What Baltimore Developers Are Thankful For
To prep for Bisnow's The Next Big Thing event Dec. 10 at the Four Seasons, we asked our panel of top developers what they're thankful for in 2013 as well as what they expect to be grateful for in 2014. Sign up for our event here!
Duke Realty's Peter Scholz (right, at a Bisnow event with Stifel Nicolaus' John Guinee) could've said he's thankful for Amazon (we know we love not having to lug Christmas gifts on Amtrak), but he took the high road and told us he's thankful for family. When we talked yesterday, he was in Salt Lake City to meet up with his sons, who are in college at Brigham Young and Utah State (Peter and his wife went to BYU, and their two other kids went to college in Utah, as well). Then the clan will head to Vegas to meet more family for the holiday.
Peter hints he might also be thankful for a Q1 closing on "a nice deal" to follow up Amazon's build-to-suit at Duke's GM site (above, a similar building Duke built for Amazon in Middletown, Del.). Peter tells us Amazon vetted area properties for months before contacting Duke in February for a tour. (It's like putting an item in your shopping cart and then letting it sit for a while.) The online retail giant's own incentives team then took to the negotiating table with the government before finalizing the economics with Duke. He says the footprint allows for a 1M SF building, but there's enough mezzanine space for Amazon to double that capacity. And once a few other deals percolating at the site wrap up, Peter says, Duke may start poking around for other Baltimore-area properties.
Chesapeake Realty Group's Dick Manekin, who with his wife Marsha will travel to visit their sons and daughters-in-law in Oakland, Calif., for Thanksgiving, gives thanks for his own health and his family's, the fact that the recession is over, and that he and his partners are looking at some "interesting and challenging" deals. He tells us Chesapeake is in active negotiations with JV partners and tenants for a few 2014 developments: a mixed-use project, a multifamily one, and conversion of an industrial facility into retail. He expects some announcements within 120 days. All are in Baltimore City. That's where the future is, he says: urban and close-in suburban settings, walkability, and proximity to transportation.
As for current Chesapeake projects, there's one 1,700 SF block of retail at the company's Canton Crossing (where Mission BBQ is among the tenants); the retail at its Hyatt Place Harbor East, which will deliver in July, is 70% pre-leased to Nando's Peri-Peri and Cava Mezze; and Chesapeake will start renovation and an addition at Fells Point's Broadway Market in the spring.
Bozzuto Management president Julie Smith (above, working from her dining room table post-Sandy a year ago) says her team has been busy leasing up its 24 local multifamily properties and getting ready to open more. She's using the Thanksgiving holiday to relax in Lewes, Del., catching up on sleep, movies (including The Hunger Games with her daughters), and a big jigsaw puzzle. What's she thankful for? Her "so very patient" and supportive family and for her colleagues, whom she considers to be family, as well.