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Woody Harrelson Buys Baltimore’s Inn at the Black Olive

16 Mar 2014, 4:45 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Woody Harrelson is an Emmy Award winner and Oscar nominee. You may know him for his work in ”Cheers,” ”White Men Can’t Jump”, ”Natural Born Killers,” ”The People vs. Larry Flynt,” ”No Country for Old Men,” ”Now You See Me” or ”The Hunger Games.” You may also know him as an environmental and anti-war activist, as PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian in 2012, or as a supporter of the legalization of marijuana in the United States. What you may not know about this famous Hollywood actor is that he is now the owner of a Baltimore hotel.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the actor, together with John “Jack” Dwyer, founder of Capital Funding Group Inc., acquired the Inn at the Black Olive in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood. The property was purchased in January, for $4.5 million.

The Spiliadis family opened the Inn at the Black Olive in 2011, along Baltimore’s historic waterfront. But they lost it to foreclosure last summer. First Mariner Bank repossessed the property at auction for $3.9 million.

The eco-friendly boutique hotel has 12 large rooms. According to its website, it was constructed using organic building materials, each room has organic bedding and organic towels, and the ingredients used to prepare the meals are, of course, organic.  

It is this feature that attracted Woody Harrelson most. The actor is a well-known vegan. He stayed at the hotel for seven weeks, in 2011, during the filming of HBO’s ”Game Change.” Harrelson enjoyed his stay so much that, when he heard about the hotel’s problems, he immediately offered his help.

Dimitris Spiliadis brought Woody Harrelson and Jack Dwyer together. The local businessman is also a fan of healty living. He became familiar with the Spiliadis family through the health food and “green drinks” they provided for Dwyer’s Bare Hills Racquet and Fitness Club. Dwyer, who invested his own money, not his company’s, and Harrelson will each own half of the Inn at the Black Olive. The Spiliadis family will lease the hotel from the new ownership group and will continue to operate it on the same path, trying to capitalize on the health-conscious green market. The Inn at the Black Olive has three and a half stars on TripAdvisor.

Woody Harrelson currently co-stars in HBO’s crime drama ”True Detective,” alongside Matthew McConaughey, who recently won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He has been spotted in Baltimore several times in the past few years. Now that he owns a hotel here, maybe he’ll visit the city even more.

Photo credits: Steve Rogers
Photo of the Inn at the Black Olive courtesy of The Inn at the Black Olive Facebook.

Office Tower In Baltimore’s CBD Is Now For Sale

10 Mar 2014, 3:50 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A Baltimore skyscraper located right in the heart of the city’s Central Business District is looking for new owners. The 22-story building at 2 Hopkins Plaza is up for sale. Transwestern is marketing the Class B office tower together with the three-story pavilion building at 10 Hopkins Plaza.

The properties are part of a two-building complex constructed in 1970, by British American Properties, Inc., a defunct UK company. It offers 404,088 square feet of space and was once home to important companies such as Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust, IBM, Venable or PNC Bank. But in the last few years, it started to lose tenants.

Venable, which occupied 123,374 square feet on eight floors at 2 Hopkins Plaza, left in April 2011. It was followed by PNC Bank, which occupied 202,052 square feet of space in the 378,798-square-foot tower, in September 2012. Although it has already moved to its new location at 1 E. Pratt Street, PNC Bank still holds a lease for space at 2 Hopkins Plaza. It will expire this December. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan occupies about half of the space in the pavilion building at 10 Hopkins Plaza.

Transwestern said that more than $10 million in capital improvements have gone into the office tower over the past decade. Its elevators were modernized in 2012 and the building is also looking to obtain an ENERGY STAR certificate.

Two Hopkins Plaza has one of the largest floor plates in the city. It also enjoys a great location, close to shops, businesses and public transportation, and sits on an underground parking garage with 317 spaces. According to Transwestern, it would be ideal for an apartment conversion.

Offers for the two-building complex are due by April 1. Transwestern did not announce an asking price.

Photo credits: Transwestern

Greenberg Gibbons and Vanguard to Finally Break Ground This Year on $140M Foundry Row Project in Owings Mills

3 Mar 2014, 4:16 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor


In 2012, Greenberg Gibbons and Vanguard Commercial Property Development announced their plans to start work on the $140 million Foundry Row development in Owings Mills. They immediately encountered opposition from neighboring developers, also working on important projects in the area. And, after years of fighting, they finally won.

Recently, the Baltimore County Board of Appeals upheld the Administrative Law Judge’s decision to approve the site development plan for Foundry Row, thus rejecting all of the opposition’s claims. With this important hurdle out of the way, Greenberg Gibbons and Vanguard can now submit their permit applications. Construction could start later this year.

“We are pleased with the Board’s decision and commend the elected officials and community groups who have been steadfast in their support of this project,” Brian Gibbons, chairman and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons, said in a statement for the press. “We look forward to turning our attention to the construction phase of Foundry Row and getting one step closer to bringing Wegmans to Owings Mills.”

Foundry Row is a mixed-use development located on 52 acres of land near the intersection of Reisterstown and Painters Mill roads. The center will be anchored by a state-of-the-art, 130,000-square-foot Wegmans grocery store. It will also feature 365,000 square feet of retail space, a national fitness anchor, a sporting goods anchor, upscale shops and restaurants, as well as 60,000 square feet of Class A office space.

“We are thrilled that plans for Foundry Row continue to make positive headway,” said Ralph Uttaro, senior vice president of real estate and development of Wegmans Food Market. “We remain totally committed to Owings Mills and look forward to opening our store at Foundry Row.”

Greenberg Gibbons said in a news release that the construction phase of the $140 million project will support 2,300 full- and part-time jobs in Baltimore County, as well as $264 million in sales of goods and services from county businesses. Foundry Row is expected to open in 2015. It will create 3,100 jobs and bring an estimate of $4.8 million in annual fiscal benefits for Baltimore County. The state of Maryland also stands to receive $8.2 million each year in tax receipts as a result of the project’s operations at full build-out.

Photo credits: Greenberg Gibbons

Modus Hotels Relaunches Brookshire Suites in Baltimore

24 Feb 2014, 3:22 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

At the end of 2012, Modus Hotels announced the purchase of the Brookshire Suites in Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. The Washington, D.C.-based full service hotel development and management company paid $7.85 million for the property, according to PropertyShark. In the weeks that followed the announcement, it started work on a multi-million dollar renovation project, to breathe new life into the old building, originally constructed in 1958.

The project was finished a little over a year later, delivering a modern lifestyle hotel to downtown Baltimore. Modus Hotels relaunched the newly designed Brookshire Suites in February 2014, with a new lounge, new suites, and a new look. Seattle-based designers, Dawson Design Associates revamped the interiors of the property.

The Brookshire Suites is located at 120 East Lombard Street, close to such popular attractions as the National Aquarium, the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore Orioles’ Stadium, Camden Yards and the Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium. It offers 97 studio and one-bedroom suites, with oversized desks, mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, large windows and much more. The hotel also includes 2,000 square feet of event space, a RedBAR in the lobby and street art by Baltimore Love Project artist, Michael Owen.

Marcus & Millichap sees 2014 as an uncertain year for the hotel market in the Mid-Atlantic region. Maryland, as well as the neighboring states of Virginia and West Virginia, registered a decline in occupancy in 2013, due to the loss of government-related room demand and reduced spending by households affected by government and private-sector furloughs and layoffs. However, the hotel market performed decently in D.C. and Delaware, where occupancy was greater than in 2012. This, together with the new federal budget that restores some spending, raises hopes that performance will improve in the months ahead.

Photo credits: www.brookshiresuites.com
Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.

Arundel Village Plaza Shopping Center Sold for $6.5M

17 Feb 2014, 5:34 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

An Anne Arundel county shopping center changed hands recently when BTR Capital Group sold the Arundel Village Plaza Shopping Center to Oak Tree Management for $6.5 million. The Greysteel Company, a real estate investment services firm based in Washington D.C., served as exclusive advisor and agent.

The Arundel Village Plaza Shopping Center is located at 5501-5517 Ritchie Highway/Route 2 in Brooklyn Park, just minutes from the Port of Baltimore. It offers 54,480 square feet of retail space. Greysteel said in a press statement that the shopping center was 88 percent leased to 11 tenants at the time of the sale. The tenant roster includes Taco Bell/Long John Silver’s, Domino’s Pizza, Valvoline Instant Oil Change and the State of Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. According to Greysteel, there are 82,000 residents within a three mile radius of the shopping center, and approximately 204,000 residents within a five mile radius.

Gil Neuman, managing director of the Greysteel Company’s mid-Atlantic retail investment sales division, represented the seller and procured the buyer.

CBRE reports that the Baltimore retail market performed well throughout the fourth quarter of 2013 despite the 16-day government shutdown. The federal government’s two-year budget deal is expected to bring stability to the region, and, as the area’s job market strengthens, so will consumer confidence.

The Baltimore area’s overall retail vacancy rate increased over the quarter to 6.5 percent, but so did the overall rental rate. In Q4 2013, the average rent reached $21.48 per square foot.

Photo credits: Google Maps
Charts courtesy of CBRE.

Resmark and Timberlake Homes Constructing Creekstone Village Townhome Community in Anne Arundel County

7 Feb 2014, 3:37 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A new, single-family townhome community is coming to Anne Arundel County. Resmark Land and Housing, a division of The Los Angeles-based Resmark Companies, and Timberlake Homes announced at the end of January that construction is underway on Creekstone Village in Pasadena. The project is expected to be completed in 36 months.

The community is located at 8029 Jumpers Hole Road, adjacent to routes 100 and 2, and just minutes from downtown Baltimore. It will consist of 89 colonial-style townhomes, each standing three stories tall, with elegant brick exteriors. The townhomes will range from 1,720 to 2,636 square feet. They will feature three bedrooms, two full baths and one half bath, as well as one- or two-car garages.

“Resmark’s investment with Timberlake Homes for the development of Creekstone Village reflects the growing demand for housing in the Baltimore–D.C. area,” stated R. Kent Grahl, president, Resmark Land and Housing. “Timberlake’s depth of experience and strong reputation in the area are the ideal match for the project’s quality location near major employers, Annapolis and the Beltway.”

Community amenities include a clubhouse with business center, resort-style outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, a children’s play area and dog park. Although close to two major highways, Creekstone Village will be well buffered by heavily treed landscaping. Residents will be close to many shopping and restaurant options as well as major employers. Located just a few miles from Creekstone Village, Fort Meade is expected to provide over 5,000 new jobs in the next few years.

“Creekstone Village is an ideal project for this community, which is undergoing a renaissance in terms of job growth and housing,” said John H. Minzer, president and CEO, Timberlake Homes.  “We are extremely proud and grateful to have provided new homes for thousands of area homebuyers in the course of almost 50 years, and in partnership with Resmark, we’re looking forward to delivering this premier new project for the next generation of home buyers.”

Photos courtesy of Casey & Sayre.

Blue Ocean Realty Buys 720-Unit Millbrook Park Apartments in Pikesville

4 Feb 2014, 2:44 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Seven hundred twenty apartments; 73 buildings; 40 acres of land. Put them all together and you get the Millbrook Park Apartments in Pikesville. Blue Ocean Realty, one of the largest owner-managed investment companies in the Baltimore metropolitan area, recently purchased this massive complex.

The Millbrook Park Apartments are located at 6808 Milbrook Park Drive. It consists of spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes, and offers five different floor plans. The apartments feature fully equipped kitchens, parquet wood flooring, patios, balconies, and much more. Millbrook Park Apartments also includes such amenities as a large swimming pool, soccer field, playground and an onsite shuttle bus service which provides access to local retail centers. On its website, Blue Ocean Realty says apartments in the complex rent between $700 and $1,000 per month.

In an apartment market outlook for the Baltimore area, Marcus & Millichap reports that operations will strengthen in 2014, as the market absorbs last year’s construction surge. This year’s accelerating job growth is expected to boost net absorption of apartments across the metro, with Baltimore’s growing 20- to 34-year-old population further supporting demand. Residents in this age range are generally considered the prime renter demographic. Their numbers within the Greater Baltimore area have increased over the past five years, growing at double the pace of the national average.

Marcus & Millichap predicts that demand will outpace construction, pushing vacancy to 4.5 percent by the end of the year. Rents are also expected to advance 3.1 percent in 2014, to $1,229 per month.

Blue Ocean Realty announced the acquisition of the Millbrook Park Apartments on its facebook page, on January 24, but did not disclose the price of the transaction. To date, the 720-unit property is the largest community to join the company’s portfolio. In recent months, several Baltimore area multifamily properties with hundreds of units have changed hands. Read about all of these transactions here and here.

Photo credits: Blue Ocean Realty
Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.

Joint Venture to Convert Vacant Baltimore Warehouse into Luxury Historic Lofts

24 Jan 2014, 6:58 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The Raffel Building, a historic building currently sitting vacant in one of Baltimore’s most desirable neighborhoods, is on its way to becoming upscale apartments. Two local companies, Poverni Ventures LLC and Management Restoration Services LLC, have formed a joint venture to redevelop the abandoned warehouse at 111 W. Heath Street and turn it into the Heath Street Lofts.

The Raffel Building consists of two interconnected buildings. It was constructed at the start of the 20th century, at the intersection of Heath and Clarkson Street, in Federal Hill. Once, the warehouse complex was home to the J.M. Raffel Co., a cardboard box manufacturer. Now, it just sits vacant. In recent years, the Raffel Building attracted interest from many developers.

“This building has a rich history of development that never materialized, and it is finally time to put it back to serve the South Baltimore community,” said Eugene Poverni, principal and founder of Poverni Ventures, in a press statement.

Poverni Ventures LLC is a real estate development company, while Management Restoration Services LLC is a property management company. The two acquired the 70,000-square-foot historic building last month, for $1.05 million. They plan to convert it into a luxury 60-unit apartment community for young professionals, students, or frequent commuters to Washington, D.C. via Interstate-95.

The new Heath Street Lofts will include such Class A amenities as an on-site parking, gym, leasable storage units, a 24-hour front desk, and an oversized rooftop deck and event space with panoramic views of the city. The Urban Design Group is the project’s architect and is designing the new community to achieve LEED Silver certification.

“Revitalizing this great industrial building will provide unique, modern, and luxurious housing for our residents while maintaining its historic charm,” Ibrahim Sheikh, principal of Management Restoration Services, said. The developers plan to start construction this spring. The project is expected to be completed in late 2015.

Photo credits: Urban Design Group

JBG, Klein Enterprises Unveil State-of-the-Art Social Security Administration Complex at 6100 Wabash Avenue

17 Jan 2014, 3:29 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The JBG Companies and Klein Enterprises have unveiled 6100 Wabash Avenue, a state-of-the-art, twin-building facility for the Social Security Administration. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Congressman Elijah Cummings were among the officials and community leaders present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new Social Security Administration complex is located on 11 acres in northwest Baltimore, directly opposite the Reisterstown Metro Station. It offers 538,000 square feet in two office buildings, five and seven stories tall. Amenities include an adjacent, 1,076-car, above-ground parking garage and child care center. The facility was designed to achieve LEED Silver certification. It features an array of environmentally friendly elements such as a green roof and a large park area.

Work on the project started in January 2012. JBG owns the property in partnership with Klein Enterprises. It was designed by AECOM, with Clark Construction as the general contractor.

GSA has leased this facility for a 20-year term. It will be home to up to 2,300 employees of the Social Security Administration and will replace the agency’s Metro West facility.

“The opening of 6100 Wabash represents not just a fresh start for the Social Security Administration, but a catalyst for future development and job creation in the area,” Congressman Elijah Cummings said in a press statement.

“With its proximity to Reisterstown Metro, this new facility demonstrates the importance of expanding transit-oriented development in Baltimore,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake added. “When federal, state and local agencies embrace transit-oriented development, such projects directly improve the lives of thousands of Baltimore commuters.”

As part of Maryland’s transit-oriented development (TOD) strategy, the new facility’s location near public transport is expected to attract new development, to build on the value of existing businesses and residential neighborhoods, and, in the end, to transform the surrounding area. The goal is to create a vibrant community where residents want to live, work and play.

“We are proud to begin 2014 by providing GSA and the Social Security Administration a transit-oriented, environmentally sound workplace fit for the 21st century,” said Rod Lawrence, a partner with The JBG Companies. “JBG’s strategy is to concentrate new, sustainable development close to Metro and other transit options. It has been a pleasure to work with the City of Baltimore to develop this new state-of-the-art facility.”

Photo credits: AECOM

Transwestern Hired to Sell Two Apartment Communities in Anne Arundel County

10 Jan 2014, 5:26 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Two apartment communities in Anne Arundel County are now on the market. Together, they offer over 450 units. Transwestern’s Bethesda, Md.-based Mid-Atlantic Multifamily Group  has been named exclusive agent for the sale of both properties.

Shelter Cove is the largest of the two properties, with 300 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Community amenities include assigned parking, swimming pool, playground, 24-hour fitness center, clubhouse and more. Another important feature is the community’s location, at 537 Tranquil Court, in Odenton. Positioned right in the heart of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. Corridor, Shelter Cove offers easy access to some of the largest employment drivers in the region: the Arundel Mills Mall, Maryland Live! Casino, the BWI Airport, and Fort Meade, the largest employer in the State of Maryland with more than 56,000 workers and home to the National Security Agency and the US Cyber Command.

Shelter Cove was constructed in 1974 and was renovated in 2013. According to Transwestern, as of December 2013, 96-units have been or are in the process of being renovated, with an additional four units scheduled to be renovated this month. These units are being awarded a premium of $200 to $250 per month which provides investors the opportunity to complete the remaining units and increase rental revenue by approximately $500,000 per year.

The average rent at Shelter Cove is $1,338 per month. According to the 2013 Third Quarter Apartment Report, published by Transwestern’s research affiliate, Delta Associates, the average effective rent in Northern Anne Arundel County is $1,638 per month. Vacancy is at 2.7 percent.

Forest Hills, the second property, is located at 4 Bricin Court, just minutes from downtown Annapolis. The apartment community was constructed in 1965 and renovated in 2008. It consists of 153 one- ,two- , and three-bedroom units. Community amenities include a swimming pool with sundeck, picnic area, beautifully landscaped grounds and more. The property enjoys an excellent location, along the Forest Drive Corridor, and is close to the two largest employers in Annapolis, the U.S. Naval Academy and the Maryland State House.

Transwestern reports that, as of December 16, 2013, Forest Hills was 97.4 percent occupied, with an average rent of $1,363 per month. In Annapolis, the average rent is approximately $1,800 per month.

Photo credits: Transwestern

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