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Baltimore’s Medical Office Market Showing Signs of Improvement

29 Sep 2014, 3:02 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Cassidy Turley’s 2014 Baltimore Medical Office Report

Good news for Baltimore’s medical office market. According to the latest report from Cassidy Turley, the market is showing signs of improvement.

Cassidy Turley released its 2014 Baltimore Medical Office Report last week. It said that healthcare has long been a primary economic driver for the Baltimore metro area. Research organizations and hospital operators, such as Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland Medical System and MedStar Health, have played important roles in the region’s recovery from the latest recession. With more than 250,000 employees, Education & Health Services is the largest job sector in the Baltimore metro area. And it continues to add new jobs each year

The report also says that Baltimore’s growing population is demanding more medical services and is currently spending 18%-25% more on various categories of health care expenditures than the national average. These factors will all contribute to a vibrant and growing medical office real estate environment throughout the region.

According to Cassidy Turley, there are currently 10.1 million square feet of medical office space in the Baltimore metro area. The market is 88.3% occupied at the moment, with only 1.2 million square feet of vacant space, including newly built facilities. New construction has become a necessity, as medical office tenants are now looking for quality space to deliver their services.

“Limited new construction throughout the Baltimore region, as well as the growing demand for medical services, has helped stabilize vacancy rates in most of the area submarkets. This, in turn, has caused average asking rents to increase in various parts of the region, a clear signal that demand for medical space is strong in Baltimore,” Matthew Myers, senior research analyst at Cassidy Turley, said in a press statement.

Photo credits Cassidy Turley.

Sephora Opens State-Of-The-Art Distribution Center in Harford County

29 Sep 2014, 2:59 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Sephora Americas has finally opened its state-of-the-art distribution center  in Maryland. Company officials were present in Perryman, on September 19, together with  officials from the state of Maryland, to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new facility, the largest distribution to serve Sephora Americas.

The San Francisco-based beauty retailer has operated in Harford County since 2005 but it needed space to expand. Last year, Sephora announced its plans to open a new distribution center. The new facility is located at 531 Chelsea Road and provides 655,000 square feet of space. It will allow the company to retain its current workforce of 410 employees, and also add another 200 people, which Sephora plans to do by December 2017.

Company officials also said the facility will help move products faster to clients located east of the Mississippi. Clients were previously served through a smaller, 386,677-square-foot facility.

A joint venture between Ryan/Emory Properties and Northwestern Mutual Real Estate Investment are the developers and owners of the state-of-the-art distribution center. Sephora said the facility was designed with a focus on environmental efficiency and sustainability, and is currently pursuing LEED Silver certification.

The state of Maryland approved a $1 million grant to assist with the project. It will be paid out in stages, provided the company meets certain performance benchmarks.

“Our investments in education, innovation and infrastructure continue to set Maryland apart and offer quality brands like Sephora Americas a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace,” Governor Martin O’Malley said in a press statement. “We’re thrilled Sephora has chosen to expand operations in Maryland and is continuing to create new jobs.”

“We are thrilled to officially open our new distribution center and are tremendously grateful for our partnership with the Department of Business and Economic Development and the State of Maryland. All of us at Sephora are looking forward to having a larger presence in Harford County through this exceptional new distribution center that will enable us to provide even more rapid and efficient service to our clients,” Marty Flaherty, vice president of distribution for Sephora Americas, added.

Photo credits: Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development

Merritt Properties Partners with NAFCO and Congressional Seafood to Build a $8.9M Seafood Distribution Facility in Jessup

29 Sep 2014, 2:55 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Merritt Properties and NAFCO and Congressional Seafood Company have joined forces to construct a new seafood distribution facility in Jessup. The 88,000-square-foot building will serve as NAFCO and Congressional’s new headquarters.

The $8.9 million project is scheduled to be finished by February 2015 and allows for an 18,000-square-foot future expansion. It will be developed by Merritt Construction Services, a division of Merritt Properties, on 5.5 acres at 7775 S. Chesapeake Bay Court, adjacent to the Maryland Seafood Market. The parcel of land was acquired from the Maryland Food Center Authority. Merritt Properties and Stanley Pearlman, president of NAFCO, will jointly own the land and the building. Merritt Properties will serve as managing partner.

The new, single-story industrial/flex building will have 8,000 square feet of office space. It will allow NAFCO and Congressional to centralize their operation. The two affiliated seafood distributors have outgrown the space they currently lease space with the Maryland Food Center Authority at the Seafood Market and are in need of a new location.

“We are very excited to be bringing NAFCO and Congressional Seafood under one roof with the ground breaking of our new offices and food processing plant at the Seafood Market in Jessup,” Jon Pearlman, vice president, director of operations and HACCP coordinator at Congressional Seafood Company, said in a press statement. “Howard County has been our home for the past 20 years and we’re so happy we are able to build our new headquarters on familiar ground. We believe the state-of-the-art facility will raise the bar for food safety and enable us to continue to deliver the highest quality seafood to our customers throughout the mid-Atlantic.”

“We have long appreciated the business-friendly mindset of Howard County. They clearly understand the critical role private business plays in the economic health of Maryland,” Merritt Properties CEO Scott Dorsey added. “Our positive relationship with the county has enabled us to move forward with this project, knowing that they will continue to be supportive of our development efforts, as well as the daily operations of NAFCO and Congressional.”

The Verde at Howard Square is Maryland’s First LEED Platinum Apartment Community

22 Sep 2014, 6:08 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The Verde at Howard Square has recently received LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This makes it the first LEED Platinum-certified apartment community in the entire state of Maryland.

Howard Square Residential Holdings LLC, a joint venture between The Dolben Company, Inc. and Atapco Properties, is the owner of the Verde at Howard Square. The apartment community is located in Elkridge. It offers 299 one- and two-bedroom apartments units, ranging in size from 688 to 1,590 square feet, with rents between $1,375 and $2,175 per month. Amenities include a business center, swimming pool, fitness center and more.

The Verde at Howard Square is the first multifamily component of the 47-acre, mixed-use Howard Square development. According to the developers, the site was designed with improved storm water management. It uses StormTech technology, which captures, stores, and treats 100 percent of the water on the site. Also, solar panels installed on the building’s garage generate more than 15 percent of the total power used by the community.

Projects looking for LEED certification have to satisfy certain conditions and earn a certain number of points. The number of points the project earns determines its level of LEED certification. The USGBC has established four levels of certification. A project achieves LEED certification if it receives between 40 and 49 points. For LEED Silver certification, it needs between 50 and 59 points, and between 60 and 79 points for LEED Gold. Projects with 80 or more points are LEED Platinum certified.

The Verde at Howard Square earned 80 points out of 100. Its achievements include implementing a green cleaning program, employing an integrated pest management program, diverting 91 percent of construction waste, realizing a 43 percent water reduction and accomplishing 40 percent energy savings.

“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, said in a press statement. “As the newest member of the LEED family of green buildings, Verde at Howard Square is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.”

Photo credits: The Verde at Howard Square

Aberdeen’s Advantage Business Park Sells for $31M

22 Sep 2014, 6:04 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

CBRE recently announced the sale of another important industrial property in the Greater Baltimore area. Advantage Business Park, an industrial bulk warehouse located at 504 Advantage Way, in Aberdeen, sold for $31 million, reaffirming once more the strength of Baltimore’s I-95 North submarkets.

SK Realty Management purchased the property from 504 Advantage Way, LLC. The Advantage Business Park offers 528,780 square feet of warehouse and freezer space. According to real estate website PropertyShark.com, the facility was constructed in 1990 on 42 acres of land. The same real estate website reports that Advantage Business Park last changed hands in 2007, when 504 Advantage Way, LLC acquired it from Aberdeen LLC for $27.05 million. The current market value of the property is set at around $23 million.

“This transaction affirms the strong investor interest in Mid-Atlantic industrial assets along I-95 and, specifically, the Harford/Cecil County industrial submarket. The I-95 North market continues to outperform other Baltimore industrial submarkets and, in fact, Harford/Cecil County ranks as Baltimore’s tightest. The property’s new ownership has been very active in this particular submarket in the past three years and, with this purchase, substantially expanded their holdings,” CBRE Senior Vice President Jonathan Beard said in a press statement. Beard collaborated with Bo Cashman and Bill Pellington, also of CBRE, to arrange the sale of Advantage Business Park.

In a news release, CBRE said that Advantage Business Park was fully leased at the time of the sale to three tenants. Gordon Food Service, one of the largest private companies in the United States, is the facility’s anchor tenant. It is currently making significant upgrades to its space, including the 125,000 square feet of existing freezer/cooler space.

Photo credits: Google Maps

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