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March 13, 2014
The 3 Ways 2 Hopkins Plaza Could Go
Bids for 2 and 10 Hopkins Plaza, which Transwestern is marketing out of receivership, are due April 1 (they're even stricter than the IRS). The property faces three likely fates (not including our vote for a real-life Q*Bert board), and only the marketing process will tell us the real highest and best use for the mostly vacant 407k SF.
1) Is apartment conversion still the hot ticket?
Transwestern's Leo McDermott, who's managing the sale with colleague Kasey Hughes, says multifamily conversions are still the big story in Baltimore. (Our parents told us not to gossip, but they're all anyone's talking about.) Still, no major conversion has delved far into leasing yet.
A rep at Kettler, which manages The Lenore at 114 E Lexington (above), told us today that leasing launched 30 days ago and two residents have moved in, while some units remain to be delivered. PMC Property's Baltimore Life Insurance building at 301 N Charles just had a leasing open house on Tuesday. And Leo says JK Equities is hoping to start construction soon to convert the Equitable Building at 10 N Calvert. Leo also handled that sale.
2) Is B'more ready for another hotel?
He says the local hotel market has stabilized, with occupancy back up to 64% as of the end of 2013. He's not sure if there's a need for another hotel, but the property is indeed in a hotel area, across the street from both the Lord Baltimore Hotel (purchased by the Rubell family in August) and the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel and near both the Days Inn and the Holiday Inn. (You are who you hang around with.) Another possibility is mixed-use, both hotel and apartments, he says. The tower (2 Hopkins Plaza, above) lays out well for both. At 65 feet wide and 259 long, a corridor could bisect it easily, leaving plenty of room for units on either side with great views of Downtown.
3) Don't count out office.
“I guess that's where the gamblers come into play,” Leo says of value-add office investors. Baltimore's Downtown office vacancy may be high, but a few requirements for big blocks have surfaced recently. And various state agencies could be in need of 500k SF to 1M SF if the most recent court decision stands and State Center is indeed over. The property would be ideal for government use because it qualifies as a TOD, he says. 10 Hopkins Plaza (above) allows for 380k SF FAR for future development.
Party in Owings Mills
C&W's Susan Homberg and Colliers' Ryan Miller, Melanie Carrera, and Jon Manekin were among those at a recent broker event at BECO Management's BECO Towers I in Owings Mills. Tower I at 10451 Mill Run Circle and Tower II at 10461 Mill Run Circle, totaling 330k SF, have received $15M in work, including lobby renovations, a 115-seat conference center, and a 1,000-gallon fish tank in each building. (We learned the hard way that we're not supposed to swim in them.) Jon also tells us tech is a growing office tenant pool in Baltimore City, and he's restructured a few law firm leases lately. He's also marketing 2050 Rockrose Ave for sale or lease and is repping the School for Autism and a new bar/restaurant concept that are looking for space.
Spirit of Giving
Reliable Contracting prez Jay Baldwin and Greenberg Gibbons CEO Brian Gibbons launched the $1M Greenberg Gibbons/Reliable Foundation fund at the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County. The duo are developing Waugh Chapel Towne Centre, for which the 650k SF of retail is 100% leased as of a recent 17k SF deal with DSW. They've given a $300k grant to 12 public school parent-teacher orgs and $250k to Hospice of Chesapeake, and the other half of the foundation's funds has yet to be disbursed. You can hear updates on Greenberg Gibbons' other projects when Brian speaks at Bisnow's 4th Annual State of the Market event on April 24. Sign up here!
New Bisnow Education Video!
By popular demand, we've just released a second video we did with Peter Linneman, widely considered the top professor of commercial real estate in the US. This new video is called "Real Estate Finance," i.e., on how you get money to do deals. Although an advanced topic, it's purposely very simple to understand. It's 77 minutes, broken into 5-minute increments, so you can watch or listen as you are waiting in line, or at the gym, or lying in bed. (To each his own.) Click here for the new video and here for the old video.