|Baltimore County is all built out. BUT WAIT! Here are three companies with a little bit of land on their hands. And they just happen to be speaking at Bisnow's Baltimore County Summit on Feb. 29, along with county ec dev head Dan Gundersen, Greenberg Gibbons CEO Brian Gibbons (another landowner), Eneractive Solutions prez Dan Weeden, and Gordon Feinblatt partner Ed Levin. Sign up now and come say, "Hey!"
|1) St. John Properties
|Jerry Wit tells us St. John Properties' occupancy, 88%, is in line with job growth, though the firm is aiming for 92% to 95%. Jerry says the firm likes multi-tenant (10 to 15) buildings, which minimizes risk so one suffering sector of the economy doesn't kill an entire building's tenancy. St. John's tenants number 1,500 in businesses from raising snakes to human genome researchers, and the landlord signs 200 to 300 leases a year. That stability, along with Ed St. John's net worth and the access to financing it brings, also means St. John is one of the few firms actively developing spec, albeit at the rate of half a million SF a year rather than its historical average of 1M SF.
|2) Mid-Atlantic Properties
|Mid-Atlantic Properties' Wayne Gioioso (with family Kaylie,Bennett, Lily, Kara, and wife Holly) tells us he's content to be the tortoise to larger CRE players' hares, buying properties one deal at a time and leasing them up (fixing up common areas along the way). He owns 13 buildings totaling 500k SF in Baltimore County, and he's leveraged less than 50%. He says his portfolio has never dipped below 92% occupancy other than 2009, when he purchased the 25% occupied 8441 Belair Rd office (the Olde Forge Building) out of foreclosure and another at 2331 York Rd that had rental payments coming in on only 25% of the space. Both have risen to 75% occupied with the help of Wayne's colleague Chris Murray.
|Wayne's investment target is 10k to 100k SF office and retail properties. The diversity in his portfolio means tenants can expand and upgrade and yet remain within the family. In September, he bought three Towson offices, a 460-car garage, and a pair of lots from COPT. Built in the mid 2000s, the existing buildings fit his model, including the 91k SF, Class-A 502 Washington Ave and the 20k SF 100 W Pennsylvania Ave (where Wayne's moving his offices now). He's still contemplating the development opps for the two lots.
|3) Preston Scheffenacker
|Preston Scheffenacker founder David Sheffenacker told us yesterday that land for purchase is getting a lot harder to find. That may be because his firm owns 275 acres of it, plus 3.5M SF of industrial and office space, between Baltimore and Washington. 30 acres and 1.2M of those holdings are in Baltimore County, including 18 acres on Hollands Ferry Road and a 1M SF park across the street that has room for another 350k SF (awaiting build-to-suit demand). David tells us he bought the acreage seven years ago. Despite the timing, BRAC wasn't his motivation; he just thought it would be a good idea to own land between Baltimore and Washington. Private demand that followed BRAC has driven up prices, but he intends to develop the land himself.
|The firm has three construction projects going right now. At Woodlawn's Windsor Station (above), it's converting industrial to two-story office, which David says his firm does a lot. A government tenant and Northrop Grumman have moved in, and another 80k SF is under construction and ready for leasing. In Howard County, it's building 1,000 apartments and 500k SF of mid-rise office at the transit-oriented Oxford Square. And another project is rising in Anne Arundel County.