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BTR Realty Inc. makes changes at the top


BTR Realty Inc., the Linthicum-based developer, has changed its senior management to better react to the downturn in the commercial real estate market.

In the reorganization, President and Chief Operating Officer Vernon D. Kalkman has been replaced by F. Patrick Hughes, former senior vice president and chief financial officer. Kalkman now heads the company's real estate development division.

The changes occurred in late November.

"Mr. Kalkman has provided BTR with professional leadership for many years," said Chairman Archibald E. MacKay, referring to Kalkman's 12 years as president. MacKay said Kalkman's present position gives BTR "an expert and specialized focus in the development area which we must place emphasis on at this time."

MacKay said the reorganization is intended "to take advantage of opportunities presented as a result of the economy's downturn and financial strains affecting other real estate developers."

BTR is a publicly held real estate development firm that owns, manages and operates shopping centers and office and industrial buildings in several states.

Like many development companies, BTR's results have been hurt by the downturn in the real estate market.

BTR had a net loss of $2.8 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, stemming from more than $400,000 of write-offs of unrecovered real estate development costs and $3.8 million in additions to the reserves that protect BTR against falling real estate values in Arizona.

Hughes said the company's primary goal is to reduce its debt and emphasize its liquidity and operations. The company has scaled back its development plans and is focusing on only a few major projects, Hughes said.

Although the position of chief financial officer will be eliminated, Hughes said he will retain the duties associated with the post.

Hughes stopped short of calling the changes a demotion for Kalkman, but said his expertise is in development and the board of directors was looking for someone with financial expertise to lead the company at this time.

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