wetherill. It is located at 101 North Charles Street and is one of the 10 buildings that survived the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. Fireproof Magazine reported at that time that all the authorities on the subject believed the Union Trust Building was exposed to the severest test of any of the skyscrapers during the fire. However, its 800 tons of structural steel and cast iron were 100 percent salvageable.

Rialto Capital purchased the 12-story building 16 months ago at auction. It paid $3 million for it. The old property has undergone a partial conversion from office building to 100-room hotel. AMPAC Development Group Inc., the company that owned the Union Trust Building before Rialto Capital, was redeveloping it into a Staybridge Suites hotel. But it ran out of money and, in the end, the building was auctioned off.

“Baltimore is one of the most dynamic hotel markets in the U.S., and the hotel conversion redevelopment presents a unique opportunity to transform a historically significant building and advance the ongoing revival of Baltimore’s downtown,” Kyle Stevenson, senior vice president of Hunter Hotel Advisors’ Washington DC office, said in a press statement. “This is a high-barrier-to-entry market with the opportunity to select a premium select-service or full-service flag. With a resurging neighborhood, a revitalized downtown, and the current low supply of boutique hotels, this hotel opportunity is well positioned for an attractive sale.”

Photo credits: Hunter Hotel Advisors



AEW and Redgate to Break Ground on a 285,000 Sq. Ft. Industrial Facility in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor

25 Jul 2014, 2:08 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A new industrial distribution facility is coming to the Baltimore-Washington Corridor. AEW Capital Management and Redgate Capital Partners, two Boston-based companies, plan to take advantage of the hot Baltimore-area industrial market and will start construction on a 285,000-square-foot building in the fourth quarter of the year.

The new facility will be named the Hollins Ferry Logistics Center. It will be constructed on a 17.23-acre development site at 4803 Hollins Ferry Road, in Halethorpe. AEW Capital Management and Redgate Capital Partners purchased the site last month, together with a 279,016-square-foot industrial building located at 4801 Hollins Ferry Road. The price of the transaction was not disclosed.

AEW Capital Management is developing the project on behalf of one of its institutional clients. Redgate Capital Partners will serve as the development manager. The cost of the project was not disclosed. It is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Cassidy Turley’s Jarred Testa, senior vice president and principal, and Tilghman Herring, associate vice president, have been retained as the exclusive leasing agents for the Hollins Ferry Logistics Center. According to Testa, the new industrial facility will be ”state-of-the-art” and will offer many of the features industrial users are looking for, including a high dock door ratio, above-market average trailer storage, ESFR sprinkler and 32-ft. clear ceilings.

“This property is also located in an Enterprise Zone which will further strengthen the value of this Class A warehouse facility through lower real estate taxes and tenant income tax credits,” Jarred Testa said in a statement for the press.

“The Baltimore-Washington Corridor is one of the strongest industrial markets in the U.S. and given the low vacancy rate within the Class A industrial space, combined with improving market fundamentals, gives us great confidence that this is the time to deliver this type of state-of-the-art product,” added Ralph Cox, a principal at Redgate.

In its Q2 Industrial Market Report for the Baltimore metro area, CBRE said that construction activity has increased over the quarter. More than 4.2 million square feet are currently under construction and expected to deliver in the Baltimore City, Baltimore County East, Harford/Cecil County, and Baltimore/Washington Corridor submarkets by the first quarter of 2015. However, about 94.2 percent of the total space is already pre-leased.

Charts courtesy of CBRE.



Northrop Grumman Breaks Ground on $20M Space Assembly and Test Facility in Linthicum

18 Jul 2014, 8:02 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Northrop Grumman Corporation is adding another building to its 129-acre campus in Anne Arundel County. The company officially broke ground on Monday, July 14, on a new Space Assembly and Test (M-SAT) facility. Senator Ben Cardin, Representatives C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes, and many others joined Gloria Flach, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, in Linthicum for the ground breaking ceremony.

The new M-SAT building will cost $20 million. It will have 25,000 square feet of space and will be used to handle space payload integration programs. Northrop Grumman currently develops and delivers space payloads in several smaller facilities on its Baltimore campus. The new, three-story building, with its high-bay area, will allow the company to expand payload production.

“Northrop Grumman is committed to finding more affordable solutions to the nation’s needs for critical space systems,” Gloria Flach said in a statement. “This new M-SAT facility will enable us to meet our customers’ space integration, assembly and test requirements more efficiently and affordably.”

According to Northrop Grumman, the $20 million building near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport will feature the largest clean room facility on campus. It will also have offices and lab space. Eighty engineers and technicians will work there, once construction is complete.

“Baltimore has long been home to Northrop Grumman and, now, they are choosing to grow here because of our second-to-none workforce,” Representative Dutch Ruppersberger added. “This investment will not only create local jobs, it will cement Maryland’s reputation as a national space leader and drive the innovation that will help us win the global space race.”

Maryland-based Patriot Contractors LLC was hired as the project’s general contractor. The new building is expected to open in the summer of 2015.

“Nearly a half century ago when we sent Neil Armstrong to the moon, America was just in the beginning of its journey into the unknown,” said Sarbanes. “Now that we better understand the great technological advances that can be made through space exploration, we must keep our country on the cutting edge. This facility will create high-tech job opportunities that put Marylanders back to work and keep our economy on the move.”

Photo credits: Northrop Grumman Corporation



Hartz Mountain Industries Buys Prime Baltimore-Washington Corridor Industrial Asset for $18.7M

14 Jul 2014, 1:41 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Another industrial property has recently changed hands in the Greater Baltimore area. Last week we reported about several acquisitions in the submarkets located to the north of I-95 where the industrial market is performing very well. Now, it’s the Baltimore-Washington Corridor’s turn to make the headlines.

Hartz Mountain Industries, Inc., one of the largest private real estate owners and developers in the U.S., has expanded its portfolio of industrial assets with the acquisition of a warehouse in Hanover. CBRE Global Investors, LLC sold the property for $18.71 million. CBRE Senior Vice Presidents Jonathan Beard, Bo Cashman and Ed Harris worked together to represent the owners in the transaction.

The Class A industrial property is located on 20 acres of land, at 7448 Candlewood Road. It offers 278,586 square feet of space, 28-foot clear heights, loading on three sides, parking for about 330 cars, and ample truck courts. The warehouse is currently occupied by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc., but the beverage company plans to vacate by fall.

“Industrial investors are now focused on finding value-add opportunities in core markets, and the Baltimore-Washington Corridor is no exception. Pricing for the market’s stabilized industrial assets exceed 2007 levels, and opportunities such as 7448 Candlewood, where a re-tenanting initiative is needed, are highly desired,” CBRE Senior Vice President Jonathan Beard said in a press statement.

CBRE reports that demand for industrial space in the Baltimore area has remained flat in Q2 2014, although the overall vacancy rate decreased 0.3%  since Q1, to 8.9%. Compared to the previous quarter, the Baltimore-Washington Corridor saw an increase in renewals. The overall vacancy for warehouse properties in the submarket was 11.8% at the end of Q2. For flex properties it was 8.3%.

Photo credits: CBRE



Industrial Investors Attracted to the Hot Submarkets North of I-95

7 Jul 2014, 7:06 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The Baltimore industrial market is performing very well in the submarkets located to the north of I-95 (Baltimore City, Baltimore County East, and Harford/Cecil County), much better than in any other regions in the metropolitan area. According to reports from Cassidy Turley, compared to the same period last year, available industrial space in the Harford/Cecil County is taking an average of 11 months to lease. In the Baltimore/Washington Corridor submarket it takes 18 months.

The area also remains attractive to investors looking to scoop up industrial properties. One Liberty Properties, Inc. is one such investor. On June 26, the Great Neck, New York-based company purchased a distribution facility in Harford County, in a short-term sale/leaseback transaction, which increases its total 2014 acquisitions to $32.86 million.

The 258,000-square-foot property is located at 1805 Fashion Court, in Joppa. Procter & Gamble, the previous owner, sold it for $11.65 million, and will continue to occupy it until September 2015.

“Adding this well-located distribution facility to our increasingly diversified portfolio strengthens the quality of our cash flow. At the end of the lease term, we intend to reposition this asset, creating the opportunity to generate and enhance the return on our investment” Patrick Callan, CEO and President of One Liberty Properties, said in a news release.

Another company, Churchville Tile and Marble, purchased a 21,600-square-foot office and warehouse building in the Abingdon section of Harford County, with the intention to relocate its business. It paid $1.33 million to buy it from 5900 Erdman, Inc., an entity affiliated with Regal Bank & Trust.

The property was constructed in 1998, on two acres of land, at 1301-B Governor Court. Churchville Tile and Marble will use it as headquarters and showroom for its decorative and flooring products. Toby Mink and Luke Wilson of CBRE represented the buyer in this transaction. NAI KLNB principals David Fritz and Peter Dudley represented the seller.

NAI KLNB has also recently brokered the sale of the Kelso Business Park, a two-building portfolio with nearly 70,000 square feet of industrial and flex space in eastern Baltimore County. FRP Development Corp. bought the property for $4.85 million, from Kelso Business Park, LLC. NAI KLNB represented both the buyer and the seller.

The two buildings were constructed in 1999. 8515 Kelso Drive offers 35,690 square feet of space, while 8525 Kelso Drive offers 34,000 square feet. They are fully leased to nine tenants.

“Kelso Business Park represents the perfect complement to our existing portfolio of buildings located in the immediate area, and we were immediately attracted to the quality of construction and strategic location,” David deVilliers, Jr., President of FRP Development, said in a statement. “Our current plans are to retain ownership in Kelso Business Park for the long-term and plan to invest in capital improvements, including entire new roofs, over the next several years.”

Photo credits: NAI KLNB



$442M Horseshoe Casino to Open in Baltimore This August

28 Jun 2014, 1:59 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Maryland is getting ready to welcome its newest casino. Executives of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore announced last week that the grand opening of the $442 million entertainment facility is scheduled for August 26, pending regulatory approval.

The project broke ground last year, on May 29. Horseshoe Baltimore is located along Russell Street on Baltimore’s south side. The two-story, 335,000-square-foot facility will have 2,500 video lottery terminals, more than 100 table games and a 25-table World Series of Poker-branded poker room.

“After more than two years of planning and construction, we’re excited to unveil our world-class casino—and Baltimore’s next great attraction—on August 26,” said Horseshoe Baltimore Senior Vice President and General Manager Chad Barnhill in a press statement. “Featuring 122,000 square feet of premier gaming space, two celebrity chef restaurants, innovative live entertainment venues, the industry’s best player loyalty program and Maryland’s only World Series of Poker Circuit tournaments, Horseshoe Baltimore will offer a truly exceptional gaming experience.”

In addition to the two celebrity chef restaurants, a Johnny Sanchez taqueria and a Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen & Bar, Horseshoe Baltimore will also feature a Jack Binion’s Steakhouse, a Ruby 8 Noodle and Sushi Bar and the Baltimore Marketplace. The casino also includes several nightlife options.

“Horseshoe Baltimore is going to provide our guests with an experience unlike any other they’ve had in this area,” Barnhill added. “In just several weeks, we’re going to change the way people in and around Maryland think of casino entertainment. We can’t wait to introduce Horseshoe’s legendary service to Charm City.”

CBAC Borrower, LLC, a consortium indirectly owned and controlled by Caesars Growth Partners, LLC, is the developer of the Horseshoe Baltimore. During construction, the $442 million project created 2,000 jobs. Once open, the full-service casino will employ 1,700 people.

Photo credits: Horseshoe Casino Baltimore



JV Buys Large Industrial Building and Development Site in Baltimore County

21 Jun 2014, 2:34 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

AEW Capital Management, a Boston-based privately owned real estate investment manager, has recently formed a joint venture with Redgate Capital Partners, a private equity real estate investment firm also headquartered in Bean Town, to acquire a large industrial building and a development site in Baltimore County. The price of the transaction was not disclosed. Cassidy Turley arranged the sale.

The industrial building is located at 4801 Hollins Ferry Road, in Halethorpe. It was constructed in 2008 and offers 279,016 square feet of space. According to Cassidy Turley, the Class A industrial building was fully leased at the time of the sale to three national credit tenants: FedEx, Forward Air and Global Experience Specialists.

PropertyShark reports that the property last changed hands in 2013, for $13 million. The real estate website also says that the current market value of 4801 Hollins Ferry Road is $11,087,300.

4803 Hollins Ferry Road is a 17.23-acre development site. It was approved for an approximately 300,000 square foot, Class A distribution center. According to PropertyShark, this property also last changed hands in 2013, for $7 million. Its current market value is $2,338,000.

Cassidy Turley’s Capital Markets team represented the seller, Goldman Sachs, in the transaction. It included Jonathan M. Carpenter, Nicole R. Keelty and Graham Savage.

“The opportunity to acquire this high quality well leased industrial building, combined with a rare development site in the Baltimore Washington Corridor, appealed to a wide audience of national and international investors,” Jonathan M. Carpenter, managing director and principal at Cassidy Turley, said in a press statement. “We anticipate the highly functional existing building and the soon-to-be built Class A distribution facility will prove to be an outstanding long term investment for AEW and Redgate.”

The Baltimore metropolitan area continues to experience slow but steady job growth. Its unemployment rate has decreased to 6.3%, the lowest point since the end of 2008 and also lower than the national average of 7.0%. The low unemployment rate, together with the region’s location, close to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, and with easy access to the Port of Baltimore, make the Baltimore metro area attractive to industrial investors and users.

CBRE reports that Class A availability continued to shrink in the first quarter of the year, accelerating rent growth. The region’s overall industrial vacancy decreased to 9.2% while the overall asking rent increased by $0.22 to $5.22 per square foot on a triple net basis.

Charts courtesy of CBRE.







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