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Developers Plan Two New Office Projects in Baltimore

23 Apr 2015, 8:30 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Developers plan to start work on two new office projects in Baltimore. Cross Street Partners and Merritt Properties LLC intend to bring almost 140,000 square feet of office space to the region.

According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Cross Street Partners plans to redevelop Baltimore’s historic Lion Bros. building, which has been sitting vacant for more than a decade at 875 Hollins St., and turn it into offices for small entrepreneurial companies. The property has three stories and 37,500 square feet of space. It was originally constructed in 1885, and served for many years as the home of the Lion Bros. embroidery company.

Cross Street Partners expects to finish the project in the second quarter of 2016. According to a marketing flyer released by Colliers International, the redeveloped building will be LEED Gold certified, with numerous amenities, including parking for 20 cars.

The Baltimore Business Journal also reported that Merritt Properties plans to build a 100,000-square-foot office tower in Canton. Melissa Teague, the company’s spokeswoman, told the Baltimore Business Journal that the office tower would be phase two of a larger project.

Phase one calls for the construction of a seven-level parking garage on Boston Street. Merritt plans to start work on it later this year, and expects construction to take about 12 months. Once this phase is complete, the company will assess the office demand in the area and decide whether or not to start work on the office tower.

In a recently released report, DTZ said that the Greater Baltimore office market experienced 224,235 square feet of net positive absorption in the first three months of the year. As a result, the region’s office vacancy rate dropped, reaching 15.63 percent at the end of Q1 2015. DTZ expects this decline to continue and said that Baltimore could see an office vacancy of close to 13 percent by the end of the year. Although rents have remained steady during the first quarter, they should rise over the next 12 to 24 months, due to the tightening supply and consistent demand.

Charts courtesy of DTZ.

Armada Hoffler Buys Two Maryland Retail Centers for $20M

23 Apr 2015, 8:27 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Armada Hoffler Properties, Inc. is expanding its Maryland portfolio. The Virginia Beach-based real estate company recently closed on the acquisition of two grocery anchored retail centers located in Perry Hall and Hagerstown. The total purchase price was $20.2 million.

Perry Hall Marketplace and Stone House Square add over 185,000 square feet of retail space to Armada Hoffler’s portfolio. At the time of the sale, the two properties had a combined occupancy of approximately 90 percent. Perry Hall Marketplace, with 74,000 square feet of space, is anchored by Safeway, while the 112,000-square-foot Stone House Square is anchored by Weis Markets and shadow-anchored by a Lowe’s Home Improvement Store.

Armada Hoffler said that, in order to finance the acquisition of the two properties, it used $15.2 million of proceeds from the sale of the Sentara New Town Medical Office Building, in Williamsburg, Va. The company also used 415,500 shares of common stock.

In its 2015 retail market outlook, Marcus & Millichap said that investors will turn their eyes towards Baltimore this year, attracted by the region’s solid employment and by the better yields, compared to other nearby markets. Retail vacancies are expected to drop to 4.4 percent this year, with average rents rising by 3.8 percent, to $19.34 per square foot.

Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap.

Odenton Industrial Building Sells for $11.3M

23 Apr 2015, 8:25 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Agellan Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust is selling one of its properties in Greater Baltimore. The REIT said earlier this month that a third-party purchased has agreed to buy its single-tenant industrial building at 8271 Anderson Court in Odenton. The sale price is approximately $11.3 million.

The Odenton industrial building offers 70,000 square feet of space. It was constructed in 2001, on an 11.6-acre site. According to PropertyShark, Agellan purchased the property at the start of 2013, from Aptus Maryland LLC, for a little over $10.2 million.

The transaction is scheduled to close on April 20. Frank Camenzuli, the REIT’s CEO, said in a news release that Agellan intends to use the money from the disposition to fund new investment opportunities.

CBRE reports that industrial investment sales activity in the Baltimore area continued to stay very healthy during the first quarter of 2015. Although transaction volume decreased over the previous quarter, due to an imbalance of supply and demand, the Los Angeles-based commercial real estate company expects it to improve later this year, with prices exceeding pre-recession levels.

According to CBRE, the region’s overall vacancy rate increased by 0.5 percent in Q1, as a result of two warehouse buildings coming online during the period, and currently sits at 9.5 percent. The overall rent also increased during the quarter, to $5.69 triple net per square foot per year. Due to the low vacancy rates, rents are expected to continue to grow in many Baltimore submarkets in 2015.

Photo credit: CBRE

Maple Lawn Office Building Earns LEED Gold Certification

23 Apr 2015, 8:23 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

St. John Properties, Inc. announced on April 8 that its four-story Class “A” office building at 8135 Maple Lawn Boulevard has earned a LEED Gold certification from the Maryland Chapter of the United States Green Building Council. The property was constructed by St. John Properties in a joint partnership with Greenebaum Enterprises, Inc.

St. John Properties broke ground on 8135 Maple Lawn in the Spring of 2013. The 131,257-square-foot building is located within Maple Lawn, a 600-acre mixed-use business community in Howard County. It was constructed with a brick and glass exterior, and column-free 35,000-square-foot floorplates. 8135 Maple Lawn is currently about 90 percent occupied by Cisco Systems, Inc. The San Jose-based company signed a lease for 97,128 square feet of space in the office building last November.

Some of the green features that helped the project achieve LEED Gold certification include high-energy HVAC units, white roofing, energy-efficient light fixtures, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, and double pane insulated glass. St. John Properties was one of the first developers in Maryland to build all of its new projects in accordance with the USGBC’s green building standards.

“Developing LEED-certified buildings and leading the way in the building sustainability movement remains an integral part of our corporate mission,” Richard Williamson, senior vice president of leasing at St. John Properties, said in a press statement.

Photo credit: St. John Properties

JV Buys 383-Unit Towson Apartment Community for $44.2M

23 Apr 2015, 8:19 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Morgan Properties has made another large multifamily purchase in the Greater Baltimore area. In a joint venture with DRA Advisors LLC of New York, the King of Prussia-based company has now acquired The Colony at Kenilworth, an apartment community located in Towson.

The purchase price was not disclosed. However, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, National Property Investors 6, a California limited partnership, sold the property to the joint venture for a total price of $44.2 million. Jones Lang LaSalle represented the seller in the transaction.

The Colony was constructed in 1967. It is located at 1 Bonrock Court, close to numerous attractions, such as Towson University, the 1.1-million square foot Towson Town Center and the Shops at Kenilworth, which is currently undergoing a $20 million renovation. The property offers 383 one-, two- and three-bedroom garden style apartments and townhomes, as well as a fitness center, a swimming pool and other amenities.

The Colony is the third acquisition made by the Morgan-DRA joint venture in the area. Now, the new owners plan to start work on a renovation project for the property, to upgrade unit interiors and to improve common area amenities. Morgan did not reveal the cost of the project but it did say in a news release that, once the renovation is finished, the Colony will offer its residents ”one of the most comprehensive amenity packages in the Towson submarket.”

In recent years, Morgan has purchased several other properties in the Baltimore-Washington area, in joint venture with other partners. The Preserve at Owings Crossing, The Lighthouse at Twin Lakes, and the 500-unit Windsor Mill Portfolio are some of them.  


Photo credit: Morgan Properties

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