Architects and interior designers who have lost their jobs as a result of the current economic downturn have been offered free space to set up their own offices at the Baltimore Design Resource Center, a recently opened complex of design-related businesses and services.
"For approximately the next six to eight months we are offering qualified professionals who have been recently laid off all of the tools needed to operate, at no cost to them," said Gus Diakoulas, developer and co-owner of the design center. "We hope this will give the architects and designers enough time to get back on their feet and establish themselves on their own."
Under Mr. Diakoulas' plan, 9,000 square feet of space will be available to house up to 60 architects and designers when renovation of the center, at 200 West North Avenue, is complete in mid-February.
To be eligible for office space, architects and designers must have been laid off within the last six months, must have a letter of recommendation from their previous employers and a subcontractor or manufacturer, and must have at least three years of professional experience.
They also must have a degree in interior design or architecture and must have a portfolio to display in the center.
Mr. Diakoulas said the 9,000 square feet represent about 15 percent of the total amount of space in the center. The rest is being leased to a mixture of contractors, crafts people, retailers and others. The building also contains a large resource library, work rooms and conference rooms available for use by all of the tenants.
"We are looking for a way to support the design industry during these tough economic times and decided to donate our services and remaining space in order to keep good designers working," Mr. Diakoulas said.
Future plans include creating an outplacement service that would be sponsored by corporations that have an interest in supporting the design industry, he said. The design center is also seeking corporate assistance in the form of donations of office furnishings, computers and other items, and financial support for the outplacement service.
Local designer Joyce Griffith and businessman John Diakoulas are also partners in the design center, which opened last April. Current tenants include Acropolis Painting and Wallcoverings, Amos Cabinetry, Art Showcase, Designer Drapery Manufacturers, Francis Wade Custom Carpeting, Hombelmann International, Image Factory, Marbella Marble and Tile Showroom, Port City Lighting and Vertical Visions, a window treatment company.
The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors has launched a real estate school and is offering real estate licensing and appraisal courses.
"The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors School of Real Estate Inc. will fill a need for both the real estate industry and the public," said Brandon F. Gaines, board president. "Since the GBBR has access to the top real estate professionals, we will utilize these professionals as instructors and guest lecturers on special topics such as professional standards, ethics, legislation and other subjects."
The first real estate licensing classes began Jan. 28. Starting this month, the GBBR School of Real Estate Inc. and the Maryland chapter of the Appraisal Institute will offer appraisal courses that will fulfill the new state requirements for licensure and certification of real estate appraisers.
The joint venture with the appraisers will give the GBBR School the capability to offer the best appraisal courses available, using exceptionally qualified instructors, said Fletcher Hall, GBBR executive vice president. "These appraisal courses will provide an opportunity for the entire real estate appraisal industry to obtain the required licenses and certifications locally at very competitive course prices."
All courses will be taught at the board's headquarters, 1501 West Mount Royal Avenue. Registrations can be made through Deborah O'Loughlin at 462-2500.
The Resolution Trust Corporation, which is responsible for the sale, leasing and management of homes attained by the federal government as a result of failures of savings and loan organizations, has named Coldwell Banker Property Management a registered property management and leasing contractor for single-family homes.
"Charlie Miller, director of property management for Coldwell Banker's Baltimore-Washington division, was named as the official leasing and property management agent. He said he is pleased with the appointment and anticipates "a substantial increase in our business" as a result.
The Maryland Improvement Contractors Association will sponsor a one-day trade show for licensed home improvement contractors at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium from noon to 7 p.m. on February 10.
More than 2,500 contractors from throughout Maryland are expected to attend the trade show, which will feature eight seminars for contractors on various business topics as well a bull and oyster roast. More than 100 suppliers will display products and services.