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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 The employees will relocate to the new building later this year, from the 40-year old, outdated facility at Baltimore’s State Center.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.

New Key’s Pointe Residences Open in Baltimore, Part of O’Donnell Heights Revitalization

13 Jun 2014, 7:49 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

At the start of the month, the city of Baltimore celebrated the opening of the newly constructed Key’s Pointe Residences, the first phase of the O’Donnell Heights Revitalization project. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony along with Paul T. Graziano, executive director of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, The Michaels Development Company, AHC-Greater Baltimore, Inc., and other elected officials and members of the community.

The Baltimore City Housing Authority has partnered with the Michaels Development Company and with the nontfor-profit AHC of Greater Baltimore, Inc. on the 62-acre redevelopment of the World War II-era O’Donnell Heights public housing project in the southeast corner of Baltimore City, just outside of Dundalk. They broke ground on the $20 million first phase of the project in April, 2013.

Key’s Pointe Residences features 76 new townhouse-style residential units. Sixteen units are reserved for persons with disabilities. “Key’s Pointe Residences is the embodiment of the renaissance that’s going on all over Baltimore City,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in a press statement. “These beautiful new homes provide another opportunity for Baltimore to welcome new residents to an amazing community that both current and new residents will enjoy.” Key’s Pointe Residences also offers a new playground with splashpad, and a computer room. A new community center will be constructed in future phases.

“The development of Key’s Pointe Residences has rejuvenated the O’Donnell Heights community and it could not have happened without the help of the community and the support of our state and federal partners,” Paul T. Graziano added. “We are also proud of the work our development partners have done and it will go a long way toward strengthening and bringing new energy to the greater community.”

When fully complete, the O’Donnell Heights redevelopment will offer over 900 new affordable and market rate townhomes and apartments, as well as more than six acres of new parks and green space. The developers expect to break ground on the next phase of the project during the first half of 2015.


Photo credits: The Michaels Development Company

Enterprise OpensThe Greens at English Consul Affordable Apartments For Seniors

6 Jun 2014, 3:04 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Enterprise Homes celebrated the grand opening of its latest senior community in Baltimore County. Called The Greens at English Consul, it is the first new construction in the Lansdowne/Baltimore Highlands neighborhood in almost 20 years.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was present at the event. He was joined by other local and state dignitaries as well as officials from Enterprise, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, and AGM Financial Services.

Work on The Greens at English Consul started on April 1, 2013. The project was topped off last September. At a cost of $14.6 million it called for the construction of 90 affordable apartments for seniors earning up to 60 percent of the area’s median income.

The four-story building is located at 4120 Oak Road. It consists of 72 one-bedroom and 18 two-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a covered entry porch with sitting areas, a large paved patio, a library with computer terminals, a community room, TV lounge and sports bar, activity room, laundry room, mail room and fitness room.

The Greens at English Consul meets the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, the first national framework for building green affordable housing. It was designed with a focus on energy efficiency and environmental benefits, and features energy-efficient windows, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, energy-saving light fixtures, Green Label carpeting and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company was the project’s general contractor, with Grimm + Parker as the architect. The project was funded with the help of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME funds, Rental Housing Works funds, Partnership Rental Housing funds, EmPower Maryland funds, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, a Maryland tax-exempt bond, an FHA-insured first mortgage, as well as developer equity.

With The Greens at English Consul now open, Enterprise has started work on another project in Baltimore’s suburbs, proving that it’s not the type of company to let the grass grow under its feet. In Westminster, Enterprise is redeveloping the 98-unit Locust House Apartments, a seven-story building for seniors and disabled individuals who earn no more than 60 percent of area median income. The $14.8 million project is expected to be completed in about a year.

Photo credits: Enterprise Homes

Former Department Store Warehouse In Mount Vernon Gets New Life As Luxury Apartments

31 May 2014, 12:52 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A new, luxury, green apartment community is coming to downtown Baltimore. Time Group Investments has turned the former main warehouse of the Hochschild Kohn department store chain into 171 luxury apartments and is now getting ready to receive tenants.

Located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, the property is now a blend of historic charm and modern design. It features a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment units with 14-foot exposed ceilings, oversized windows, hardwood floors, and many other amenities. According to the property’s website, rents at 520 Park range between $1,095 and $1,865 per month.

520 Park also includes underground parking, bicycle storage, fitness center, business center, dog wash station, electric car charging stations, and rooftop solar array. But its most unique feature is the interior landscaped courtyard. As the old warehouse had no such interior courtyard, the developers had to cut a 5,000-square-foot hole right in the middle of the building.

“520 Park Avenue represents a modern rehab of a historic building that will link Mount Vernon to Seton Hill and Downtown’s West Side,” said Mark Caplan, CEO of The Time Group, in a press statement. “When complete, this redevelopment will offer the kind of sprawling views and first-rate amenities that are spurring residential growth throughout downtown Baltimore.” The project has been designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.

Time Group Investments expects the new apartment community to become one of Mount Vernon’s most sought-after new addresses. In a press release, the developers said that demand for apartments at 520 Park has been high and that they have already started accepting applications.

Photo credits: 520 Park

Large South Baltimore Multifamily Portfolio on The Market

23 May 2014, 3:08 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Another large Baltimore-area multifamily portfolio is on the market. The 132-unit Curtis Bay Village, located off Route 173 in Curtis Bay, is looking for new owners.

The property was constructed in 1940. It consists of 47 two- and three-story buildings. Curtis Bay Village offers efficiency, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, as well as 13 townhomes, ranging in size from 400 square feet to over 1,600 square feet. Most of the units have received kitchen and bath renovations.

The property enjoys a great location, close to many important amenities. Within a five mile radius of Curtis Bay Village there are numerous shopping, dining and entertainment destinations. Harrah’s Horseshoe Baltimore Casino will open this year not too far away, adding 1,700 new jobs, and Amazon also plans to construct a fulfillment center in the area.

The Greysteel Company’s Mid-Atlantic multifamily investment sales team is the exclusive advisor and agent for the sale of Curtis Bay Village. The team includes Ari Firoozabadi, John F. Mullen, W. Kyle Tangney, Lance Ahmadian, Caleb Brown, Mike Bediones and Jake Ying. An asking price for the property has not been announced yet.

“Curtis Bay Village offers a rare opportunity to own a diverse 132-unit portfolio of multifamily and row home properties with value-add potential within minutes of downtown Baltimore,” John Mullen, director of multifamily investment sales, said in a press statement. “The submarket is growing as new jobs are added with the addition of Amazon’s warehouse and Harrah’s casino in close proximity,” according to Mullen.

In the past six months, several large multifamily portfolios have changed hands or have been put up for sale by their owners. In Howard County, two apartment communities with 348 units have sold for $68 million. A 500-unit portfolio in Windsor Mill was acquired by a joint venture last December, while Blue Ocean Realty purchased the 720-unit Millbrook Park Apartments in Pikesville. Two apartment communities in Anne Arundel County, with over 450 units, are also waiting for a new owner.

Click here for more information on the Baltimore Apartment Market.

Photo credits: Greysteel

Johns Hopkins to Build Cancer Center in Baltimore with $65 Million Gift

16 May 2014, 9:04 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Johns Hopkins announced on May 6 its plans to build a new cancer treatment building in Baltimore. The facility will be constructed with the help of a $65 million gift. It will be named after the late Albert P. “Skip” Viragh, Jr., a philanthropist and a former cancer patient treated at Johns Hopkins, who died in 2003, at the age of 62.

The Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building is scheduled for completion in 2017. It will be constructed on the southeast corner of Fayette Street and North Broadway, in East Baltimore, and will feature about 50 exam rooms, advanced cancer imaging, a specially designed cancer diagnostic and treatment planning center, and many other facilities and services.

The new facility will serve as the primary entry point to Hopkins’ Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. It will be able to accommodate all adult medical oncology patient consultations and will free up space in the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building, space that will be used for other patient services.

Ayers Saint Gross and Wilmot Sanz are the new building’s architects. A construction firm has not been selected so far. The project will be funded using mostly philanthropic gifts. The $65 million gift is part of Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins, an effort to raise $4.5 billion, primarily to support both the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

William G. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, praised Skip Viragh for all his help. “The new building will be far more than a place for physician visits and diagnostic scans. It will be the place where we’ll explore novel ways to deliver cancer care and cures,” he said in a statement for the press. “Patients with many different types of cancer will be able to get all of their services in this building, including visits, laboratory testing, clinical trials, radiology, and chemotherapy, greatly increasing the comfort and efficiency of their treatment experience at the Kimmel Cancer Center.”

Under Armour Inc. also recently pledged $10 million to Johns Hopkins for the construction of the Under Armour LiveWell Center. This new center will be located on the top floor of the Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building and will be dedicated to breast health-related programs, which will also be available to women worldwide through distance learning, the internet and social media. The gift is the largest ever made by the Baltimore-based company.

Photo credits: Johns Hopkins Medicine Facebook


Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Completes Renovation

9 May 2014, 4:54 pm

By Adrian  Maties, Associate Editor

The Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport announced last week the completion of a number of significant upgrades. They have helped improve the hotel’s ranking and elevated it into the top five of its competitive set, according to reviewers on one of the top guest-rated websites. In fact, last year, the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport received the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award.

The hotel is located in Linthicum Heights, adjacent to the Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, with downtown Baltimore just 20 minutes away. It features 280 rooms, 16,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 800 guests, and a host of amenities, including an indoor swimming pool, restaurant, fitness center and high speed Internet access. The hotel uses rooftop solar panels and is energy-efficient.

The renovation project called for a complete makeover of the lobby, upgrades to the fitness center, renovations to the hallways, as well as adding a new function room, the 4,000-square-foot Flight Deck, which can accommodate up to 200 people. Additional upgrades are planned for this fall. The hotel’s 11th floor concierge lounge will be renovated, while its lobby sundry shop will be expanded. The cost of the renovation was not disclosed.

“Although the hotel opened only in late 2006, our goal is to keep it fresh and appealing to guests,” said Joseph Bojanowski, president of PM Hospitality Strategies, the hotel’s operator, in a press statement. “The investment and hard work immediately paid off with highly favorable comments from our guests. As a result of the renovation and implementation of new guest service initiatives, website reviewers now rate the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport in the top five out of 26 competitive hotels. As we settle in from these renovations, our intent is to continue to move up in the rankings.”

Photo credits: www.hiltonbwihotel.com

Atlantic Realty Buys Baltimore’s Alameda Marketplace for $11.3M

2 May 2014, 2:32 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A Baltimore City urban shopping center recently changed hands. The Alameda Marketplace was acquired by Atlantic Realty Companies for $11,305,000. Continental Realty Corporation was the seller.

The Alameda Marketplace is located on 10.9 acres of land, at 5600 – 5658 The Alameda, not far from Good Samaritan Hospital. At the time of the sale, the property was 95  percent occupied. Its tenant roster includes Stop Shop Save, Rite-Aid, Family Dollar, Goodwill, Bank of America, Rainbow and Rent-A-Center.

Greysteel Co. represented the seller and also procured the buyer. Including the Alameda Marketplace, the real estate company arranged the sale of four significant shopping centers in the Baltimore Metro Area in the last nine months. Managing Director Gil Neuman led Greysteel’s retail team.

“The buyers acquired a center whose dense urban infill location and limited competition has maintained a high occupancy level for decades,” Gil Neuman said in a press statement. “We identified Atlantic Realty Companies as experienced players most likely to unlock added value including capitalizing on an adjacent large swath of still undeveloped land,” he added.

According to Greysteel, the Alameda Marketplace is located in the center of a dense northeast Baltimore City residential neighborhood, with an average population of 8,600 people per square mile and 230,000 residents within a three mile radius. Good Samaritan Hospital, Morgan State University, and Johns Hopkins University’s main Homewood Campus are also located nearby.

In a market outlook report for 2014, Marcus & Millichap also said that retail operations in the Baltimore area have steadily improved over the past three years and will strengthen in 2014, thanks to job growth and an increasing demand for space. Vacancy is expected to drop to 4.1 percent this year, while average rents will go up 3 percent to $19.75 per square foot.

Chart courtesy of Marcus&Millichap.

Armada Hoffler To Construct a 20-Story, Mixed-Use Tower in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

25 Apr 2014, 2:46 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

In a couple of years, Baltimore’s waterfront will be home to a new, mixed-use tower. After a two-year pre-development effort, Harbor Point developer Beatty Development Group, LLC has selected Armada Hoffler Construction Company, a division of Virginia Beach-based Armada Hoffler Properties, for the construction of the tower. The construction contract is worth $165 million.

The 20-story tower will be located adjacent to Harbor East, one of the last major development sites in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It will feature approximately 900,000 square feet of space. According to Beatty Development’s website, the building will be LEED Gold certified and will include 415,000 square feet of office space, 103 apartments, 41,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage with 750 spaces. When finished, the tower will be the new regional headquarters of Chicago-based energy company Exelon.

Construction is scheduled to start this spring. The developers expect to complete the project by spring 2016.

Since 1993, Armada Hoffler has developed projects worth over $1 billion in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. These include the Four Seasons Hotel, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel and Conference Center, Legg Mason Global Headquarters and Spinnaker Bay luxury apartments.

“The reputation and experience that we’ve earned in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor over the last two decades led to this important win,” said Eric Apperson, President of Armada Hoffler Construction Company, in a press statement. “We are excited to be a part of the Harbor Point project and the continued development of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.”

Photo credits: Beatty Development Group

Greater Baltimore Multi-Housing Developments Receive Funding

18 Apr 2014, 2:40 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Two Greater Baltimore residential projects secured financing last week, and are both now one step closer to completion. Located in downtown Baltimore and in Odenton, the two projects total more than 420 units.

Last fall, JK Equities, a real estate company based in Long Island, NY, paid 7.2 million to acquire the historic Equitable Building from Equitable Holdings Trust. Soon after, it announced its plans to invest $32 million and convert the nine-story office property into 180 market-rate housing units. Located at 10 North Calvert Street, the Equitable Building was constructed in 1891 and is considered Baltimore’s first skyscraper.

JK Equities closed a $21.5 million acquisition loan with Wall Street firm Natixis Global Asset Management last week. Eastern Union Funding President Ira Zlotowitz and Senior Managing Director Meir Kessner arranged the loan. It features a 4.91 percent annual interest rate on a three-year term. With financing now secured, the project can move forward. It is expected to be completed in March 2015.

Further south, in Odenton, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler has arranged senior debt construction financing for NOVUS Odenton Station, a Class A, transit-oriented multi-housing development. The HFF debt placement team, led by Walter Coker and Brian, worked on behalf of NOVUS Residences LLC. It placed a four-year construction loan with EagleBank and it also secured joint venture equity for the development of the project through Clark Enterprises.

NOVUS Odenton Station is located at the northeast corner of Hale Street and Nevada Avenue. It is expected to be completed in early 2015 and will feature 244 one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Amenities include a 5,000-square-foot fitness center with yoga and cycle studios, pet grooming spa, bike workshop, private park space, outdoor swimming pool, movie theater room and clubroom with billiards center.

Photo credits: JK Equities

Developers Plan 700 New Apartments in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

14 Apr 2014, 2:24 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services predicts that operations in the Baltimore apartment market will strengthen this year, as it absorbs 2013’s construction surge. The accelerating job growth and the strongest household formation in years will boost net absorption of apartments across the metro, while Baltimore’s growing 20- to 34-year-old population, considered the prime renter demographic, will further support demand.

Demand is expected to outpace construction this year, leading to a drop in vacancy to 4.5% by the end of the year. Rents are also expected to advance 3.1% to $1,229 per month. Anticipating the rising demand, developers have started to build in the area. Nearly 1,800 new units are expected to be delivered this year, 1,000 of them in downtown Baltimore.

And more apartments are on their way. The two newest projects were announced at the start of April. Together, they will bring about 700 units to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area.

According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Orlando, Fla.-based apartment developer Zom Holding Inc. plans to demolish the former University of Maryland Specialty Hospital and replace it with a new 350-unit apartment building. It would be Zom’s first development in the Baltimore area.

But there’s still a long way to go before construction can start. Zom has to purchase the hospital from the Abell Foundation, which paid $7.5 million for it. If everything goes in favor of the Florida developer, a new, six-story building will be constructed on the 2.2-acre site at 601 S. Charles Street.

The Baltimore Sun also reported that Questar Properties, a Pikesville developer, plans to build a 40- to 45-story luxury apartment tower on the site of the former McCormick & Co. spice factory. It will contain between 350 and 370 units, ground-level shopping and a six- or seven-story garage. It will also be one of the tallest buildings in Baltimore.

Questar expects the project to cost at least $130 million. The company plans to break ground by the end of the year, with a completion date set for 2017. It will build the new tower on 1.9 acres of land at Light and Conway Streets. Questar purchased the property at auction, for $11.5 million, three years ago. In March, Questar showed preliminary designs to neighborhood groups and, last week, it presented plans to the city.

Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap


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