DBED Unveils Interactive Property Database
Businesses looking for space in Maryland have a new tool to research the 1,800 commercial and industrial buildings and sites available statewide as the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) has launched Maryland Business Properties, a searchable, mapable online database of business properties.
Users can search based on the size of the building, ceiling height, zoning limits, rail access and other features. In addition to basic information on the sites, the database provides other facts, including the nearest major highway, airport, port and rail line, tax information, available incentive programs, traffic counts and demographic profiles. Users also can overlay maps that show colleges and universities, hospitals, trade schools, airports, the 100-year flood plain and other information.
DBED plans to add more data layers this year, including a feature that will allow users to search for different types of businesses around a given site, allowing them to look for competitors, restaurants and others; the database, which will be operated by Location One Information Systems of Kansas City, Mo., holds about 1,800 properties.
CoStar Closes Acquisition of Loopnet
CoStar Group, of Columbia and Bethesda, has completed its previously announced acquisition of LoopNet, bringing the provider of commercial real estate information and analytic services together with an online commercial real estate marketplace.
CoStar’s founder and CEO Andrew Florance said work would begin immediately on integrating the two firms. “We believe that the combined company will be the premier resource for researching, analyzing and marketing commercial real estate properties online,” said Florance, “and will be positioned to provide more widespread market coverage for customers ranging from large, national brokerage firms, property owners and institutional players to small, local brokers, owners and investors.”
CoStar operates a commercial real estate information database with 81.8 billion square feet of office, retail and industrial inventory, 1.5 million listings and 12.7 million images. San Francisco-based LoopNet.com is the industry’s largest and most heavily trafficked online marketplace with 5.8 million registered members and 3.6 million unique monthly visitors, according to Google Analytics.
Grace Inks Agreement to Expand Manufacturing in China
Columbia-based W. R. Grace & Co. has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Qingdao Bureau of Commerce for an investment in China to manufacture fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts and other related products for the petroleum refining industry. In order to complete the investments, Grace has established a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in Qingdao.
“This is an important step towards expanding Grace’s FCC catalyst manufacturing capabilities to serve our customers in China and other countries in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region,” said Shawn Abrams, president of Grace Catalysts Technologies. “We look forward to successful cooperation with the government of Qingdao.”
Currently, Grace operates five manufacturing facilities, three sales offices and two technical service centers in mainland China, including its Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Shanghai.
City of Annapolis Releases Citizen Survey Results
The City of Annapolis has released the results of a citizen survey outlining services, priorities and responsibilities. Spearheaded by City Manager Michael Mallinoff, the survey is part of the city’s strategic planning process and will help to develop a more efficient and effective way to deliver government services.
This survey will become an ongoing exercise, helping to create a venue for citizen feedback; repeating the process will allow for annual comparisons of the survey, which is broken into two documents. One reported that 87% of respondents rated the overall quality of life in Annapolis as excellent or good; the other gave the overall quality of life in Annapolis a rating of 70 and ranked it 172 compared against 420 communities, giving it an “above” benchmark.
The city has partnered with the University of Maryland on the plan and creating a vision, mission, goals and objectives platform. The full report can be found at http://bit.ly/IIbSQI.
Authntk Launches Social Video Marketing Platform
Columbia-based Authntk Inc. has launched its social video marketing platform, enabling agencies, companies and brands to simply and easily capture the passion of their customers through video.
Video testimonials, product reviews, survey results, contests and other consumer-generated video content now can be easily captured through Authntk’s cloud-based video marketing platform. Authntk combines all of the necessary technologies into a single, easy-to-use interface for collecting, managing, deploying, reporting and amplifying consumer generated media (CGM).
More consumers are now relying on social media when contemplating purchasing decisions. According to a January 2012 BazaarVoice survey, “84% of Millennials report that CGM from strangers has some influence on what they buy.”
Picerne Military Housing Ranks No.1 in National Survey
Picerne Military Housing has been awarded the No. 1 resident satisfaction ranking for portfolios with at least 10,000 homes, based on the 2011 SatisFacts Annual Resident Survey. The survey is a resident relationship management service for a range of residential multi-family property management companies, including those that manage military housing.
Residents served by nearly 150 property management firms participated in the 2011 survey interviews, which are voluntary and conducted at random via phone and online. Picerne provides homes for more than 20,000 service members and families at military installations nationwide, including Fort Meade. Since 2001, the company has renovated more than 6,000 homes and has built more than 5,000 new homes.
In addition to earning the top customer service ranking, Picerne also was awarded the 2011 SatisFacts Superior Resident Satisfaction Company Award with a superior rating of 4.27 out of a possible 5.00 score.
HCC Graduates Largest Class in 41-Year History
Howard Community College (HCC) graduated the largest class in its 41-year history, on May 22.
For the 2011–12 academic year, there were a total of 1,076 candidates for commencement; a total of 1,171 degrees/certificates was earned. HCC graduated a total of 899 students for the 2010–11 academic year; a total of 942 degrees/certificates were earned at the time.
After five years, the college returned to Merriweather Post Pavilion to accommodate the increased number of graduates and their guests. The Arts & Humanities Division’s Inspiring Faculty of the Year for 2011–2012, Dr. Helen Buss Mitchell, professor of philosophy and director of women’s studies at HCC, delivered the commencement address.
A-TEK Awarded NIH $20B CIO-SP3 Contract
A-TEK Inc., of Ellicott City, a provider of scientific data management and enterprise information technology (IT) services and solutions in the areas of national security and intelligence, life sciences, health care and law enforcement, has been awarded the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners 3 (CIO-SP3) Government Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC).
It is valued at $20 billion with a 10-year term. CIO-SP3 is the successor contract to NIH’s current Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners 2 Innovations (CIO-SP2i) and the Image World2 New Dimensions (W2nd) GWACs. CIO-SP3 supports government IT efforts with a focus on health and biomedical-related IT services.
Record Number of Students Graduate at AACC’s 50th Commencement
A record 1,998 students graduated May 24 at the 50th Annual Commencement of Anne Arundel Community College (AACC). The college awarded 1,500 degrees and 637 certificates at the ceremony. In comparison, the class of 2011 had 1,979 graduates awarded 2,177 degrees and certificates, with about 491 students participating.
AACC President Martha Smith, who is retiring on Aug. 1 after 18 years at the college, delivered the keynote address; students honored for academic achievements included 151 associate degree recipients who earned summa cum laude honors with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0, 167 associate degree recipients who received magna cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.6 to 3.79 and 215 associate degree recipients who earned cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.4 to 3.59.
Dorsey Ridge Apartments Set to Open Near Arundel Mills
Questar Properties has announced the opening of Dorsey Ridge, new luxury apartment residences in Hanover, near Arundel Mills. The community will offer two distinct living opportunities, totaling 561 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments available in 22 floor plans.
Serenity Place has 323 mid-rise apartment residences in four-story elevator accessed buildings with adjacent same-level covered garage parking. The Villas consist of 238 units, one- and two-story flats and townhome villa residences with attached and direct access garage parking.
Construction of Red Branch Theatre Underway
Construction has begun on Columbia’s newest performing arts facility, the Red Branch Theatre. To be located at 9198-H Red Branch Road, the venue will become the new home to two theatrical organizations, the Drama Learning Center and Red Branch Theatre Co. It will include a 200-seat proscenium theater, spacious lobby and reception space, a fully-functioning backstage area and two rehearsal studios/classrooms.
“Support from individuals, families, area businesses and, in truth, the entire community has paved the way for the growth of both Drama Learning Center and Red Branch Theatre Co.; and now with that growth, the creation of Red Branch Theatre,” said Stephanie Lynn Williams, owner and artistic director of the venue, which will also be available for rental for arts organizations and businesses.
COPT Brings Arundel Preserve Building to Full Occupancy
Columbia-based Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) has signed an unnamed defense information technology contractor to a 61,000-square-foot lease at 7740 Milestone Parkway in Arundel Preserve. The tenant will take occupancy in phases during the third and fourth quarters, and bring the 143,940-square-foot, five-story building to full occupancy.
COPT is also in negotiations to fill virtually all available inventory at the National Business Park, where the real estate investment trust is considering new development starts later in 2012. President and CEO Roger Waesche said the company anticipates achieving its goal of approximately 400,000 square feet of development leasing for the year.
Micros to Acquire English Firm Torex Retail Holdings for $185M
Micros Systems has agreed to acquire the outstanding stock of Torex Retail Holdings from its private equity owners. The purchase price is approximately $114.5 million in cash (approximately $185.8 million) and the assumption of debt valued at $48 million. Torex, headquartered in Dunstable, England, is a provider of information technology systems for the retail, fuel and convenience stores and pub markets in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe.
“This acquisition is an important step forward for Micros to fully launch its retail technology business in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe,” said Tom Giannopoulos, chairman and CEO of Columbia-based Micros. “Torex has a broad customer base and product and service portfolio. We look forward to welcoming the Torex employees and customers to Micros.”
Chase Brexton to Expand Space, Services in Columbia
Chase Brexton Health Services, a nonprofit provider of comprehensive health services to people from all walks of life, has expanded its lease with landlord ACC Columbia Medical Campus L.P. at the Columbia Medical Campus. The deal, at 5500 Knoll North Drive in Columbia, calls for Chase Brexton to renew its existing lease of 8,121 square feet and add 5,273 square feet to its footprint.
“The landlord’s ability to accommodate an expansion allows Chase Brexton to service more people in the Columbia area, many of whom do not have access to health care from other sources,” said Chase Brexton’s CEO Dan Neumeister. “With this expansion, Chase Brexton will now have the opportunity to provide additional services to include a pharmacy.”
GE Capital Closes $7.5 Million in Senior Secured Facilities for PharmAthene
GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services is the sole lender and administrative agent on $7.5 million in senior secured credit facilities for Annapolis-based PharmAthene, consisting of a $2.5 million term loan and a $5 million revolving line of credit. The financing will be used for general working capital purposes.
“This financing further strengthens our balance sheet and provides us with increased flexibility to manage our working capital requirements,” said Linda Chang, senior vice president and chief financial officer for PharmAthene. “The GE Capital team immediately understood our business and our financing needs, which expedited the loan process and confirmed for us why they’re a recognized leader in health care finance.”
Hogan Sells Fort Meade Development to Koch Homes
The Hogan Companies, of Annapolis, has completed the sale of the Turnbury Run residential subdivision in Severn for $3.4 million. The property, which is located on Disney Road east of Route 175 (Annapolis Road), was previously owned by the Zebron family and was purchased by an affiliated company of Koch Homes. The new residential community will feature 37 single-family homes on approximately 15 acres.
“Our team here at The Hogan Companies decided to target our land owner outreach in this area of the county because there was good existing infrastructure in place including water, sewer and roads,” said company CEO Larry Hogan. “We anticipated the residential housing demand created in this area by the Base Closure and Realignment and the growth of Fort Meade as well as the proximity to mass transit and shopping.”
Howard Bank Makes List of Top 10 SBA Lenders
Howard Bank was among the top 10 Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders in the Baltimore District for fiscal 2011. It was recently honored at an awards ceremony recognizing Maryland’s small business owners and their advocates.
Howard Bank operates five branches, including four in Howard County. It will complement its sole Anne Arundel County branch on Annapolis Exchange Parkway in Annapolis with a new location in Parole this spring.
Opening of Howard County Farmers’ Markets Means Spring
Howard County Farmers’ Markets are open for the season. Local and regional farmers provide fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs and baked goods each week. The markets are located at the Howard County Library’s East Columbia, Glenwood and Miller branches, Howard County General Hospital and Oakland Mills Village Center.
For more information, visit www.howardcountyfarmersmarkets.com or call 410-313-6500. This program is supported by the Agriculture Marketing program of the Howard County Economic Development Authority.
Line of Sight Awarded Multi-Year Consulting Services Contract With U.S. Treasury
Ellicott City-based consulting firm Line of Sight won a single-award five-year Blanket Purchase Agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Public Debt. The contract establishes Line of Sight as a key source for project management, business process and strategic organizational change consulting for the Bureau’s Administrative Resource Center (ARC).
“Right out of the gate, we are providing senior project managers on two of the ARC’s largest efforts. We anticipate ARC will issue us several task orders given the alignment of their needs and our expertise,” said Line of Sight President Jon Weinstein, noting the firm is project management, business process and organizational transformational consulting professional.
Leopold Inks Golf Partnership With Fort Meade
Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold recently signed a partnership agreement with Col. Edward Rothstein and Fort Meade that gives military personnel a discounted rate at county golf courses.
The continuing mission growth at Fort Meade has led to the closing of the
post’s golf course, which was in operation for more than 60 years. Under the agreement, post golf club members will play at reduced rates at Eisenhower Golf Course in Crownsville and Compass Pointe in Pasadena. There is an extra discount for enlisted personnel ranking from private to sergeant.
Bon Secours Takes Top Award from Practice GreenHealth
Bon Secours Health System has been selected as winner of Practice Greenhealth’s 2012 System for Change Award. This environmental excellence award is bestowed upon health systems which have proven success in improving environmental performance and demonstrated dedication to a higher standard of sustainability.
In addition to the System for Change Award, 15 Bon Secours facilities received awards, including nine Partner for Change awards; four Partner for Change With Distinction; one DEHP Free award; and one Environmental Leadership award.
Capitol College Student Ambassadors to Work With New NASA Program
Capitol College has partnered with NASA and created the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Mission Student Ambassadors Program, which will allow students the opportunity to work with NASA’s GPM mission and Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt.
By entering the program, students will develop a thorough understanding of TRMM and GPM science and engineering through special sessions with GPM staff and self-study.
BHC Recognized for Health Care Marketing
Bonnie Heneson Communications (BHC) received three 2012 Aster Awards for the firm’s work on an ad campaign, gala invitation and web site. Aster Awards recognize health care marketing professionals for outstanding excellence in advertising.
BHC received a silver Aster Award for a newspaper advertising campaign promoting Doctors Community Hospital’s Emergency Department and another silver Aster Award for a printed invitation to Doctors Community Hospital Foundation’s “An Evening in Tropical Paradise” gala. In addition, BHC received a bronze Aster Award for a web site for Doctors Regional Cancer Center.
IMPACT Marketing Awarded for Creativity
Columbia-based IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations received two Platinum Hermes Creative Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. IMPACT won a Platinum award in the Pro Bono category for its Child Sex Abuse Prevention Postcard for Shari’s Promise, a nonprofit organization created to ensure the safety of children through prevention training, support and empowerment.
The company also won a Platinum award in the Integrated Marketing/Company Branding category for the rebranding of the Shanty Grille, a restaurant in Ellicott City.
CGI to Open International Baccalaureate School in Anne Arundel
The Children’s Guild Institute (CGI) received approval to operate its third Monarch Academy school to open in Laurel this fall. This new school will be called The Monarch Global Academy Public Contract School and will include a special international studies curriculum.
To be located at 430 Brock Bridge Road, CGI will be on 8.4 acres in a newly built, 65,000-square-foot building. It will open with students in grades kindergarten through five and grow to accommodate students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. The Anne Arundel County School System has contracted with Monarch Academy, a subsidiary of The Children’s Guild, to recruit students from Maryland City, Brock Bridge and Jessup elementary schools and reduce overcrowding.