Owner pitches Laurel Park redevelopment plan to state panel -- Gazette.Net







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The ponies will still run and gamblers will still throw their money at them at Laurel Park, even though its owners lost their bid to build a casino, according to the latest redevelopment plan presented to the Maryland Racing Commission.

The Maryland Jockey Club affirmed plans to keep both Laurel and Pimlico open for racing, even though both sites lost out to competing casinos approved in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore.

“The plan outlines [the jockey club's] commitment to the thoroughbred horse racing industry and willingness to make significant capital improvements at Pimlico and Laurel Park,” club President and COO Thomas Chuckas Jr. said in a news release.

The state's Racetrack Facility Redevelopment Account for development and improvement will provide funds to modernize and upgrade Laurel and Pimlico, where the Stronach Group, which owns the tracks, plan to move forward with broader commercial redevelopment.

Under previously approved plans, the racetrack in Anne Arundel County would be connected by a tunnel to Stronach's proposed Laurel Park Station complex in Howard County. The latter would create a new transit-oriented development next to the Laurel Marc station, including as much as 650,000 square feet of office space, 127,000 square feet of retail space and 1,000 multifamily residential units.

The preliminary capital improvement plan for the two aging tracks was submitted last week to the commission and the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, as required under legislation passed last year during the General Assembly's special session that revamped how money will be distributed from the slots parlors that have opened elsewhere since Maryland voters approved them in 2008.

Chuckas said the plan builds on the 10-year agreement for sustained racing in Maryland struck in December. That deal promises year-round racing in Maryland in return for a piece of the action from increased gambling revenues under the voter referendum approved last year to expand casino gambling to Prince George's County and allow table games in addition to the existing video slot machines.

“While [the jockey club] will move quickly to address short-term needs of the industry, including planning, design and permitting for the construction of 300 new stalls at Laurel Park and 200 new stalls at Pimlico, this is the beginning of a collaborative planning process to reinvest and redevelop these facilities,” he said.

Insight Group breaks ground on Silver Spring project

Insight Property Group and Nova-Habitat announced that they broke ground on a 310-unit apartment project two blocks from the Silver Spring Metro station on the site of a former post office.

The six-story Fenwick Station will include 39 affordable units within the mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments at 8616 Second Ave. Insight, of McLean, Va., and Habitat acquired the site last year for $10.6 million, according to property tax records.

“Fenwick Station is located in a well-established residential neighborhood and at the same time offers residents immediate access to Metro and all of the amenities of downtown Silver Spring,” Insight principal Richard Hausler said in a news release.

The complex will be built according to silver certification standards by the U.S. Green Building Council environmental development program. The project will include a public plaza, a Capital Bikeshare station, and a temporary walking and biking trail that will ultimately connect to the planned Capital Crescent Trail.

“This new development is a direct result of the county's encouragement of site development of projects with access to public transportation and we congratulate Insight today on the start of this new addition to the Silver Spring community,” Steven A. Silverman, head of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, said in a statement.

AvalonBay sells Gaithersburg complex for $39.6M

AvalonBay of Alexandria, Va., reported selling Avalon Rothbury, a 205-unit apartment property in Gaithersburg, for $39.6 million last month.

The company paid $31.25 million for the garden-style apartment complex in Montgomery Village in 2010 after the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission backed out of a deal to buy the property.

Sparks buildings sell for $23.7 million

An affiliate of Greenfield Partners in Reston, Va., bought a pair of office buildings in Sparks for $23.7 million, according to Cushman & Wakefield, which was the exclusive adviser to the seller, Equus Capital Partners.

The 162,646-square-foot complex, Tower Point at the Highlands, is about 20 miles north of Baltimore at 920 and 930 Ridgebrook Road. The buildings are within a planned business park along the I-83 corridor and are 96 percent occupied.

“This is a great purchase at a discount to replacement cost, with solid tenancy and no turnover for the next six years,” said Cristopher Abramson, a Cushman & Wakefield executive director, in a statement.

The property, which was developed as a corporate campus, hosts the headquarters for its three tenants, Fundamental Long Term Care Holdings, FILA U.S.A. and MobilexUSA. Tower Point also includes a 13-acre pad site approved for an 81,000-square-foot office building.

Cushman & Wakefield also arranged a $17 million fixed-rate loan by J.P. Morgan for the deal.

Baltimore apartments line up $77.9M financing

CBRE Capital Markets announced that it arranged $77.9 million in permanent financing for Spinnaker Bay Apartments and the Promenade at Harbor East, a pair of multifamily residential complexes in Balitmore.

CBRE worked on behalf of H&S Properties Development to arrange two permanent loans through its Fannie Mae DUS program. The fixed-rate loans of $63.3 million and $14.6 million were structured with 15-year, fully amortizing terms at rates of about 3.25 percent.

Spinnaker Bay is a class A, 315-unit high-rise multifamily community completed in 2005 at 707 S. President St. It comprises three towers and 41,000 square feet of ground floor retail. The Promenade at Harbor East, at 1001 Aliceanna St., has 113 multifamily units in 13 stories. The Promenade was renovated in 2011.

Cassidy Turley handles industrial complex leasing

Cassidy Turley announced that it won the leasing and management assignment for a nearly empty industrial complex in Hanover acquired last year by TIAA-CREF.

The Candlewood Commerce Center, at 7462-7468 Candlewood Road in Anne Arudnel County, has three class A industrial buildings totaling 357,706 square feet.

Corporate Office Properties Trust of Columbia sold the property last year for $23.7 million, according to a Jones Lang LaSalle report.

“Candlewood Commerce Center represents an excellent opportunity for tenants, from distribution warehouse to flex users, to establish their presence in one of these three premier, class A buildings located in the heart of the Baltimore-Washington Corridor,” Jarred Testa, senior Vice president-principal at Cassidy Turley, said in a news release. “We're thrilled to work with TIAA-CREF on this assignment and look forward to creating value for our client through the successful lease up of this 89 percent vacant project.”

COPT bought the 19-acre site for $18.8 million in 2005 as part of a joint venture. The original plan was to redevelop an old Michelin tire warehouse as two buildings, at an additional cost of $33.6 million. But the company abandoned those plans in 2011 and instead put the project on the market.

Commercial real estate news items may be mailed to Robert Rand, The Business Gazette, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, Md. 20877; emailed to rrand@gazette.net; or faxed to 301-670-7183.