Does your Commercial Real Estate Broker have a CCREB Degree?

For professional CRE brokers, many skill sets are not learned in college or real estate school, but a matter of practicing what their mothers always said!

It was about sixteen years ago that my younger daughter returned home for her Christmas break from her freshman year first semester at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.  She brought along one of her girlfriends who lived on her hall.

While we were all together, I couldn’t help but ask if either of them had decided upon a major to pursue.  In unison they rolled their eyes upward, looked at each other with big smiles and then turned back to me.  My daughter spoke with a chuckle and said, “Yep, we both want to get a CCM degree.”

Hmmmm … I wondered.  I know of the BA and BS college degrees, but at a college level, I had never heard of CCM. 

So, while they continued silently humored by my confusion, I asked, “OK, I give up. What is a CCM degree?” 

“County Club Mom” was the answer. 

Imagine: graduate from college, get married, have kids and lounge by the pool at the local club all day.

Well, three and a half years later in 2002, the girls did not achieve their CCM degrees.  However, my daughter did graduate with a BS degree, married and landed a terrific position in Richmond,Virginia … that is until the babies were born. 

Today she is a happy and proud stay-at-home-mom with no great desire to become a member of the country club set.

Now, what in the world does my daughter, who fantasized about a CCM college degree, have to do with Commercial Real Estate, you ask?

Well, to put it simply, I’m of the belief that there is often something that all commercial real estate brokers can learn from some traditional motherly wisdom. 

The one word that sums this up is Compassion.  Throw in the perfected arts of listening, mediating and leadership … Hey, you have a broker with a CCREB.

That would be a Compassionate Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Degree.

In the CRE world, many look at brokers and agents as people who Eat What They Kill!  … make a deal and move on to the next, you might say.

In the metropolitan and corporate business to business world, some of our kind use that approach and thrive. 

But in the real world of everyday commercial real estate, many clients seek out more than just brokerage services to find a buyer or tenant for the property they wish to market. Many bring with them not only real estate, but a suitcase of other challenges as part of the project. 

Just because one has a substantial investment in land or commercial real estate, does not mean that that property owner understands the complexities of the development and sales processes or even what the term “Change in Use” means in the local zoning code.

CRE clients come in all shapes and sizes and from all aspects of life.  They will often bring to the table financial, relationship and emotional issues.  While these are not necessarily recorded liens or judgments attached to the property in question, these issues are part of the package.

Business and investment partnerships don’t always end amicably.  Family members who share in ownership often bring significant differences of opinions to the table.

The challenge for many real estate brokers is often to get to know the client (or clients) and their personal challenges, needs, wants and desires before one “digs” into the physical real estate.  More often than not, the former consumes significantly more of the agent’s time than the latter.

There are times that I wonder if I should have majored in psychology in college and minored in business.  But over years, while I have pursued and received many real estate professional designations, never have I come across one called Commercial Real Estate Psychology. 

During those years I’ve probably logged in more hours listening to and consulting with my clients over their challenges, needs, wants and desires than I have in transacting some of their real estate.   It is, however, that upfront preparation that can often be the difference in facilitating quick and confident decisions on the part of the property which makes the deal.

Consider the elderly man dealing with the early stages of dementia who refuses to give up control, or the partner who walked out of a closely held business and refuses to cooperate in the sale of a property. 

While a commercial real estate professional typically does not have a license to practice medicine, law or accounting, it may not be unusual for him or her to recommend advisers with such skills be called upon for assistance.

One of my favorite experiences took place in 1994 when I was called upon to facilitate the development, marketing and the eventual sale of over 3,000 acres of land for 35 owners living in multiple states and comprised of three generations of heirs to a partnership (and their lawyers) that was established among 10 poker buddies in the 1950’s. 

With the exception of one individual, they all had one common goal: Maximize the value of the land and sell it

The “odd man out” happened to be one very elderly member who was the managing/general partner, but adamantly refused to cooperate with the majority.  After a lengthy partition suit and trial to have this curmudgeon relieved of his duties, I was called upon by a court appointed trustee to do my thing.

It took several months of compassionate and consultative mediation to bring about an understanding among many different personalities to elect three of the members to act as the decision makers for the group. It was a matter of building trusting relationships, understanding the concerns of each member to create the organizational foundation for an expeditious decision making process through the development, marketing and sales of the project to multiple purchasers.

It was my mother who used to interrupt me as I ranted on about things.  She would put her finger to my lips and remind me that while my Creator gave me only one mouth, the two ears on my the sides of my head mean that I should listen much more than I speak.

It is a simple lesson that, if mastered well, could earn you a worry-free poolside seat at the club. 

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades.  He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012, to name a few. 

MacRo Leases Warehouse Space on Yukon Court

MacRo, Ltd. is pleased to announce the lease of a 4,800 square feet space at 5415 Yukon Court, in Frederick.

The property leased is a warm, lit warehouse with 20 foot ceiling heights and excellent visibility from MD Route 180.  The building is located south of the City of Frederick, just off the US-15 /340 and Mount Zion Road interchange.  David Wilkinson represented the landlord, OK Properties, LLC in the transaction.  The tenant is STROSEC automotive, a firm specializing in the maintenance, leasing and sales of Ford, Chevrolet and GMC pick-up trucks and vans.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact David Wilkinson at 301-748-5670 or

Rocky’s Vacations – Summer Edition

In the spirit of summer vacations we present to you some of our favorite adventures courtesy of Rocky. 

I Left my Droid at Snoqualmie Falls

Did my smart phone out smart me, or was it not smart enough?

Saying FU to Land Conservation

Billed as one of the most beautiful rivers on the planet earth; will the powers to be actually say “Dam It”?

A Spring Training Phenomena that You Won’t Believe

It seems more often than not people return home from a vacation with a “You Won’t Believe What Happened” story.

2 Weddings and a Poop-Bag

Over the years my travels to visit family in Maine have provided me with many first time experiences

It’s the month of July, peak vacation time; so let’s take a break from commercial real estate talk for a week.

I guess it’s Independence Day that kicks off the summer travel season.   For my wife Nancy and I, we took advantage of the long weekend to amble our way up the Jersey Turnpike into New England for a bit of hiking between Amesbury, Massachusetts and Bald Rock Mountain in Camden, Maine.

We brought along our 12 year old Border Collie Tripp, as his specialty is that of a trail blazer.  

It was in Amesbury that we visited my politically and environmentally correct friend Richard and his wife Sally, who introduced this country boy to the sweet aroma of scented doggy poop-bags as we hiked along the shores of the Merrimack River in Maudslay State Park.  

It “almost” made it a pleasure to pull those little green baggies out of my new hip mounted dispenser to collect droppings of excrement along the trail … Truly gave new meaning to the phrase “a walk in the park!” 

The primary purpose of the journey, however, was to attend the wedding of Emily Russell, the daughter of my first cousin Robin (for you genealogists, Emily is my first cousin once removed).  The extent of my family members in Maine is as broad as that of the propagation that my five siblings and I have provided Maryland.  We are close bunch of cousins with relationships that now span five generations in the little seaside Down Eastern vacation village of Castine. 

Castine, with a permanent population of about 1,400, is in many ways a microcosm of Frederick.  It shares a very strong sense of community.  Their annual 4th of July celebration parade has got to be one of America’s best. And for anyone who cares to, you can get to know all the movers and shakers of the town within a matter days, or in minutes, especially if you stop into MarKel’s Bakehouse off Main Street for breakfast, where you will find my cousin Kelly and husband Mark doing their magic in the kitchen producing some of the best Danish pastry south of Bar Harbor. 

To pass the time in the evening, one can always stop in at Danny Murphy’s Bar down along the dock.  Ownership has changed hands a few times since Kelly and Mark were married twenty-five plus years ago.  That happened to be the last time I visited the establishment, when a large contingent of the wedding party migrated there to continue the celebration after my Aunt Dorie and Uncle Bob shut down the backyard reception so they could get some sleep. 

Mainers can be a rowdy bunch. 

As it turned out the after-party in the pub didn’t really go all that well.  It was another cousin of mine Chip of New York fame, who tried to order a drink by bellying up to the bar that night … which was crowded elbow to elbow by a pack of visiting merchant marines.  I’m not sure if it was his thick New York accent or that he may have made a smart ass remark as he attempted to wedge his way through that inebriated crew of bulky sailors.  It wasn’t long before the fists and chairs were literally being flung in every direction.  At that point, my only focus was to save what was left of my New York blood line. 

It was a short walk up the hill to the medical clinic, where Nancy, my brother and I dragged a battered Chip to get stitched up before the numbing effects of the alcohol he ingested had worn off. 

As the three of us stood on the front entrance steps of the clinic waiting for Chip’s return, we breathed in Castine’s cool midnight air.  Unfortunately it was my brother who became the next victim of too much celebration – Mainer Style.  This family member’s name is being withheld to protect the fine reputation he has earned in the Frederick community over the years … So let’s just say that the freshness of the air turned a rancid green as he lost his lunch (and his reception dinner) on those steps within minutes of Chip’s admission. 

Speaking of reputations to protect, the Maine Maritime Academy makes its home in Castine.  Established by the state legislature in 1947, it is a public post-secondary college and nautical training institution.  My late uncle served as the medical doctor for the Academy back in the 1980′s.  Today, my Cousin Heather’s husband Billy serves as the president of the nearly 1,500 student organization.  

A pre-wedding party was held at the centuries old presidential mansion which rests atop one of Castine’s highest points offering expansive views of the wide mouth of the Penobscot River with the Academy and the town on the foreground. 

So clearly this time around everyone and President Billy himself had to be on the best of behaviors, so as not to tarnish the family image.   

As the full moon rose over the river that evening, we partiers once again journeyed down to the dock as we did 25 plus years earlier.  Not to imbibe at Danny Murphy’s, but to watch the fireworks that were rained out from the past week’s 4th celebration.

Turns out that Fire Marshall Randy (not a relative) had planned to shoot them off the next night, but since he was invited to Emily’s wedding, he did himself a favor and lit the clear night sky with a spectacular display from out in the river.  With the full moon perfectly situated off to the right, it was hard to imagine that this show would not match any other any where.  

Have you ever watched fireworks under a full moon?  It was another first for me! 

The next day was a perfectly clear and cool Maine day.  The 4 o’clock wedding was set at a former family “camp” along the shores of Alamoosook Lake (aka “the pond”) about half way ‘tween Castine and Bangor.  Now the home of Cousins Kelly and Mark, the outdoor event brought in family and friends from all over the country.  

Gathered around an old canoe filled with local craft beers and wine covered in crushed ice with white Christmas tree lights draped above in the trees, the crowd began to migrate to their seats as the setting sun offered up a golden backdrop reflecting across the lake.  What a setting for Emily and her soon to be wedded partner Kate to walk down the lush green pathway to recite their vows!

Yes, it was my first gay wedding, and it was a wonderful event.  Meaningful words were shared about the value of deep personal relationships that brought tears to the eyes of many.  With the understanding and love of all the attendees, the bride and bride stated their vows, and then the real party started.  

It truly was a beautiful event that carried on well into the early morning hours in true wicked Mainer style.  

As I am now less than 120 days away from qualifying for Medicare, I continue to discover the joy of life and the fresh experiences it has to offer. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades.  He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012, to name a few. 

MacRo Brokers Sale of Flex Building on Mt. Zion Road

MacRo, Ltd. is pleased to announce the sale of 5430 Mt. Zion Road, Frederick, Maryland 21703 for $1,590,000.

The property is an 11,997 SF flex building sitting on nearly two acres.   Rocky Mackintosh and Kathy Krach represented the seller in the transaction.  Leslie Sharkey of American National Properties represented the buyer.  The sale closed on July 15, 2014.

The buyer is Washington County Human Development Council, a local nonprofit serving disabled adults needing medical care.  WCHDC will be providing vocational training for their clients at the site.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or

MacRo Brokers Lease of Warehouse Space on Grove Road

MacRo, Ltd. is pleased to announce the lease of 4,850 square feet of flex space at 7311 and 7313 Grove Road to Kennedy Fire Protection.

Kennedy Fire Protection signed a five year lease for the space in June, which is a combination of office, warehouse, and machine shop.  Kathy Krach represented the tenant in the transaction.  Jim Mackintosh represented himself as the landlord.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact Kathy Krach at 301-332-7891 or

East Frederick Rising: The Future of Modern Urban Renewal

Can the east side of Frederick become a Dutch wonderland on American soil?

During the summer of 2005, I had the opportunity to travel with my husband and children to Holland to visit extended family.  Prior to our trip, I read with trepidation that the Netherlands is the most densely populated country in the European Union.  I pictured my small children being swept out of my hands and into Amsterdam hash bars on a tide of boisterous crowds rivaling Times Square on Thanksgiving weekend.

I was way off base, as it turns out–about the crowds and the hash bars–because the Dutch are masterminds at urban planning and engineering.

The streets of Amsterdam were bustling and alive, but not crowded.  In the nearby suburb of Wassenaar–where my brother-in-law lived with his family–it was a 30-minute stroll from the center of the charming village square through suburban neighborhoods to the farms that ringed the outskirts of the community.  We spent a sunny August afternoon on a pristine beach just a 20-minute bike ride from his home–again, busy and lively, but not unpleasantly crowded.

Best of all, it is possible to travel to just about anywhere in the Netherlands by way of bicycle on dedicated bike paths criss-crossing the entire country.  Perhaps as a result of the heavy dependency of the Dutch on bicycle travel, obesity did not appear to me to be a problem there (this despite the fact that most food groups in Holland are served fried into some sort of pancake).

I would never have guessed at any point during our all-too-brief time in the Netherlands that nearly 17 million people are crammed into such a tiny jewel-box of a country.  To this day, I have no idea where those millions of people were tucked away.  (I also had trouble spotting the very discreet Amsterdam “coffeeshops” until they were pointed out to me.)

My thoughts have returned to Holland many times as I’ve watched Frederick’s political pendulum swing back and forth between pro-growth and no-growth administrations.  In Amsterdam I saw proof positive of an existence that allows for the best of both worlds:  a vital and breathtakingly beautiful urban city community, surrounded by bucolic villages and farms.  An existence with room for all kinds of people living in all kinds of environments supporting all kinds of lifestyles.

I have a tendency to become enchanted abroad, so this Utopic vision of Dutch life is no doubt partially a result of travel-dazzle and jet lag, but only partially.  If the Dutch can create such beautiful clean-living harmony for millions of people on so few square miles of land (land that they largely artificially engineered out of reclaimed river delta) why can’t we create something similar here in Frederick?

Frederick may have a chance to do exactly that with East Frederick Rising, a 2,000 acre mixed-use smart growth project located between Carroll Creek Linear Park and Frederick’s expanding airport just west of the Monocacy River.  Billed as “Mid-Maryland’s Economic Hub for the 21st Century,” this project is planned to marry the walkability of Frederick’s historic downtown with modern technologies and sustainable methodologies to create a community very unlike typical suburban developments.

East Frederick Rising is the next natural step in building on what was begun with Carroll Creek Linear Park, a beautiful destination born of Ron Young’s determination and indomitable will to solve the problem of recurrent flooding in the city and at the same time create a park drawing locals and tourists alike.

It may seem counter-intuitive for a city the size of Frederick to undertake a project of such substantial scope in a lackluster economy.  However, the stars are aligning in a manner that suggests this project is entirely feasible:

  • Millenials: East Frederick Rising dovetails perfectly with the zeitgeist of the millennial generation:  urban living in walkable, vital communities served by public transit, rich in restaurants and cultural activities, and surrounded by environments that support active lifestyles.
  • Political Will:  Smart Growth is here to stay, and East Frederick Rising could potentially be a marquee project setting the bar for sustainable development in Maryland going forward.
  • Location: Frederick is well within commuting distance of Baltimore and D.C. and airports serving both, and 2,000 acres is a massive tract of land for an urban renewal project.
  • Capacity: We’ve had conversations at MacRo with several regional developers (all deep of pocket and rich in experience) who are enthralled with the character and charm of downtown Frederick and chomping at the bit to develop innovative mixed-use multifamily projects here.  Without exception, they would all like to see a high-end grocery store located in the east end first, but that may be putting the cart before the horse.
  • Jobs potential: The Frederick region has long been nurtured as an incubator for the bio tech industry, and with our highly education population has the potential to become a hot-bed of start ups and entrepreneurs.

Combine developer money, TIF financing, political clout, cultural shifts to urban living, a charming historic town in a highly-desired location, and steady job growth…and what do you get? A sweet spot where the impossible begins to seem possible.

The Urban Land Institute conducted a workshop to develop recommendations for implementing the vision of the project, and presented its findings to the City of Frederick yesterday.  Judging by the comments of aldermen and the public alike, most saw the potential in the project, and understood the importance in having a vision and a plan to ensure that the fate of east Frederick isn’t left to the vagaries of market forces.

It goes without saying, East Frederick Rising will need a stalwart champion (or champions) with the vision, determination, patience, and clout of the Carroll Creek Linear Park advocates lead by Ron Young decades ago.  And of course, this is a project that will also take decades–perhaps as many as five of them–to come to full fruition.

If executed true to the vision, East Frederick Rising has the potential to be an astounding mixed-use community that rivals anything Maryland has ever seen:  a modern marvel in urban renewal that compliments and co-exists intimately with Frederick’s historic heritage and is locally sustained by its rich agricultural assets.

It’s enough to make even the Dutch a little envious.

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo.  Thanks to this post, she’s been afflicted with a strong hankering for international travel.

City Economic Development Advisory Council Formed

Can 16 members of the Frederick community provide BOLD ideas to enhance and attract more businesses to the City?  

It was early May of this year that I received an email from Richard G. Griffin, Director of Economic Development for The City of Frederick. 

The message was to inform me that Mayor Randy McClement was going to “appoint a 16-member Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC) for the City of Frederick composed of business owners/representatives, developers, and commercial brokers,” and I was identified “as an individual whom he would like to serve on the Council.”

The goal of this new entity is provide “advice and specific recommendations to help ensure that the City of Frederick, both today and into the future, is the preferred community in the Baltimore Washington region for attracting private business investment, jobs, and economic opportunity.”

Of course I was honored to be asked and very willing to serve.  I was also very impressed by the others who accepted the Mayor’s invitation.

It is hoped that this crew of “EDAC-ers” will be able to provide advice and recommendations to the Department of Economic Development and city elected officials regarding the development of:

> Sound regulatory policies affecting business and industry

> Annual economic development work program and budget

> Business development incentives

> Evaluation methodology to determine efficacy of economic development program

> Special issues/projects assigned by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen

> Community education on economic and business development topics

The first meeting was held on Monday, June 30, 2014.  It was and will continue to be open to the public.

City Alderman Josh Bokee was introduced by the Mayor to provide and overview of the City’s hopes for the council.  Bokee stated that he seeks BOLD ideas for the group to increase what many may believe is an already vibrant economy.

Richard Griffin and his staff outlined a detailed overview of the many positives that they have found draw new business to the City, as well as a number of real and perceived impediments to business development.

Issues like the fact that real property taxes are costing city owners up to $2.00 more per square foot than similar buildings located outside the city limits in the county.  The City also has a business personal property tax, while the county does not.

Traffic congestion, lack of transit options, the City’s zoning ordinance, and its seemingly cumbersome development review process were also listed, among other things.

Clearly the City of Frederick has many attributes that have caused any number of businesses to relocate within its boundaries.

Consider Leidos Biomedical (formerly SAIC-F), Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, State Farm Insurance and AstraZeneca (formerly MedImmune) to name a few.  But as the national economy has struggled to recover, many of our neighboring jurisdictions on Maryland’s outskirts have ramped up their efforts to attract business to their door steps.

Having recently served on the Economic Development Task Force in 2012 and 2013 that was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners with similar goals, it will be interesting to see how BOLD this City version is willing to be … or maybe the question will be how far the Mayor will let these EDAC-ers go?

Stay tuned … this could be fun!

The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades.  He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012, to name a few.  

Corporate Franchise Purchases Boost Frederick’s 1st Quarter Retail Property Sales

7-Eleven purchased two local convenience stores last quarter, nearly doubling dollar volume of sales in the commercial retail segment.

As far as my kids were concerned, the big news in Frederick’s commercial retail segment last quarter was Sonic purchasing a 1-acre retail pad near Walmart on Guilford Drive for $790,000 and opening the county’s first Sonic restaurant.  We have yet to try it because the line at the drive-through always seems to be wrapped around the building at lunch time on the weekends.  Now that school is out, maybe we’ll have our chance.

Frederick’s retail segment was a mixed bag of results during the first quarter.  Fewer square feet of retail space sold, but at a much higher dollar volume.  The doubling of dollar volume sales was due to 7-Eleven Inc. purchasing two local convenience stores in Libertytown and Thurmont for $1,220,639 ($541.30/SF) and $1,245,808 ($562.70/SF), respectively.  Convenience stores (particularly those with gas stations) tend to sell at a generous price per square foot, so these two purchases also bumped up the median price per square foot for the entire segment last quarter as compared to the first quarter of 2013.

Frederick’s retail leasing market had a lackluster first quarter in terms of the number of transactions and square footage leased, much like the same time period last year, and not unexpected given the first quarter contraction of the economy:

The good news in local retail leasing is that vacancy rates are holding below 5% on average.  New retail pads near  Wegmans and Francis Scott Key Mall have leased up fairly quickly, at rates between $30-35 per square foot before expenses.  Prime retail spaces in the heart of Frederick’s downtown historic district are hard to come by, and if the past few lease deals are any indication, average retail lease rates in that area are creeping up  into the mid teens to high teens per square foot, before expenses.

Note: Statistics provided for commercial property sales in this report are based on thorough research of every recorded commercial sales transaction listed in SDAT for the first quarter of 2014, and are deemed reliable.  Lease transactions are not recorded with Frederick county government.  Lease rates for this report were researched in CoStar.  Lease rates, if reported at all, are usually estimated.  Median lease rate calculations for the quarter are based upon available estimates and are meant to be used as a baseline trend versus hard data.  

The author:  Kathy Krach is a commercial sales and leasing agent with MacRo.

MacRo Sells 3.49 Acre Lot at the Manor at Holly Hills

MacRo, Ltd. is pleased to announce the sale of lot 305 at the Manor at Holly Hills.  This 3.49 acre lot is on a private setting at the end of the cul-de-sac nestled in a clearing surrounded by trees.  The property is located at 9737 Ormonds Terrace, Ijamsville, MD 21754.

The sale closed on June 21, 2014.

The Manor at com/3JfiqSLdEF justin bieber new movie is single-handedly bringing the Canadian niceness average down to American levels. Holly Hills is a one-of-kind community situated on 185 idyllic acres just east of Frederick City.  Careful planning went into preserving the beautiful organic features of the land, including rugged rock outcroppings, rolling hillsides, and mature forests.

Rocky Mackintosh, President of MacRo, Ltd., represented the seller, the Manor at Holly Hills, LLC and Gerly Oden of Long & Foster Real Estate represented the Buyer.

For more information on how MacRo, Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage Services may be able to assist you in the sale or acquisition of land, and/or the sale or leasing of your commercial or industrial property, contact Rocky Mackintosh at 301-748-5655 or

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