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Real Estate Bisnow
The largest commercial real estate publication in the United States.
   
January 17, 2012 
 
 
STATE CENTER:
THE OTHER SIDE

 
Five months ago, we caught you up on the plaintiffs' side of State Center (the ones who don't want it to be redeveloped). Here's what the projects' champions have to say about it. (Next up: what the ghost of Freddie Mercury and Queen think.)
 
Caroline Moore and Christopher Patusky at State Center, 301 W Preston St, Baltimore, 2011
We snapped Ekistics CEO Caroline Moore and MDOT Office of Real Estate's Chris Patusky. He was the state's head real estate guy when the project was initiated and now is State Center manager for MDOT. The pair tells us approvals for Phase 1 are in place and all partners remain committed to the project, despite the five years (and counting) that it's been in planning and then tied up in the courts. (Most marriages don't last that kind of strain.) The two big CBD landlords among the plaintiff party dropped out of the suit in December, so Caroline is hopeful for an outside-the-courtroom end to it all soon.
 
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State Center, 300 W Preston St, Baltimore, 2011
We also snapped 300 W Preston St, one of five state-occupied buildings (built in the '50s and '70s) on the 28-acre site. They're surrounded by a Metro stop, a light-rail stop, a pair of universities, and a cultural district, but the fortress feel and lack of ground-floor amenities divide the nine neighboring communities, Caroline and Chris say, adding that mixed-use would unite those areas more than pure office. They also say private developers are better suited to mixed-use development. Opponents fear that state government tenants will move here and gut the CBD's tenant pool. That play is not reviewable (can you tell we're really into the NFL playoffs?), so what is being debated in court instead is the opponents' claim that the project was awarded to Ekistics through handshakes, not due diligence.
State Center, 301 W Preston St, Baltimore, 2011
Caroline and Chris' response to tenant movement: While the MD Transit Administration would indeed move from 6 St. Paul St to State Center's Phase 1, a tenant from State Center's 301 W Preston (above) would trade places. Addtionally, the governor and mayor have committed to maintaining the State's current presence in the CBD. As for the selection of Ekistics via a Request for Qualifications instead of a Request for Proposal, Caroline and Chris say an RFQ is the only way to incorporate up-to-the-minute market demand. (Current plans: 1,400 residences, 250k SF of retail, and 2M SF of office, 15k SF of the office slated for Phase 1). Caroline says that an RFP from her company originally would have included more condos, for instance, which would never fly now, and that prices (required in an RFP) are too hard to peg down for a 15-year buildout.

Bisnow
CREW AT THE BALLPARK
 
Anita Kramer, Gloria Larkin, Mary Ann Scully, Roger Staiger, Michele Cohen, and Nancy Ferrell at Oriole Park on Jan. 12, 2012
Snapped at the latest CREW event at Oriole Park (and hoping new Oriole GM and former off-Broadway actor Dan Duquette will right the ship): ULI's Anita Kramer, TargetGov prez Gloria Larkin, Howard Bank CEO Mary Ann Scully, Stage Capital's Roger Staiger, Miles & Stockbridge's Michele Cohen, and NorthMarq's Nancy Ferrell (also CREW Baltimore prez). Anita says she's busy expanding ULI's China Cities Survey to 18 cities. Gloria tells us this event was bookended, as usual, by travel: Just back from Charlotte and Charleston, she's now off to Kansas City, Tampa, Boston, and Orlando (if you're looking to donate frequent flyer miles...). Mary Ann says Howard is working on its SEC registration. And Nancy tells us Fannie, Freddie, HUD, and the life insurance companies NorthMarq works with have strong appetites and liquidity to invest in CRE mortgages; the attractive long-term fixed rates mean refinances are the main food group right now.
Rene Carter, Ginny Cradford, Kim Hogan, Jennifer Taylor, and Allison Dameron at Oriole Park on Jan. 12, 2012
USSI's Ginny Bradford (right, with Unlimited Restoration's Rene Carter, Manekin's Kim Hogan, M&T Bank's Jennifer Taylor, and Gebhardt & Smith's Allison Dameron) tells us USSI (janitorial services) added 10 clients in Q4. Rene says her firm provided emergency services for M&T when its basement flooded last year and also cleaned up water at PNC and 1st Mariner. (What Bisnow learned today: Flood water has it in for the banks.) And in June, after the rainy season, she's taking her children, who will be 15 and 17, to Paris and Rome. (100 points if you can name the artist for whom Rene and the following lyrics just inspired us to start a Jango station: "Another summer day / Has come and gone away / In Paris and Rome / But I wanna go home.")

Bisnow
WINNINGNESS!
 
Modell's Ravens pop-up store, Power Plant, Baltimore, Jan. 13, 2012
We know (almost) everyone out there is pleased as punch about the Ravens' trouncing of the Texans on Sunday (OK, they only won by a TD, but give us a break—we're excited), but Cordish Cos are extra giddy. The win means the Modell's Ravens pop-up store that opened last Thursday will stay put a little longer. It's in the corner of ESPN Zone's old space at Power Plant (the rest of that space is occupied by Phillips Seafood). Cordish's clearly unbiased Megan Slattery tells us her firm expects even more traffic heading into this weekend’s AFC Championship and—after the Ravens beat up on the Pats—into Super Bowl XLVI.

Bisnow
THANK YOU, DR. KING
 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Like many of you, we took yesterday to acknowledge the service of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We admire his courage and continuing impact on American cities. This picture is from 1964, and if 95% of the Bisnow staff had been alive then, we'd certainly have been there to take it. But from what we can glean, it looks like Dr. King's response to someone asking, "How big an impact will transit-oriented development have on city centers in the year 2012?" Whether he's saying "a lot" or "why are you asking me this," it's an appropriate response.
 
We'll say it: This country should pass a law dictating that it's illegal to work when the temperature drops below 30 degrees (including observing such prohibitions on Mondays when the weather has stolen a weekend day from us). Email amanda.metcalf@bisnow.com.
 
 
 
 
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