Costar Group Recognizes MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services with “Impact Award Lease of The Year”

Firm brokers 55,000 square foot lease with North American Trade Schools at 230,000 square foot Northwest Plaza shopping center in Baltimore City        

CoStar Group has recognized MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, LLC with its “Impact Award Lease of the Year” for brokering a 55,000 square foot lease with North American Trade Schools (NATS) at Northwest Plaza in Baltimore City. The trade school, formerly located within Security Square Mall in Baltimore County, revealed its intentions last fall to relocate to the 230,000 square foot shopping center owned and managed by Klein Enterprises. MacKenzie’s Senior Vice President and Principals Andrew Meeder and Mike Ruocco represented the tenant, and Patricia Palumbo and Paul Weinberg, at Klein Enterprises represented the landlord in this transaction.

CoStar Group, a company which provides information, analytics, and marketing services to the commercial real estate sector, awards five Impact Awards per market each year. Commercial real estate transactions are highlighted, according to CoStar, that transform their markets over the past year and are chosen by independent panels of industry professionals who work in the markets they judge. At the time of the transaction, the NATS lease was the largest retail lease executed in Baltimore City in 2023 and the second largest lease completed in the greater Baltimore metropolitan region.

According to CoStar, “the school will now only occupy space left vacant by the departure of a Kmart department store, it will bring services to a part of the city in need of educational opportunities.” The transaction filled an open space and filled a higher need and, “that double bottom line is why the lease is being recognized for a CoStar Impact Award,” says the company.

One judge stated, “the move from Baltimore County to Baltimore City brings educational services closer to the population where it is needed and likely to benefit the greatest. Also, any net, new leasing in Baltimore should be recognized as the city continues to lose business to the suburbs.”

At the time of the transaction, MacKenzie’s Mike Ruocco stated “the decision by North American Trade Schools to relocate from Baltimore County is significant as it signals the renewed confidence being shown in Baltimore City and is reflective of its upwards trajectory. We continue to see an uptick in activity for select retail space in different categories throughout the local market, with interest focused on high-profile retail centers and mixed-use projects offering immediate access to established and growing amenity bases and demographics.”

Founded in 1971, NATS offers comprehensive education in air conditioning, electrical, diesel, heating, refrigeration, and ventilation technology, as well as programs in industrial maintenance, trucking, and welding. The school provides job placement services, with graduates moving onto jobs working in the building maintenance, commercial truck driving, and industrial maintenance industries among others. NATS is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. After beginning operations in a 500 square foot facility in Landover, with an initial mission to train diesel mechanics, the school steadily grew before leasing space in the former Sears anchor store at Security Square Mall.

MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services is the real estate brokerage arm of The MacKenzie Companies, which operates six full-service divisions addressing all real estate asset classes including MacKenzie Management Company, LLC, MacKenzie Contracting Company, LLC, MacKenzie Capital, LLC, MacKenzie Investment Group, LLC and MacKenzie Multifamily Management, LLC. The company provides customized real estate solutions for institutional owners, investors, private companies, and individuals. For additional information, visit