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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

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