Charles Center South sells to L.A. firm

A 25-story tower in downtown's Charles Center complex sold in December for $26.1 million to an Los Angeles company, real estate firm Cassidy Turley announced Tuesday.

Cassidy Turley, which listed the 36 S. Charles Street property back in April, said the sale is a sign of a downtown office market that is rebounding after the Great Recession. The firm announced the $19.7 million sale of 201 North Charles Street in September and managing director Jonathan Carpenter said he expects another deal to close in early January.

"There's a good trend happening," Carpenter said. "These were market-based transactions. It's an indication that there's more capital and more buyers really looking for opportunities outside of the major markets."

The central business district had a 19 percent vacancy rate for Class A office space in December 2013, according to Nadia Kahler, the vice president of research and transaction management for Colliers International in Baltimore. 

The 294,274-square-foot Charles Center South tower, built in 1975 and once the headquarters of Piper & Marbury, is 77 percent occupied, with the U.S. Attorney's office currently its largest tenant, Carpenter said.

Carpenter said buyer Laurus Corp. of Los Angeles intends to spend money improving the property to attract new tenants. The company, which did not respond to requests for comment, also owns the Hunt Valley Inn in Cockeysville, according to its website.

Carpenter declined to name the seller, but state land records list the longtime owner as Area 16B Associates. The Baltimore Sun reported in 2000 that Manekin LLC developed and managed the building, and principals at the Columbia-based firm were investors.

In April, Colliers International acquired Manekin's brokerage and property management group. Officials at Manekin did not return calls for comment.

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