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Old February 9th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #741
StevenW
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Found this at wikipedia and thought I'd post it.
----------------------------------------------

Class A Office Space describes the highest quality office space locally available, and usually requires a construction technique using steel framing.

Office buildings are classified according to a combination of location and physical characteristics. Class B and Class C buildings are always defined in reference to the qualities of Class A buildings. There is no formula by which buildings can be placed into classes; judgment is always involved. A fair number of the Class C office spaces in the inventory are not truly office buildings but rather walk-up office spaces above retail or service businesses.


Dakin Building, a Class A office building in Brisbane, CaliforniaThe Urban Land Institute, a noted authority on commercial land uses, says the following about these classifications in its Office Development Handbook. Class A space can be characterized as buildings that have excellent location and access, attract high quality tenants, and are managed professionally. Building materials are high quality and rents are competitive with other new buildings. Class B buildings have good locations, management, and construction, and tenant standards are high. Buildings should have very little functional obsolescence and deterioration. Class C buildings are typically 15 to 25 years old but are maintaining steady occupancy. Tenants filter from Class B to Class A and from Class C to Class B.

In a normal market, Class A rents are higher than Class B which are above Class C. This makes sense because Class A buildings offer higher quality to the tenants and cost more to provide.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 02:23 PM   #742
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
Found this at wikipedia and thought I'd post it.
----------------------------------------------

Class A Office Space describes the highest quality office space locally available, and usually requires a construction technique using steel framing.

Office buildings are classified according to a combination of location and physical characteristics. Class B and Class C buildings are always defined in reference to the qualities of Class A buildings. There is no formula by which buildings can be placed into classes; judgment is always involved. A fair number of the Class C office spaces in the inventory are not truly office buildings but rather walk-up office spaces above retail or service businesses.


Dakin Building, a Class A office building in Brisbane, CaliforniaThe Urban Land Institute, a noted authority on commercial land uses, says the following about these classifications in its Office Development Handbook. Class A space can be characterized as buildings that have excellent location and access, attract high quality tenants, and are managed professionally. Building materials are high quality and rents are competitive with other new buildings. Class B buildings have good locations, management, and construction, and tenant standards are high. Buildings should have very little functional obsolescence and deterioration. Class C buildings are typically 15 to 25 years old but are maintaining steady occupancy. Tenants filter from Class B to Class A and from Class C to Class B.

In a normal market, Class A rents are higher than Class B which are above Class C. This makes sense because Class A buildings offer higher quality to the tenants and cost more to provide.
Interesting the Wikipedia excerpt would indicate Class A space is steel framing. Not true.

Main classes of building type are based on age of building and condition. Class A is new/relatively new, Class B is generally older stock (25+ years old) and Class C is normally 50+ years old.

Class A and B normally include parking of some type, while Class C generally does not.

Class A is most expensive, Class C is cheapest.

The biggest barometer for new construction is the amount of Class A space still available on the market. Class B and C also have an effect on the Class A market since leasing can often entail vertical movement, where a company may decide to upgrade or downgrade space. Care is normally given to distinguish between the different classes, since it is generally common to find more B- and C-space on the market than A. In the case of Baltimore, in the past ten years I’d say the most significant change to the office market has been the conversion of a huge stock of old C-space to residential. The C-space has vexed us for a long time…

In Baltimore, generally, new office construction doesn’t not happen unless the market for Class A tightens enough to where the vacancy rate drops below 10%. Even then, project funding becomes tough since banks will weigh existing market conditions, as to determine risk. In Baltimore, I’d say a more realistic threshold would be about 7% vacancy needed. (The BBJ and a couple of other pubs maintain a vacancy status towards the back of the publication.)

While depreciation certainly guarantees A-space will eventually become B-space, most B-class can be upgraded back to A-space with investment. Then of course there are the in-between scenarios where B-space becomes A-space due to new construction. (Think of 100 E. Pratt. Is the entire building A-class? How do you determine if the original 10-storey structure is also A-class?)

In terms of efficiency, you can also strip a building of its façade, and do a complete makeover. Keep the structure, and gut everything else. From a cost perspective, that could save significant money, since you avoid most engineering for foundations, excavations, and new structural construction. Of course some buildings in the B-class have undergone major renovations where existing services such as restrooms and lobby areas are upgraded, and then deemed A-space.

I guess it was about 20 years ago or so, in order to address such “in between” classes, it became very popular to designate sub standards in each class. So now you have Class A, Class A+, Class B-, etc.

Right now, we need to unload the large swaths of office space in buildings like 750 E. Pratt and 250 W. Pratt. Those two are definitely not good indicators; both are high quality.

While things have changed with the advent of telecommuting, generally, one measurement for a local economy is the amount of space absorbed...not only what new is constructed. Positve absorption is an indicator of a growing economy.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #743
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100 E. Pratt is most certainly all class A by now. The building's owner and management just renovated the 1970s structure for T. Rowe Price. Look in the windows and you'll see modern furnishings and parabolic flourescent lights (new feature to reduce glare). The looy has also been upgraded. The blank space of retail along Pratt Street is expected to be occupied by year's end. My guess is it'll be a cafe/restaurant thing.

25 S. Charles is the M&T Bank building at the Harbor. The really old drawing of the Baltimore Financial Center (which basically became our 100 E. Pratt) would have been sandwiched against 25 S. Charles where those low-lying, vacant buildings on the corner of Redwood and Charles are located. Those are now becoming a hotel, allording to the Downtown Partnership. But I could plausibly see new life for 25 S. Charles in 5-10 years if our (Baltimore's) economy heads in the right direction...

That is the if.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #744
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Oh, by the way, did you guys read that there was a shooting outside One South Street early Sunday morning last weekend?

I know that the side of the building facing The Block has black stuff covering the windows and Baltimore Police decals. I guess they tried to make it look like a precinct office (smart thing) even though it's not (we're cheap). Still, kinda depressing that this stuff happens here...
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Old February 9th, 2007, 05:49 PM   #745
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Speaking of my posts regarding the Old Goucher area.....
I found an appropriate letter to the editor....

House new residents near Charles Street
The Dixon Transition Team Report, issued last week, calls for "improving the Charles Street-North Avenue corridor and refurbishing central Baltimore ... the section north of Mount Vernon and south of 33rd Street," according to The Sun ("So much to do, so little time," editorial, Feb. 4).
At the same time, an alert new city administration wants to attract new residents who will be coming to the metropolitan area as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure plan, which will bring many thousands of workers from Virginia and New Jersey to jobs at Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground ("City invites BRAC growth," Feb. 5).

These two concepts suggest that new and renovated housing between Mount Vernon and Charles Village - with nearby rail connections from Penn Station to Fort Meade and Aberdeen - could create a "win-win" picture for newcomers, for city enthusiasts and for efforts to reduce gas consumption and pollution.

Residents in mid-city neighborhoods are already commuting through Penn Station to employment centers in Washington in increasing numbers.

The area near Charles Street and North Avenue offers a huge opportunity to expand this practice.




Alan Shecter
Baltimore



The writer's family company owns the Charles and Everyman theaters and other commercial properties in the Station North area.

---


Nate
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Old February 9th, 2007, 05:50 PM   #746
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^Thanks to all who helped explain office space to me.

I now know less than I did before!

Nate
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Old February 9th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #747
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What does everybody think of the BDC "quick take" ruling?

It might slow development, but it's the right thing. This is America after all.

Nate
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Old February 9th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #748
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
What does everybody think of the BDC "quick take" ruling?

It might slow development, but it's the right thing. This is America after all.

Nate
True, but in light of the Weinberg fiasco on the Westside, the city can't afford to have one property owner stall overall economic progress either. If anything, I see the "quick take" eventually being refined and used more as a future "bluff" of sorts by the city to indicate the eminent domain process is being seriously considered. Could be used as a sort of initiation catalyst to begin formal discussions...
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Old February 9th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #749
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I think quick take should be limited to "slumlord" type scenarios, where owners just sit on properties and let them rot to the detriment of historical architecture or the surrounding neighborhoods. That means the Weinbergs would qualify!

Nate
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Old February 9th, 2007, 07:27 PM   #750
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
What does everybody think of the BDC "quick take" ruling?

It might slow development, but it's the right thing. This is America after all.

Nate
I have no problem with 'quick take" as long as its done in a proper manner. And it appears the city is not always using methods that are appropriate. As much as I want to see development move and move quickly, I don't think its appropriate to seize properties without any justification or plans. The city seems to do this simply because they can and don't offer any reason (at least in this particular court case). Why should a business owner lose their business when there are no better plans to replace them? Same argument as to why we would approve the destruction of a old "historic" warehouse when there are no renderings of what the replacement garage will look like.
If a project is critical to the city, the investors should have put in enough time to have some relatively concrete plans on what exactly is so much better that its imperitive to do a quick take and swap these properties. I think if you have a property owner in a blighted area, you should not be forced to give up your property if there are no plans in place. Because we've seen what happens there... the property sits vacant for years while the city figures out what to do with it and we don't move anywhere and are no better off.
The key is, we need some strong legal precedence that will allow the city to do a quick take when appropriate and the process is followed, so the legal hurdles are avoided and the new investors aren't left on the sidelines for years during the legal battles.
In an ideal world, the superblock process would have had a cleaner arrangement with the Weinbergs (none of this crap where they'll swap properties and not go through with it) and if the Weinberg fndtn wanted to sue, they wouldn't have any ground to stand on and the Chera group would have been well into construction by now. Instead, both sides are plagued with arrogance making ambiguous agreements that leave the whole arrangement primed for the legal battles we've seen and will continue to see for the foreseeable future....
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Old February 9th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #751
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenW View Post

The 414 Water Street condominiums are nearing completion. An additional $2.8 billion in construction is expected downtown between now and 2010.
(Sun photo by Amy Davis)
I don't know if anyone noticed but in the physical paper (not online) the Sun's caption listed Wada_guy's new home as the Vue!

If only the Sun's editor were to read this site he would be in the know

Last edited by Maudibjr; February 9th, 2007 at 07:45 PM. Reason: my god I can't spell
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Old February 9th, 2007, 08:23 PM   #752
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maudibjr View Post
I don't know if anyone noticed but in the physical paper (not online) the Sun's caption listed Wada_guy's new home as the Vue!

If only the Sun's editor were to read this site he would be in the know

What is going on down there on Calvert St? Not only are there gross inaccuracies like the above, but the grammer and spelling mistakes, it's embarrassing. I wish that a local group would take it over and help to restore it to its former glory, but right now it's a real rag of a paper.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 08:44 PM   #753
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It's not just the Sun. The Examiner had Mondawmin AND the State Center project in East Baltimore. I sent them the below e-mail and, of course, got no response.

From: @earthlink.net
To: [email protected]
Subject: The McCulloh Homes are NOT IN EAST BALTIMORE
Date: Jan 29, 2007 7:04 AM

What is it about the Examiner and Baltimore geography. First the Examiner stated that Mondawmin was in East Baltimore, and now your article states that the McCulloh homes are in East Baltimore.

For you information, both are in WEST BALTIMORE. Charles Street is the dividing line between East and West in this city. When writing a story, just look at the street signs if you aren't sure where something is located. If is says W Dauphine Street, the W stands for West.

Regards,
Darrell
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Old February 9th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #754
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maudibjr View Post
I don't know if anyone noticed but in the physical paper (not online) the Sun's caption listed Wada_guy's new home as the Vue!

If only the Sun's editor were to read this site he would be in the know
I thought the same thing!
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Old February 9th, 2007, 09:19 PM   #755
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City struggling to lure conventions

Figures show decrease in bookings despite planned downtown hotel

With a city-financed Hilton convention hotel coming on line in 2008, officials are more hard-pressed than ever to lure more business to the city.

Yet numbers released today show that the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association has booked nearly two-thirds fewer groups in 2008 than in 2005, grim figures for a business in which groups usually book at least five years in advance.

The figures, presented to a group of area general managers today, show that 28 groups booked conventions at the center in 2005, compared with just 10 for 2008, and nine for 2009. Another seven groups have committed to come to Baltimore in 2008 but have not yet signed a contract, while five groups are possibilities.

"I'm seeing a decrease in bookings and wanted to make the community aware of that," said Thomas J. Noonan, BACVA's newly appointed executive director, an in interview. "However, we have a couple of strategies."

Chief among them are hiring a New York-based employee to focus on luring more corporate and pharmaceutical conventions, which tend to plan conferences within an 18 month window, said Noonan. Additionally, BACVA will hire another sales manager in Baltimore to focus on smaller conferences.

Noonan said he hopes to have the two new employees on board by April so that "they can have an impact for the rest of this year."

The news was worrisome to some city officials who have long voiced concerns about the city financing a $301 million hotel and being able to fill its 757 rooms.

"There was a lot of rosy projections during that hotel debate about how if you build it they will come," said Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., who recently announced his candidacy for mayor. "And you know, I always said it was a risky venture for the city to be getting involved in the hotel business."

"I've always been worried about it," he added. "The convention business is a tough business, especially for mid-tier cities like Baltimore sandwiched in between Boston, D.C. and Philadelphia."
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Old February 9th, 2007, 09:33 PM   #756
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Figures show decrease in bookings despite planned downtown hotel

With a city-financed Hilton convention hotel coming on line in 2008, officials are more hard-pressed than ever to lure more business to the city.

Yet numbers released today show that the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association has booked nearly two-thirds fewer groups in 2008 than in 2005, grim figures for a business in which groups usually book at least five years in advance.

The figures, presented to a group of area general managers today, show that 28 groups booked conventions at the center in 2005, compared with just 10 for 2008, and nine for 2009. Another seven groups have committed to come to Baltimore in 2008 but have not yet signed a contract, while five groups are possibilities.

"I'm seeing a decrease in bookings and wanted to make the community aware of that," said Thomas J. Noonan, BACVA's newly appointed executive director, an in interview. "However, we have a couple of strategies."

Chief among them are hiring a New York-based employee to focus on luring more corporate and pharmaceutical conventions, which tend to plan conferences within an 18 month window, said Noonan. Additionally, BACVA will hire another sales manager in Baltimore to focus on smaller conferences.

Noonan said he hopes to have the two new employees on board by April so that "they can have an impact for the rest of this year."

The news was worrisome to some city officials who have long voiced concerns about the city financing a $301 million hotel and being able to fill its 757 rooms.

"There was a lot of rosy projections during that hotel debate about how if you build it they will come," said Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., who recently announced his candidacy for mayor. "And you know, I always said it was a risky venture for the city to be getting involved in the hotel business."

"I've always been worried about it," he added. "The convention business is a tough business, especially for mid-tier cities like Baltimore sandwiched in between Boston, D.C. and Philadelphia."
This conflicts with recent articles about an increase in convention business. I wish I could recall those sources, most likely it was the BBJ and/or the Sun.

Maybe they can turn the Hilton into condos.

Last edited by Gsol; February 9th, 2007 at 11:06 PM.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 09:33 PM   #757
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^well....thats disheartening.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 09:37 PM   #758
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Unfortunalty this article doesn't provide us with reasons potential convention booking are down. It used to be the fact that there was no convention center hotel. Now that one is being built you would think things would start picking up. Maybe that won't happen until the hotel is finished. My opinion was/is if the city was going to spend the money to build such a hotel why not make it 1000 rooms. The more block rooms you can provide the better chance conventions will come. At least that is my understanding for having a convention center hotel, but I have been wrong many times before and I very well might be wrong this time. Anyone have any ideas as to why bookings aren't picking up and how we can address this issue so that this hotel doesn't become a white elephant.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #759
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I wish I can answer your questions Balmurfan, but I'm sure there can be a number of reasons. I just don't understand why there are so many conventions that come to various cities in the U.S. but skip Baltimore. The city council as well as Governor O'Malley knew that there were risks regarding the project. What they teach us in business is in order to maximize your future rewards you have to take greater risks. This hotel was one of those risks; a multi-million dollar risk. Hopefully, we can rejoice and relax when the hotel is built with reserved conventions booked 10 years in advance. Then, everyone here can go to an O's game and pray for a victory.
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Old February 9th, 2007, 11:04 PM   #760
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Region's home sales show first gain in 16 months
3.75 percent increase seen as positive sign for spring selling season
By June Arney
Sun Reporter
Originally published February 9, 2007, 2:54 PM EST
Home sales across the Baltimore metropolitan region showed their first gain in 16 months in January, a positive sign that buyers are returning to the market in advance of the crucial spring selling season.

The 2,156 units sold in Baltimore and the five surrounding counties during the month marked a 3.75 percent increase from January 2006 and reversed months of double-digit declines, according to sales data released today by Metropolitan Information Systems Inc., a Rockville firm that tracks homes sold through the multiple listing service. The last time year-over-year sales were positive was in September 2005.

The average home price region-wide advanced 4.34 percent -- the strongest since last August -- to $303,981.

Sales rose in all jurisdictions except Baltimore City. But even in the city, the 7.64 decline in sales was the first time the falloff was in the single digits since November 2005. And the 11.42 percent jump in the average home price was by far the largest in the region and the city's first double-digit rise since May.

The strongest increase in sales was in Carroll County, up 24.05 percent from a year earlier. Sales rose 9.05 percent in Anne Arundel, 7.51 percent in Baltimore County, 9.5 percent in Harford and 4.63 percent in Howard.

About 14,800 homes were listed for sale during January, about the same number as in December and significantly below the levels of preceding months.

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