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The Real Estate Wonk Baltimore's residential real estate and commercial development news
EBDI hotel planned as Marriott Residence Inn

Designers on Thursday presented new plans for a 15-story hotel near Johns Hopkins Hospital, after a nearly two-year lapse during which a new development team came on board and Marriott was selected to bear the flag.

Scott Levitan, director of development for Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership, the master developer of the East Baltimore Development Inc. zone, said financing for the roughly $80 million project is in place and he hopes to see construction start by September.

A new partnership, which includes Greenebaum & Rose Associates and Pyramid Hotel Group, has the property under contract as LSH GE Gateway 2 LLC, he said.

The 194-key hotel with about 20,000 square feet of retail, to be located on the southern edge of a proposed park, would be known as the Residence Inn at Johns Hopkins Hospital. A later phase would add 100 more rooms and about 7,000 square-feet of new retail.

Thursday's plan, by Gensler and Mahan Rykiel Associates, was more detailed than its 2013 iteration, and...

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New grocer coming to Charles Street

A gourmet grocer is planning to open in the Charles Street space that has been empty since Fresh & Greens closed at the end of 2013, development officials said Thursday.

Streets Market & Cafe would fill the spot of a downtown grocer that officials have said is critical to helping turn the area into a 24-7 community.

Representatives of Streets Market & Cafe could not be reached immediately for comment. The business opened its first store last year in Washington and now has two locations. It markets itself as a specialty market, with a cafe menu and selection of organic and everyday goods.

David Hillman, CEO of Southern Management Corp., which owns the 222 N. Charles St. property, as well as several apartment buildings in the area, confirmed that a deal is in the works. The tenant was discussed at Thursday's meeting of the Baltimore Development Corp.

"We're pretty close," Hillman said. "We have so many apartments in the neighborhood that the lack of a grocery store is a real detriment to...

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Continental Realty raises more than $164 million

A Baltimore-based real estate investment and management firm said Wednesday it has raised more than $164 million in private equity financing for a new fund focused on apartment and retail properties.

The fund is the fourth from Continental Realty Corp., founded in 1960. The firm, which owns and manages more than 8,000 apartments and 3 million square feet of retail, shifted its focus to funds around 2009, raising money from investors for tax certificates in Florida, said CEO J.M. Schapiro. This is its second fund to be used for the acquisition of retail and apartment complexes.

"We made the strategic decision that we were seeing more deal flow than we might have had our own equity for and we wanted to leverage our people and our experience and our relationships, and so that's when we made the decision to head toward raising money from other investors along with our own," Schapiro said.

The money, raised in just four months, comes from a mix of sources that includes foundations, institutional...

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New affordable apartments destined for west side

Construction is expected to start this month on a new 68-unit affordable apartment building in downtown's west side.

The $22.3 million Mulberry at Park project developed by Enterprise Homes is financed by low income housing tax credits as well as city and state financing. The 211 W. Mulberry Street building designed by Marks Thomas Architects is expected to open in the summer of 2016, Enterprise Homes said in a press release Wednesday.

All units will be reserved for families who earn 60 percent or less of the area median income. The property is also slated to include a fitness center, terrace and cyber cafe.

Enterprise Homes is the development arm of Columbia-based Enterprise Community Partners, which works on affordable housing development nationwide.

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Tenants of Sage Management get nearly $1 million under settlement

Hundreds of current and former tenants of Sage Management housing in Baltimore will get nearly $1 million in compensation and debt forgiveness under a settlement of a lawsuit that accused the rental company of charging illegal late fees.

Three tenants filed the class action lawsuit in March 2014 on behalf of current and former residents since January 2004, saying the company routinely charged late-paying tenants not only the permitted 5 percent penalty but also illegal fees, charges and penalties and perpetuated a cycle of debt. The complaint also alleged the landlord hid "agent fees" by combining them with legitimate court costs.

A city Circuit Court judge granted preliminary approval Tuesday to the settlement, which compensates about 1,872 current and former Sage tenants in apartments and townhouses around the city.

"It's one big step in the right direction," said plaintiff Shonda Billings, a former tenant at a Sage-managed apartment in Northwest Baltimore, who said hundreds of dollars...

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Selling baltimore after the rioting

As thousands of people head to Las Vegas this week for one of the real estate industry's premier events, Baltimore's political and business leaders said they plan to court national retailers and investment prospects with the same playbook they use every year.

It just might be more important this time.

April's protests placed the spotlight on long-impoverished communities in Baltimore, focusing attention on the need for investment, even as riots and looting raised real questions about security risks.

This week's International Council of Shopping Centers conference, which draws thousands of national chains, developers and economic development officials for mingling, deal-making and intelligence gathering on new markets, offers local participants a chance to address questions, reassure people of the city's wider stability and remind them of its assets and purchasing power.

"It's very important to not let what CNN showed … that that picture be applied to the entire city," said Doug Schmidt, a...

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