HUNT VALLEY, MD. — St. John Properties has purchased a 17-acre parcel at the corner of York Road and Wight Avenue in Hunt Valley, about 18 miles north of Baltimore. The locally based developer purchased the land from Noxema for an undisclosed price. Jay Wellschlager of JLL represented the seller in the transaction, and Sean Doordan and Alex Lyons represented St. John Properties internally. On the site, St. John Properties plans to build Hunt Valley Exchange, a 110,000-square-foot mixed-use complex that will feature flex and research-and-development buildings, inline shops and restaurants and retail pad sites. Construction is expected to commence immediately.
TPC Racing Breaks Ground on 40,000 SF Industrial Headquarters in Jessup, Maryland
JESSUP, MD. — TPC Racing, a Porsche maintenance and service provider, has broken ground on its 40,000-square-foot industrial facility at 7869 Dorsey Run Road in Jessup. The Howard County facility will serve as the company’s corporate headquarters. Kate Jordan and Marley Welsh of Lee & Associates l Maryland brokered the purchase of the four-acre site and were also retained by TPC Racing to lease the available 27,000 square feet of industrial/warehouse space at the building. The $8 million, single-story project is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter and comprise nine bays, each offering 3,000 square feet of space. Chesapeake Contracting Group is acting as general contractor for the project.
Park Avenue Lifestyle to Develop $70M Seniors Housing Project at James Run in Metro Baltimore
BEL AIR, MD. — Park Avenue Lifestyle has purchased a site within James Run, a mixed-use development underway in the Baltimore suburb of Bel Air, from master developer JEN Partners, a real estate private equity fund based in New York. The Orlando-based buyer plans to develop a $70 million seniors housing community on the site that will feature independent living, assisted living and memory care units, as well as a fitness center, outdoor courtyards, walking paths and an in-house restaurant and pub. At full build-out, which is anticipated for 2025, James Run will comprise this seniors housing property; 190 age-targeted villas and 80 townhomes; the 304-unit James Run Apartments; more than 57,000 square feet of retail space, including boutique shops, sit-down, fast-casual and quick-service restaurants; 20,000 square feet of office and medical office space; and a 125-room hotel and conference center. The development is approximately 50 percent complete, according to JEN Partners. Committed tenants include Starbucks, Kiddie Academy, Royal Farms gas station and convenience store, two unnamed Italian and steakhouse restaurants and a freestanding wine store. Baltimore-based Craftsmen Cos. is the development manager for James Run, and MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services is the project’s leasing brokerage firm.
WRS Rezones 100 Acres at Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg, Maryland for Mixed-Use Village
GAITHERSBURG, MD. — WRS Real Estate Investments, a retail and mixed-use owner-operator based in Mount Pleasant, S.C., has successfully rezoned a 100-acre site in Gaithersburg that houses Lakeforest Mall. The Gaithersburg City Council approved the rezoning of the site to mixed-use in a 5-0 vote and also approved the sketch plan of the future development. Gensler has been engaged to lead the creation of overall design guidelines for the project. WRS purchased the core of the 1.1 million-square-foot regional mall in 2019. On a single day in 2022, the developer purchased the mall’s remaining department stores: J.C. Penney, Lord & Taylor, Sears and Macy’s. The plan calls for WRS to redevelop Lakeforest Mall as a mixed-use village comprising up to 1,600 new residential units — a mix of for-sale and rental units — and up to 1.25 million square feet of commercial uses such as retail, restaurant, dining, hospitality and life sciences. Construction may commence as early as 2024, according to WRS.
JBG Smith Sells Majority Stake in Metro D.C. Headquarters for $196M
BETHESDA, MD. — JBG Smith, the developer behind Amazon’s HQ2 campus in Arlington, Va., has sold an 80 percent stake for its corporate headquarters at 4747 Bethesda Ave. in Bethesda. An undisclosed investor purchased the interest for $196 million, according to several media outlets. Built in 2019, the LEED Gold-certified building spans 300,508 square feet and was 98 percent leased at the time of sale to tenants including JBG Smith. The property, which is located adjacent to the popular Bethesda Row destination, features a rooftop lounge, modern fitness facility and a penthouse conference room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Jim Meisel, Matt Nicholson, Andrew Weir, Dave Baker and Kevin Byrd of JLL represented JBG Smith in the transaction.
MCB Breaks Ground on 146-Unit Student Housing Project in Northeast Baltimore
BALTIMORE — MCB Real Estate has broken ground on Flats at the Markley, a 146-unit student housing development in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of northeast Baltimore. Situated along Harford Road, the off-campus property will serve students attending nearby Morgan State University. MCB says the five-story development will feature apartments with in-unit washers and dryers, study rooms, game rooms, onsite parking and an outdoor courtyard. MCB expects to complete Flats at the Markley in summer 2025.
Electric Bike Maker Metalrays Signs 109,192 SF Flex Industrial Lease in Elkton, Maryland
ELKTON, MD. — Electric bikes manufacturer and distributor Metalrays LLC has signed a 109,192-square-foot lease in Elkton. The space is located within 1003 Konica Drive, a single-story warehouse/industrial and office building spanning 263,000 square feet. Metalrays’ tenancy brings the building, which features 36-foot ceiling heights, 27 loading docks and two drive-in docks and 150 parking spaces, to roughly 40 percent occupancy. Ned Brady and Eric Skogmo of Lee & Associates|Maryland represented Metalrays in the lease negotiations, and Michael McConnell represented the landlord, McConnell Development, on an internal basis.
Reports of Industrial, Warehouse Slowdown in Baltimore Are Greatly Exaggerated
National headlines report Amazon, arguably the largest warehouse user in the country, curtailing demand and, in some cases returning space back to landlords. This is sandwiched by stories detailing rising interest rates and land prices, stricter entitlement guidelines and NIMBYs working to apply the brakes on new developments. But, in “The Land of Pleasant Living,” (a Baltimore nickname made popular by the smart advertising of a local beer), the industrial revolution continues. And, for good reason. More than 2.3 million square feet of industrial/warehouse space was leased in the greater Baltimore metropolitan region in fourth-quarter 2022, with a net absorption of more than 1.2 million square feet of space, contributing to an overall vacancy rate of 4.5 percent. Additionally, more than 13 million square feet of space is currently under construction and rents have soared more than 50 percent over the past two years, with an average rent of just under $8 per square foot in late 2022. Significant leases signed in fourth-quarter 2022 included Baltimore International Warehousing & Transportation’s 244,304-square-foot lease at 5250-5330 Holabird Ave.; Amazon’s 241,962-square-foot lease at 1713 E. Patapsco Ave. and the 168,655-square-foot lease executed by Transdev at 1610 Wicomico St. Baltimore is contained within …
Baltimore’s Retail Market Is Showing Resiliency Post-Pandemic
Retail is not dead. In fact, coming out of COVID-19, retail is arguably the strongest that it’s been in many years. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, in 2022 we saw a 13-year low in retail companies filing for bankruptcy. Here in Baltimore, we’re seeing extremely low vacancy rates and steady demand, which in turn, is cultivating a competitive environment. However, despite the challenges that retail has faced over the past several years, its resilience is where we continue to find plenty of reasons to be optimistic. A look back In March 2020, the phones stopped ringing and businesses shuttered for what was anticipated to be a few short weeks. We soon came to find that was not the case. Retail did struggle, significantly in some cases. Restaurants, service-based businesses, soft goods, fitness, entertainment and experiential concepts amongst many others, whether large corporate-owned or mom-and-pop users, struggled to stay afloat. And many did fail. Space came back on the market and concepts dwindled at an uncanny pace. But the so-called “retail apocalypse” — a common phrase that was originally coined because of the increased popularity of e-commerce — was, again, proved to be hyperbole. Retailers sought ways to enhance …
Slowdown in Leases, Development Help Baltimore Office Market to Rightsize
Unprecedented development is underway across the Baltimore metro area with more than $6.6 billion of infrastructure and major development projects in the pipeline, and office-using employment remains strong. More than 574,000 people are employed in a diverse set of employment sectors that require offices, including professional and business services, government, financial services and tech and information. The past year, unemployment fell in each Maryland submarket, with Baltimore dropping 140 basis points, which is similar to the national unemployment rate that decreased 150 basis points. In the second half of last year, several public sector agencies relocated into the Central Business District (CBD) from Midtown and Mount Vernon locations, pushing net absorption positive and vacancy negative. This helped state and local government tenants lead all sectors in leasing activity in the fourth quarter of 2022, accounting for 56 percent of all leases signed. The Maryland Department of Health signed the largest lease of the quarter with its new 463,000-square-foot lease at 300 N. Greene St. Other State of Maryland relocations include Department of Labor, Office of the Comptroller, Department of Budget & Management, Department of Planning and Department of Aging. Combined, these state government tenants leased 761,000 square feet in the …