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BRAC & Defense : Development News

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Defense contractor hiring up to 25 for new Harford County office

Sigmatech, Inc. is hiring 20 to 25 people for its first office in Maryland. Based in Huntsville, Ala., the defense service provider opened its first Maryland office in May in Belcamp, near Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County.

The office started off with a staff of two but Brian Simmons, senior vice president for Washington, D.C., and APG operations, says he is looking to add system engineers, scientists and acquisiton experts by the end of this year.

“We are interested in supporting the U.S. Army at APG. What they do is different from Huntsville,” site of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Simmons says.
 
“Every other weapons program comes through APG at some point,” says Simmons. With future contracts in “R&D (research and development), test evaluation, foreign military sales and security assistance to allies at APG, my goal is for the office to pay for itself by the end of the year.” 
 
Sigmatech opened its first office outside its Alabama headquarters last year in Crystal City, Va., to serve the northern Virginia-Washington, D.C., market. The private company has 320 employees, two-thirds of them in Huntsville, and $60 million in annual revenue.
 
Sigmatech’s APG office is located in the Water’s Edge Corporate Campus. “It is a bold move for us because of cutbacks, a tight market. But the timing is right for us,” says Simmons. “We need to grow and bolster our technical talent.”
 
Simmons says the company was particularly interested in APG because after the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure, several large military-defense agencies moved there.
 
“After Huntsville, APG is the next largest Army hub for weapons development and acquisition, new R&D, computers and intelligence,” he says.
 
Simmons expects to expand Sigmatech’s e-learning courses to future clients at APG. Based on a topic chosen by the client, the company designs a curriculum and develops a web-based instructional course. For example, one client was the United States Military Academy West Point, for which Sigmatech developed a course for its counter-terrorism center.
 
Source: Brian Simmons, Sigmatech, Inc.
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 

Construction Begins on $9.5M Nursing Home in Havre de Grace

Construction crews broke ground this month on the first phase of a new 39,000-square-foot nursing home at the Bulle Rock development in Havre de Grace.
 
Lorien Health Systems' $9.5 million building will have 78 beds and will eventually include an assisted-living facility. The company expects to open the building for patients in April 2013.
 
The site's location provides a needed resource in an area that is getting more people, says James A. Forsyth, an attorney for Lorien Health Systems.
 
Harford County has gained thousands of new residents thanks to the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure and these new residents will likely need services for their aging families, Forsyth says.

Lorien's model of healthcare combines skilled nursing facilities with assisted living under the same roof so that patients can move between facilities if necessary. Individuals with more medically complex cases, from accidents for example, will also be able to receive care at this facility, Forsyth says.
 
Lorien's additional sites are located in Bel Air, Belcamp, Columbia, Ellicott City, Mt. Airy, Taneytown, Timonium, and a 64-bed facility nearing completion in Elkridge.
 
Any new healthcare facility of a certain threshold requires a certificate of need approval which is a permitting process overseen by the Maryland Health Care Commission. The process uses county-by-county demographics to determine how many beds will be needed to serve the elderly population.
 
 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding
Source: James A. Forsyth, council for Lorien Health Systems
 

Boutique Hotel Opening Near Arundel Mills in $150M Complex

Southern Management Corp., known for its portfolio of apartment holdings, is opening a 150-room boutique hotel by early August as the developer hopes to capitalize on the tourism revenue expected from the casino debuting next year at Arundel Mills mall.

The Hotel at Arundel Preserve
is part of a $150 million development includes 242 apartments, which opened this month, and Grillfire restaurant. The project is part of the 268-acre Arundel Preserve complex that includes shops, offices, apartments, and restaurants.

The 156-seat Grillfire will open July 28. The sixth restaurant of New York's George Martin Group, the steakhouse will also serve seafood, salads, and chicken dishes.

The hotel will house three other restaurants, including Indian eatery Rangoli, says John Cohan, Southern Management's director of marketing.

The Vienna, Va., developer saw an "untapped market." Though the area around Arundel Mills mall is chock full of hotels, many are chain hotels targeting business travelers flying through Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Cohan says. Southern Management is hoping that an independently owned boutique hotel will stand apart for leisure travelers looking to press their luck at the slots machines.

The company also hopes to appeal to the thousands of defense contractors that will move and work in the area due to the federal government's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: John Cohan, Southern Management

Ross Technologies Moving Headquarters from Columbia to UMBC Research Park

Ross Technologies Inc., a 14-year-old cyber security consulting firm, is moving its headquarters from Columbia to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County technology park.

The 11,425-square-foot office will open in the spring at 5520 Research Park Dr., bringing about 50 jobs to the new office. Ross' move highlights the research park's draw for cyber security firms, of which it now has about a dozen.

These include Telcordia Technologies Inc., a telecommunications company that is also opening at the research park this spring. The company works with Department of Defense agencies at Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground. It is opening the office as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure, expected to bring thousands of defense contracting jobs to Maryland.

Cyber security firms are a good fit for the research park given its proximity to Fort Meade, about 10 miles away, says Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park.

The school is opening an incubator this week, the Northrup Grumman Cync program, that will help the next generation of tech firms combat online threats.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Ellen Hemmerly, UMBC

Baltimore Washington Medical Center $31M Operating Room Expansion Underway

Baltimore Washington Medical Center is adding three new operating rooms that will enable its doctors to perform more complex neurosurgeries and orthopedic surgeries. Those services will be needed as baby boomers age and the county gets an influx of new residents.

The $31 million expansion will be completed in September, BWMC spokesman Kevin Cservek says.

The money for the new OR rooms comes from a bond sale from the University of Maryland Medical System, which BWMC is a part of, and the 321-bed hospital's fundraising efforts.

The 27,500-square-foot addition will give it a total of 17 operating rooms. As part of the construction, the hospital will add three empty rooms that will give it the space to add surgery equipment to those spaces if there is demand in the future, Cservek says. Hospital officials believe they will see this demand.

One of two hospitals in Anne Arundel County, BWMC is close to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The county is expected to handle more patients as more residents move to the area because of the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure. And as the baby boomers age, they will need more hip replacements and so forth, Cservek says.

The expansion will help BWMC transition from being a community hospital to a regional medical center, he says. The hospital plans to renovate 16,000 square feet of existing operating room space as part of the expansion.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Kevin Cservek, BWMC


St. John Properties Breaks Ground On Three New Buildings at APG

St. John Properties Inc. has begun construction on three new commercial buildings at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County.

The three buildings total 180,000 square feet and will be complete by the middle of next year.

The properties are located at the Government and Technology Enterprise, or the Gate, a 416-acre technology business park. The new office buildings are located at 6180, 6200, and 6210 Guardian Gateway Dr.

Baltimore developer St. John Properties is constructing a total of eight buildings at the office park. The county is expected to get an influx of federal contractors next year with the Pentagon's base realignment and closure, or BRAC. Aberdeen Proving Ground is expected to get 20,000 workers next year.

The office complex is near the Command, Control, Computer, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Command operations, which will bring workers from New Jersey and Virginia.

The new buildings will adhere to standards to satisfy the requirements for Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design Silver-certification, specified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The buildings' environmentally friendly features will include a high-efficiency heating, ventilating and air system, high performance windows to reduce energy usage, lavatory fixtures with sustainable elements to conserve water, wetland forest preserves, and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: St. John Properties

Airport full-body scanner firm gains new contracts and expands in Edgewood

Smiths Detection, a Harford County firm that made headlines earlier this year for its controversial full-body airport scanners, is expanding its Edgewood headquarters this month as it wins new contracts.

The company, which designs sensors to identify explosives, narcotics and contraband, is adding 15,000 square feet to its warehouse. The 130,000-square-foot facility has added 70 employees in the last 18 months to a total of 215.

The expansion will give it the space it needs to supply the U.S. military with a chemical agent detector and manufacture X-ray scanners for the Transportation Security Administration, says Tim Picciotti, Smiths Detection's vice president, military & emergency responders .

Picciotti says the company likes Harford County because it is close to Aberdeen Proving Ground, the site of a Department of Defense testing facility for chemical and biological detectors.

It's also a good location because Aberdeen is expected to get as many as 20,000 jobs due to the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC.
"BRAC will bring more of a high-tech workforce to Harford County," Picciotti says. "It's a fantastic location for us."

Earlier this year, the TSA expanded its use of full-body scanners, touching off a firestorm of complaints from privacy advocates who say the scanners are too invasive. Advocates say the full-body scanners can detect concealed weapons that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Picciotti says that in the future, Smiths plans to make X-Ray systems so advanced that passengers wouldn't have to remove their shoes or dump their bottled water.

Smiths Detection's other U.S. offices are in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia. It employs 800 in the U.S. The company is part of the global Smiths Group which employs more than 9,000 people in the U.S.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source; Tim Picciotti, Smiths Detection


Hampden landmark McCabe's gets new owners and a new menu

A business owner has breathed new life into a longtime favorite Hampden restaurant. Patrick Ito and Dan McIntosh reopened McCabe's April 23.  The 53-seat bar and restaurant at 3845 Falls Rd. closed a year ago under different owners.

Ito. who doubles as the restaurant's chef, says he has been updating the classic menu at McCabe's, known for its crab cakes, burgers and steaks, in order to add Hampden's hipsters crowd to the McCabe's devotees from Mount Washington and Pikesville. "We want to please the older customers and at the same time get a younger, fresher crowd without pushing either of the two away," says Ito.

The menu now includes several vegetarian options, including polenta lasagna with grilled vegetables and a fried eggplant sandwich with harisa tomato chutney and goat cheese. Lunch costs between $8 and $14, while a dinner entrée costs between $14 and $26. "Before it was a classic menu that was a little outdated. I made it trendier and more accessible to people," he adds.

Ito is relying on local bakeries and farms, including Stone Mill Bakery in Lutherville and Hampstead's Spring Hill farm for his meat. "We've put some thought into where the food is being sourced from," Ito says.

Neither owner is a stranger to the Baltimore business community. Ito has worked as a chef at Mount Vernon's Copra and Ze Mean Bean in Fells Point.  McIntosh owns downtown live music joint Sonar.

The partners have spent the last eight months readying the place for customers, adding new paint, floors and redoing the bar and kitchen.
Ito declined to say how much the partners invested in the 800-square-foot restaurant. "It was more expensive than we thought and more difficult than we thought," he admits. 

Ito and McIntosh say they chose Hampden because it is full of thriving retailers and restaurants. "I love the area. There's plenty of potential there," Ito explains. "It's the happening area now."

Read more about what's happening in Hampden!

Source: Patrick Ito, McCabe's
Writer: Julekha Dash


Cardin and Mikulski net $300M for BRAC-related transportation projects

U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman Chris Van Hollen recently announced unprecedented federal investment of $300 million in BRAC-related transportation projects outside the gate of what will be the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. Projects include improvements to the surrounding roads, including MD-355, and upgrades to the Metro station.

The $300 million was included for BRAC-related transportation mitigation efforts for the future Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda (currently the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center) and the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia as part of the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Act. Both installations and their surrounding communities stand to be heavily impacted by the 2005 BRAC-mandated consolidation, which is set to conclude in September 2011.

"This announcement is good news for the thousands of wounded warriors and their families who will use the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as Montgomery County's beleaguered commuters," says Senator Cardin. "As a delegation, we have been united in our effort to provide needed federal support for the expanded medical facility and the tens of thousands of new military and civilian jobs being brought to our state through the BRAC process."

"I fought in the Senate to BRAC-proof Maryland's bases, now I am working to BRAC-ready our transportation systems. Our troops fight overseas to protect our freedom, they shouldn't have to fight traffic to get the care they've earned when they get back," says Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "The Walter Reed National Military Center at Bethesda will be the frontline in delivering care to our wounded warriors."

"This unprecedented investment will allow us to help ensure that the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is a world-class center of excellence for our nation's wounded warriors, and that the demands placed on the surrounding community as a result of this relocation are adequately addressed," says Congressman Van Hollen. "Federal, state and local officials are working closely with the community to create as smooth a transition as possible, and this funding will be a critical component of our success." 

The BRAC Commission's recommendations will bring 45,000 to 60,000 new jobs to Maryland by 2020 as well as new sources of state revenue.

Writer: Walaika Haskins

State Housing Dept. gives green light for stimulus-funded BRAC housing

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) recently announced financing of the North Creek Run development in Cecil County and the Perryman Station project in Harford County. The developments will provide much-needed affordable housing in an area expecting an influx of working families through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

"These developments great examples of how federal, state and local collaboration can revitalize communities and expand affordable housing options for Maryland's hardworking families and seniors," said Secretary Richard A. Skinner. "They also are a boost to the area's labor pool with the creation of an estimated 107 jobs."

Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) allows state housing finance agencies such as DHCD to resume funding affordable rental housing projects while stimulating job creation in the hard-hit construction industry. TCAP provides grant funding for capital investment in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects through a formula-based allocation to DHCD.

The North Creek Run project financing includes a Bank of America construction-to-permanent mortgage of $2.1 million. DHCD provided $821,050 of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which raised equity of $5.4 million through PNC Bank. DHCD also provided $3 million in Tax Credit Assistance Program loan funds and a $132,500 Maryland Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability Grant (MEEHA).

The development, located on Stony Run Creek Road, includes a garden apartment building with eight one-bedroom apartments and 45 two-story family townhouse rental units. The property also will contain a community room, exercise center and computer room. Units will be available for families with incomes between 30 percent and 60 percent of the Area Median Income or $15,600 to $46,080 for a four-person household.

The Perryman Station, located on Perryman Road, project involves the new construction of a senior residential community. The property will consist of 80 units in 3-story apartment buildings, including 37 one-bedroom and 43 two-bedroom units. The units will be available for households with at least one resident being 62 years or older with incomes at or below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) or $19,700 to $39,420 for a two-person household.

Project financing includes a first mortgage from Bank of America, N.A. for $3,126,900, a $270,643 HOME Loan from Harford County, a $3 million Loan under the ARRA Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP), and a $200,000 Grant through the Multifamily Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability Program (MEEHA). DHCD also provided more than $816,000 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which raised about $5.7 million in private equity through Bank of America, N.A.

The developer and owner of the project are Stavrou Associates, Inc. and Rellim Development, LLC. The property will be professionally managed by HAI Management, Inc. d/b/a Humphrey Management. The general contractor is Hamel Builders Inc.

Follow the DHCD on Twitter and Facebook.


Mitre opens Ft. Meade offices

The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that provides systems engineering, research and development, and information technology support to the government, has opened its new site near Ft. Meade. According to the company, the site in Annapolis Junction, MD, was opened to strengthen MITRE support to key Department of Defense (DoD) customers, several of which have relocated to Maryland from Fort Monmouth, N.J., as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan.

The company is leasing 73,000 square feet of office space through Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), which designed the facility to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The offices are located in COPT's National Business Park—across the parkway from Fort Meade, the fourth largest Army installation in the continental United States, with nearly 40,000 military, civilian, and contractor personnel.
"Being readily accessible to our sponsors and customers in the Fort Meade area is key to delivering the highest quality support," says Alfred Grasso, president and CEO. "With a fully equipped technical staff just across the road, we're able to do our part to make the relocation as smooth a process as possible."
MITRE anticipates the site, its seventh in Maryland, will ultimately employ 160. Following the ceremony, MITRE's office on the sixth floor was open for a walk-through, during which staff gave technology demonstrations on multi-language tools, cutting-edge cybersecurity software, and other innovative technologies the company has developed to support DoD programs and operations.
"The Fort Meade site has everything; a high performing MITRE team, a wonderful new facility, and a great community," says David Nolton, MITRE Defense Information Systems director. "The work programs at the new location provide challenging and fulfilling opportunities for a wide variety of professionals with experience in everything from signal processing to information security to business case analysis."
Commenting on the new site, Leopold said, "This opening is another tangible sign that base realignment and closure is bringing the economic activity and jobs we expected. I am very proud that MITRE chose to expand in Anne Arundel County."

Source: MITRE
Writer: Walaika Haskins
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