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Techies met CRE-ers at Bisnow's Future of the Annapolis/BWI Corridor event late last week and talked about what's drawn people and businesses to the area—and what's holding it back.
Westin Annapolis on Dec. 15, 2011
Over 400 stopped by the new Westin Annapolis, part of Jerome J. Parks? snazzy Park Place mixed-use. The condos are completely occupied.

Larry Hogan, Chris Bennett and Mitch Weber at the Westin Annapolis on Dec. 15, 2011
Hogan Cos prez Larry Hogan (with MacKenzie Commercial's Chris Bennett and Heffner & Weber?s Mitch Weber) says he's friends with the governor of Texas and wants to clue us in on the three reasons to locate in Annapolis: ?location, location, and… what was the third one?? His firm's gross revenue is up 75%, and its land sales volume is up 207% this year. That means good things are coming since land sales arrive early in the RE process.
Jeremy Parks at the Westin Annapolis on Dec. 15, 2011
So what's holding Maryland back? Jerome J. Parks? Jeremy Parkssays developers are also still battling NIMBYism. Mitch wants morewe're-in-this-together-ness with Washington, noting that Baltimore's federal property moves are handled by GSA's Philly office.
Roger Krone at the Westin Annapolis on Dec. 15, 2011
Boeing Network & Space Systems prez Roger Krone, who moved to Bay Ridge when BRAC moved a chunk of military operations from Fort Monmouth, NJ, to Aberdeen Proving Ground, says the quality of life trumps New Jersey. (Maryland is known as ?the land of pleasant living.?) ARINC CEO John Belcher, though, says the cost-of-living adjustment isn't quite so easy on someone coming from, say, Tulsa. Maryland?s spending, by the way, rose 11.6% this year compared with the national average of 2.3%.
Rick Williamson, Daniel Thomas, Al Cinniff, Todd Summerfield, and Sarah Boone at the Westin Annapolis on Dec. 15, 2011
St. John Properties' Rick Williamson (our panelist whom we snapped with colleagues Daniel Thomas and Al Cunniff, Liberty Property Trust?s Todd Summerfield, and Anne Arundel Economic Development's Sarah Boone) asked the crowd, ?How can you tell the difference between a developer and an environmentalist? A developer wants to put a house in the woods, and an environmentalist already has a house in the woods.? Todd tells us Liberty has a site onAdmiral Cochrane Drive approved for a five-story, 125k SF Class-A LEED office with structured parking. The search is on for pre-leasing tenants and build-to-suit clients, he says.
Kurt Sturn, Brian Darmody, and Sarah Djamishidi at the Westin Annapolis on Dec. 15, 2011
The University of Maryland?s Brian Darmody (working on water bottle calisthenics, with Kurt Sturn from our sponsor Reznick Group and Chesapeake Innovation Center exec director Sarah Djamshidi) saysuniversities bring $3B a year into the state's economy, and the benefit of those institutions goes farther than that. The biggest tech transfer every year isn't from patents, he says; it comes in May—at graduation time. He also noted the $30M environmental scienceresearch center opening next to the Westin Annapolis next year. That means 600 scientists a year coming through BWI and hitting up hotels like the Westin.
Midgett Parker at the Westin Annapolis on Dec. 15, 2011
Annapolis Economic Development chair and Linowes and Blocher partner Midgett Parker (who also keynoted the event and moderated our real estate panel) modeled his 501(c)(3) after the privatizedAnne Arundel Economic Development model (New York City set up the same arrangement under Mike Bloomberg). With just a staff of four and a budget of $400k, Midgett says, it helped 17 Annapolis businesses expand.
Chris Bennett at the Westin Annapolis on Dec. 15, 2011
Yesterday, CBRE Capital Markets announced Joe Donato andMichael Sherman arranged a $135M, seven-year refinancing from HSBC for Greenberg Gibbons and Prudential Real Estate Investors? Annapolis Towne Centre construction loan. That covers 620k SF of retail (including the first non-urban, multi-story Target at the time of delivery) and 46k SF of office. (The 2.2M SF mixed-use community also has 208 Bozzuto apartments and 150 Sturbridge condos.) Chris tells us the office space was to be all condos, and MacKenzie didsell 20% but it has leased the rest to AAA-credit tenants or has LOIs in place.