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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


KEYW Leases Space in a New Building to Be Developed by COPT in Hanover

8 Apr 2014, 1:20 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

At the end of 2013, the Baltimore Sun named the KEYW Corporation one of Baltimore’s Top 100 Workplaces. Since then, the cyber security services provider has continued to grow and, recently, has announced its plans to expand.

On April 1, KEYW said it has signed a 10-year lease with the Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) for an additional 88,500 square feet of space in a new building. It will be constructed at 7880 Milestone Parkway, close to KEYW’s current headquarters, in Hanover. It will be close to both Fort George G. Meade and the National Security Agency.

The new building will house KEYW’s Advanced Cyber Research and Training Center. There, KEYW will develop tools and analytics to help protect and defend the United States against cyber terrorists. The state-of-the-art training center will also help train the students required to bring the cyber warfare forces up to full strength.

“KEYW has always been on the leading edge of cyber security and this investment to expand our infrastructure comes as a result of our recognition that the U.S. Government needs the cyber expertise we provide,” KEYW President and CEO Len Moodispaw said in a statement for the press.

During the first quarter of 2014, COPT has completed 176,000 square feet of development leasing at four distinct projects, in Maryland, Philadelphia and Northern Virginia.  It will soon start work on the new building for KEYW. Plans call for a four-story structure, with 120,000 square feet of space. KEYW’s lease is expected to start during the third quarter of 2015. The cyber security company has the option to take the remaining 30,000 square feet of space.

Founded in 2008, KEYW has expanded rapidly and now has nearly 1,100 employees in five states. Recently, the company has expanded its Airborne Sensors and Flight Operations Center in North Andover, Massachusetts by 10,000 square feet to support new sensor technologies and flight service offerings. It also plans to expand into an additional 15,000 square feet of space in its Severn, Maryland facility to accommodate growth in both sensor and microelectronic development.

Photo credits: The KEYW Corporation

Rubell Hotels Reopens Historic Lord Baltimore Hotel, Following Multi-million Dollar Restoration

31 Mar 2014, 6:57 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The Lord Baltimore Hotel officially reopened on Thursday, March 27, following a restoration project that brought the old building back to life. Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Councilman William Cole and other dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The hotel was constructed in 1928, in the heart of downtown Baltimore. It was designed by famous architect William Lee Stoddart, in the French Renaissance style. At that time, the 23-story building was considered one of the crowning architectural jewels of Baltimore. It is included in the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of Historic Hotels of America.

From its 289-foot height, The Lord Baltimore kept watch over the city and, as the years went by, it saw many things change and experienced many changes as well. It changed ownership several times, it even changed its name; but, most importantly, it seems that the old hotel finally managed to change its luck for the better.

In March 2013, Rubell Hotels acquired the Lord Baltimore for $10 million. The family-owned company is known for renovating architecturally significant and historic hotels and turning them into affordable cultural hubs. Rubell Hotels immediately started work on a multi-million dollar top-to-bottom renovation of the historic hotel.

Now, a year later, the Lord Baltimore has been restored to its former glory. Its 440 guestrooms and suites feature dark wood tones with clean lines, contemporary art, velvet drapes and plush mattresses, as well as high-speed internet, HD TVs, refrigerators and coffee makers. Rubell Hotels has brought on Scott Sanders, formerly of the Ralph Lauren interior design department, for the redesign of the rooms. He also worked on reimagining the French Kitchen restaurant, the LB Bakery, the LB Tavern, the hotel’s lobby, and the more than 20.000 square feet of meeting and event space, including the historic Calvert Ballroom.

The restored Lord Baltimore will feature a signature gift shop called SideShow, an outpost of the American Visionary Art Museum’s museum shop. Rubell Hotels also plans to hold art exhibitions throughout the hotel’s public spaces.

Photo credits: The Lord Baltimore Hotel

Baltimore’s 1901 South Charles Wins USGBC Wintergreen Award

24 Mar 2014, 2:09 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Owings Mills-based Chesapeake Realty Partners has seen its efforts to create an environmentally friendly building recognized. The 1901 South Charles apartments, one of Chesapeake’s newest apartment communities, has been awarded the United States Green Building Council Maryland 2013 Wintergreen Award for Excellence in Green Building.

Located in the city’s Federal Hill neighborhood, 1901 South Charles features 193 high-end studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment units. The apartments feature hardwood floors, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, Energy Star rated units and appliances, and more. Community amenities include a 5,000-square-foot Resident’s Club with Wi-Fi, state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga/Wii room, individual club style package lockers, and courtyard.

Chesapeake started work on the building in 2011, investing $32 million. 1901 South Charles opened to tenants in 2012, with a LEED Silver certification. But this wasn’t enough for the developers. Their efforts to create an energy- and cost-efficient building paid off a year later, in 2013, when the USGBC awarded 1901 South Charles LEED Gold certification. The apartment building became the first wood-framed residential rental community in Baltimore to achieve this distinction.

“It’s amazing to see the diversity of people in support of, and actively working towards, a healthy and sustainable built environment,” USGBC Maryland’s Executive Director, Mary Pulcinella, said in a statement for the press. “Wintergreen is a unique opportunity to bring all of these people together to recognize why Maryland is an exemplary state for green building practices.”

USGBC Maryland’s annual Wintergreen awards program celebrates excellence in green building. It honors outstanding achievements in sustainable design and construction in the state of Maryland. The 9th Annual Wintergreen Awards for Excellence in Green Building were held this February. The USGBC presented 14 awards.

Governor Martin O’Malley won the Leader Award for his work to make Maryland a greener and healthier place to live. In addition to 1901 South Charles, the list of winning projects also includes Roger Carter Recreation Community Center, Foxcroft School-Stuart Hall, The Greens at Irvington Mews, the Fallsway Housing and Service Center, the Southeast CDC Neighborhood Reinvestment Center, the Howard Community College Health Sciences Building, Ducketts Lane Elementary School and Union Wharf.

Photo credits: www.1901southcharles.com

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.

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