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Myth & Moonshine owners eyeing second location in Fells

The owners of Canton’s Myth & Moonshine are expanding, with plans to open a second bar in Fells Point and an upstairs dive bar at its current location.
 
Owners Shanna Cooper and fiancé Jake Millisock are negotiating their lease in Fells and expect it to open by May, Cooper says. Called Myth II Moonshine, Cooper describes the new business as a “corner satellite dive bar.”
 
The year-old Canton bar specializes in Cajun food and, of course, various types of moonshine. Cooper couldn’t divulge the Fells location yet as the owners are still in negotiations.
 
“We think it’s going to be great for people who want some late food that’s not pizza.”
 
The Fells Point bar will serve many of the same appetizers, sandwiches and desserts as the existing restaurant. It will also serve loaded baked potatoes and hotdogs, similar to what it has in store for Canton.
 
By Valentine’s Day, the second floor of Myth and Moonshine will house a dive bar featuring a hot dog and baked potato station with 30 toppings. It will offer the usual condiments, plus more unusual ones like gumbo or ham and cheese. Toppings will cost 50 cents each and a loaded hot dog or baked potato will run between $4 and $8. Cooper says she hopes the hot dog and baked potato bar will help it attract a lunch crowd.
 
Cooper describes the upstairs as a “rustic moonshine shack,” with industrial piping and four fireplaces. “It’s almost like hanging out in a basement of a house.”
 
The restaurant carries 75 types of moonshine and will up that number to about 100 by the end of February. Its menu items include shrimp and grits, jambalaya, ribs and deviled eggs. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Shanna Cooper

Farmstead Grill owners target May opening in Canton Crossing

Canton Crossing’s new farm-to-table restaurant Farmstead Grill and its companion kiosk Farmstead Shack will likely open in May, Executive Chef and Chief Operating Officer Galen Sampson says.
 
Selling takeaway items, Farmstead Shack will open later than the 200-seat restaurant. Sampson says it will be sometime after Mother's Day.
 
The venture is led by Charles Nasbit, the owner of the two-year-old Waterfront Kitchen in Fells Point. The restaurant and shack will rely on local farms for its meat and produce and aims to serve “creative, chef-driven cuisines” at a lower price point, says Sampson, the former chef and owner of the Dogwood in Hampden.
 
Entrees will cost between $16 and $25. Diners wanting to spend less can get small plates, salads and appetizers for under $16, Sampson says.
 
Architect Brown Craig Turner Inc. has designed the casual fine dining restaurant like a barn with exposed wooden beams lots of light and an all-glass front. It looks out over a park, across from Farmstead Shack.
 
The restaurant and kiosk will join Target, Michael’s, Mission BBQ, Samos and a slew of other shops and restaurants at the Canton development. A Harris Teeter will join Canton Crossing later this year. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Galen Sampson

National Aquarium in Baltimore hires architect as it plots real estate moves

Leaders at the National Aquarium in Baltimore are weighing upgrades to its Inner Harbor building, moving its Fells Point animal rescue facility and changes to its dolphin exhibit that will enhance its conservation mission.

The aquarium has hired Studio Gangs Architects and Impacts Research & Development LLC to prepare a report by the spring that will lay out its strategic planning initiative, says Eric Schwaab, the aquarium’s chief conservation officer. 

“A big part of the effort will involve significant outreach to other partners and stakeholders in the community,” Schwaab says. 

In addition to its tourist attraction at the Inner Harbor, the aquarium operates an 11-acre property and former brownfields site located along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River. It was set to become a $50 million development with classroom space and a new animal care facility, known as the Center for Aquatic Life and Conservation. Those plans stalled during the economic downturn as fundraising became a challenge. The report will help aquarium staff determine what is the best use of the site going forward.

The aquarium is considering moving its animal rescue facility in Fells Point to a more visible spot near its main Inner Harbor attraction. 

“From a business perspective and logistically, we would love to move it closer" to the main building, Schwaab says. That would make it easier to move animals from the main building to the animal care facility. 

Alternatively, it could move its animal care facility to its South Baltimore property, something it has considered in the past, Schwaab says. 

The aquarium is also evaluating whether to enhance its Dolphin Discovery experience and upgrade the building that houses it. The current exhibit allows visitors to interact with dolphin trainers. “We’ve moved away from shows that are pure entertainment” to ones that focus on research and education, Schwaab says.
 
In August, the aquarium debuted its $12.5 million Blacktip Reef exhibit. It recently closed its D.C. location, but says it is still committed to having a presence again someday in the nation’s capital. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Eric Schwaab, National Aquarium

Developer turning vacant Fells Point police station into 47-unit apartment building

Fells Point Station, a 47-unit apartment building located partially in a former police station, will open in November. The Henson Development Co. is the builder of the $13 million project, located at the corner of Bank and Broadway and managed by Mission First Housing Development Corp. in Washington, D.C., Henson's development partner.

Henson is offering one- and two-bedroom units, 3,000 square feet of retail space and 31 parking spaces in the 53,000-square-foot building. Because of the financing arrangements, 34 of the 47 units are designated for tax credit assistance for those earning between 30 to 60 percent of the area median income. This number for AMI fluctuates yearly.  The remaining units will be rented at market rate, of around $950 to $1,350, Henson Co. Vice President Dana Henson says.  

The apartment complex at 1621 Bank St. consists of the original 16,000-square-foot city police station and a new, 37,000-square-foot building that was constructed on an adjacent surface parking lot. The three- and four-story buildings are separate but a glass and aluminum exterior entry connects the two.  
 
Henson bought both the long-vacant police station and parking lot from the city in 2009 for $584,300, according to state property records. The property is valued today at about $739,000. At the time of purchase, the station was in disrepair and water damaged. The police station was listed on the National Historic Register and that required leaving the façade intact. The interior was gutted and some of the original design elements were used in the new building. The exterior of the new building matches the original station.
 
“We used historical photographs for reference,” says Henson. “The window frames, the brick – externally it looks like the historical building.”

The project is being financed by Capital One, Hudson Housing Capital, National Park Service Historical Tax Service, Maryland housing and community development department tax credits and the city's housing department.
 
Henson says the company did several market studies to determine the need for rental units in the area.
 
“This was a vacant building in Fells Point and there is so much development going on in Fells Point. It’s a bustling economy," she says, pointing to the Marketplace at Fells Point retail and residential complex as an example. "We wanted to give the community a building they could be proud of." 
 
Source: Dana Henson, The Henson Development Co.
Writer: Barbara Pash

Chesapeake Real Estate to lead $4.2M renovation and expansion of Broadway Market in Fells

The operator of the Broadway Market has tapped Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC as the lead developer for a $4.2 million renovation and expansion of one of the historic neighborhood’s key attractions.
 
Construction will begin in September on a new, 4,295-square-foot building at the market’s south end in what is now a parking lot. At that time, Chesapeake Real Estate will also begin renovating the 6,500-square-foot building on the north side of the market and lease the mostly empty building. The project will wrap up summer of 2014, says Chesapeake Real Estate Partner Richard Manekin.
 
The company is talking to prospective fast casual restaurant owners and food vendors about leasing space and expects to finalize deals within the next four to five months, Manekin says.
 
The Baltimore Public Markets Corp. is a nonprofit that operates and leases food markets from Baltimore City. But under the new agreement with Chesapeake, the real estate firm will sublease Broadway Market and pay the nonprofit a portion of its revenues. Chesapeake signed a 40-year sublease with a 25-year option for renewal. The Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved the deal earlier this month.
 
The Broadway Market expansion and renovation was originally part of the massive Marketplace at Fells Point development until last year. That’s when Massachusetts firm the Dolben Co. acquired the rights to lead the construction of the new apartments and retail from Dave Holmes of South Broadway Properties LLC. Holmes remains a partner and investor in the Broadway Market makeover, though he is not the lead developer.
 
Holmes says he partnered with Chesapeake because he didn’t want the already delayed project to stall any longer.
 
Casper Genco, executive director of the Baltimore Public Markets, says he thought it made sense to choose a developer that could invest in the market so it can keep pace with Marketplace at Fells. Dolben is readying the first phase of retail and apartments for completion next summer.

“The Baltimore Public Markets doesn’t have the resources to do that,” Genco says of the Broadway Market renovation and expansion. 

Chesapeake Real Estate has leased the Bagby Building, Canton Crossing and other developments.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Casper Genco, Baltimore Public Markets; Richard Manekin, Chesapeake Real Estate; Dave Holmes, South Broadway Properties LLC 
 


Admiral's Cup expanding to include rooftop bar

The Admiral’s Cup Restaurant & Bar is expanding to include the second and third floors of the Fells Point building as Kali’s Restaurant Group continues its renovation of the property.

The expansion will give the restaurant a rooftop deck and wrap up in summer of 2014, adding 2,000 square feet and space for another 200 guests, says Admiral’s Cup General Manager Kenneth Petty. The current 1,250-square-foot restaurant holds can accommodate 110.

The restaurant group is adding a different concept on the upper floors to go along with the restaurant’s rustic nautical theme, says Petty, who is also a partner at Kali’s. He declined to divulge all of the details until all the partners are ready to disclose the information later this year.

The restaurant will continue to offer its “upscale casual” pub menu that is seafood-heavy, with dishes like Maryland crab soup, crab cakes and broiled salmon.

With waterfront views from all of its windows, the building has potential to bring in more business, Petty says. “This corner is a marquee property in Fells Point,” Petty says.

Kali’s bought the Admiral’s Cup in 2010 for $2 million and has spent more than $1 million on renovations. It hired Baltimore design firm Rita St. Clair to redo the interior, which features tin ceilings, restored hardwood floors and flat-screen TVs.

Kali’s owns Tapas Adela, Kali’s Court and Mezze in Fells Point. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Kenneth Petty, Admiral's Cup

Developer planning 25 townhomes in former Brewers Hill Natty Boh warehouse

Bel Air developer Stonington Partners is planning 25 new townhomes in a former Natty Boh warehouse in Brewers Hill.
 
Demolition of the warehouse between South Eaton and Fagley streets will begin early next year and construction on Merchant Hill homes will begin shortly thereafter. The Merchant townhomes feature an open-floor plan and industrial look.
 
The homes, with an average of 2,300 square feet and prices starting at $500,000, will be move in ready by late 2014, says ReMax Preferred Realtor Trent Waite, the agent for Merchant Hill. Waite says the development cost has not yet been determined. 
  
Merchant Hill joins two other Stonington residential developments in East Baltimore:
 
•  Merchant Point: The 17 townhomes in the 1700 block of Aliceanna Street in Fells Point will be ready at the end of August. Prices for the 2,600- to 3,200-square-foot homes start at $659,000. All homes have been sold.
 
•  Merchant Square: Work on the eight townhomes in the 100 block of South Ann Street in Fells Point will start late May and will be completed by the end of the year. Four homes are currently under contract. Prices start at $530,000, with an average square footage of 3,250.
 
While high-end rentals have been sprouting up around Fells Point and other downtown neighborhoods, like the $70 million Union Wharf apartments opening in May, buyers are “figuring out they’ve been paying $3,000 in rent when they can have $3,000 in equity,” Waite says.
 
Home prices in Baltimore City rose 26.4 percent in March, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems.
 
Waite says Stonington Partners has built a niche in developing custom look homes in urban neighborhoods.
 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Trent Waite, Realtor, ReMax Preferred
 

Fells Point architecture firm designing green roof for $10M Riverside Wharf project

Urban Design Group LLC  is going green for the Riverside Wharf project in South Baltimore. The sustainable architectural firm in Fells Point has designed a green roof for the building, the first project under Baltimore’s Key Highway South Urban Renewal Plan.

Urban Design Group is bringing sustainable measures to two other high-profile projects in Baltimore: the new Merchant Point townhomes in Fells Point and the renovation of the Inner Harbor's World Trade Center, which will be done this year.
 
Urban Design President Michael Burton says he expects the $10 million Riverside Wharf project to be done in 2014. Caves Valley Partners is developing the former industrial site located along Key Highway at Lawrence Street into a 100,000-square-foot, three-story building with parking garage.
 
On the main floor, Walgreens drugstore will occupy 14,000 square feet along with other retailers; the upper two floors have 31,000 square feet of office space; a parking garage accounts for the remaining space.

He says the green roof will enable the building to comply with Baltimore’s green building standards and the state’s storm water management regulations.
 
Passed by the City Council in 2007, green building standards apply to new and existing commercial and multi-family residences over 10,000 square feet.

For the almost 8,000-square-foot green roof, a layer of soil and plants that can withstand weather and wind is laid on top of a drainage system. “The building occupies an entire city block. You’ve got to find a way to deal with storm water management,” says Burton.

Merchant Point involves the conversion of a church into a private school and office space, an existing building into offices and 18 new rowhouses. Located at the intersection of South Ann and Aliceanna streets, the townhomes will be ready this summer and are sold out. Urban Design Group used sustainable construction material and created an urban garden to meet the city’s green building standards.
 
The Maryland Port Authority awarded a contract to Pepco Energy Services to install energy-efficiency measures in several buildings, including the 40-year-old, 30-story World Trade Center.
 
Urban Design Group designed a geothermal system for the building’s mechanical systems. The system pumps water from the Inner Harbor through the building’s mechanical systems. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and federal Environmental Protection Agency had to approve the design.
 
Burton founded Urban Design Group in 2009. In 2011, the company moved into the incubator, Emerging Technology Center at Canton. Last February, the company graduated from the incubator and moved to an office in Fells Point.
 
During its time in the incubator, revenue tripled to over $1 million in 2013 and the staff doubled to nine. Urban Design Group is looking to hire a project manager.
 
Source: Michael Burton, Urban Design Group
Writer: Barbara Pash; innovationnews@bmoremedia.com

Bozzuto's $70M Union Wharf apartments opening next month in Fells point

The developer of the $70 million Union Wharf apartments is hoping to attract tenants with the Fells Point building’s “South Beach” vibe when it opens next month.

The Bozzuto Group's 320,000-square-foot building at 915 S. Wolfe St. features 281 apartments and 12,000 square feet of common space, with a fitness center, bar, screening room, infinity pool and three courtyards. Union Wharf will also include a 4,400 square feet of retail space at the corner of Thames and Wolfe streets, which Bozzuto expects to lease to a restaurant.

 “We’ve modeled it close to the amenity spaces that surround a courtyard and the pool on resorts that we’ve seen in places like South Beach,” says Jeff Kayce, vice president of Bozzuto Development.

The market-rate apartments are a mix of studios, one, and two-bedroom units, starting at $1,610 for a studio and topping out at $3,125 for a two-bedroom and a den. About 40 apartments have been leased so far.

Bozzuto is targeting potential renters who are looking for “something unique in Fells Point, who like that neighborhood feel,” says Union Wharf Property Manager Blake Nicholson.

Demand for rentals in downtown neighborhoods remains very high. A 2012 report from the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. notes that occupancy remains “very strong,” at more than 96 percent. The Downtown Partnership’s Outlook 2017 report predicts that downtown could easily add nearly 6,000 new residential units over the next five years.

Union Wharf is just a few blocks east of Harbor Point, where nearly 2 million square feet of office, retail, restaurants, and hotels are being developed. The office space includes the future home of energy giant Exelon Corp.

Bozzuto expects Union Wharf will be certified LEED silver as it has Energy Star appliances, energy efficient windows, and 90 percent of the construction waste was recycled.

 “It is really an amenity for the neighborhood and an anchor for that corner of the building there,” says Kayce.

The space is being marketed by H&R Retail, with no confirmed tenant as of yet.

The site is redevelopment of a former industrial property, at various times it was a concrete plant, an oyster packing facility, and an ice house.

“It’s a trophy location, it’s on the water, it’ on a cobblestone street in the heart of Fells Point, so it has wonderful historical context,” Kayce says. “That’s obviously why we’re attracted to it.”
 
 
Writer: Amy Landsman; amy@bmoremedia.com
Sources: Jeff Kayce, Bozzuto Development vice president, and Blake Nicholson, Union Wharf property manager 

Dishcrawl eyes Hampden, Fells Point and Baltimore County for its next culinary adventure

Maybe you've tried bar-hopping, but what about restaurant-hopping? Dishcrawl, which launches in Baltimore this month, dubs itself as a “gastronomic adventure” and encourages guests to try a variety of foods in selected neighborhoods.

Baltimore’s first Dishcrawl will be held in Canton April 17, taking diners to four “secret” restaurants. Founder Tracy Lee says the company will expand the culinary social experience to Fells Point, Federal Hill, Charles Village and Hampden, though no events have been scheduled yet. If Baltimore City crawls are successful, Lee says she will consider expanding Dishcrawl to Baltimore County.  

Lee launched Dishcrawl in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010 as a way to share her favorite restaurants. Though it's now up and running in New York, Montreal, Ottawa, San Jose, Toronto, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., it wasn’t an instant success.

“In the beginning, it was really hard to figure out how to get the word out,” Lee says. “I would spend 20 hours promoting to get 20 people to an event.”

Lee turned to social media to help promote the crawls. She and her team, which includes ambassadors in each city, use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets to spread the word.

“I love Baltimore and the diverse food scene,” Lee says. “The community and coming together as a group of foodies is what makes Dishcrawl successful in cities.”

Curious as to which Canton restaurants will be included in the inaugural crawl? Keep an eye on Twitter, where the team will drop hints at @dishcrawlbal. Ticket holders will receive an email with the meeting location 48 hours prior to the crawl.   

The first three restaurants will feature one dish each and the the fourth will serve dessert. Chefs and restaurateurs will share stories, as well. Tickets cost $45, excluding alcohol.


Writer: Renee Libby Beck
Source: Tracy Lee, Dishcrawl 

Marketplace at Fells Point signs lease with neighborhood Main Street group

The developer of the Marketplace at Fells Point says that that the first phase of the $40 million apartment and shopping complex will be ready by the first quarter of 2014. It has also signed on Fells Point Main Street as a tenant.

Roughly half the retail and 59 apartments located east of Broadway will be completed at that time, says Dolben Co. Senior Vice President Drew Dolben. The completion of the remaining 100 apartments and 13,000 square feet of retail is still several years out, Dolben says.

Early 2014 is also when Dolben Co. will debut the renovated former Fells Point Comfort Station at 1630 Aliceanna St., which Dolben bought from the city in late 2011 for $275,000.

The former comfort station will house the new office of Fells Point Main Street, which signed a 10-year lease with Dolben. The nonprofit, which promotes the neighborhood’s historic district, will move from its current location at be located on the second floor. The first floor will house a fitness center for the apartment residents.

Dolben says it is wrapping up the foundation work along the 600 block of Broadway and building a new structure behind of the facades.

The idea is to construct a modern building while retaining the historical details. Dolben says he is now wrapping up the foundation work.

“When you walk down Broadway, you’ll think it’s been there for 100 years,” Dolben says.

Based in Massachusetts, Dolben has a regional office in Anne Arundel County’s Odenton. Dolben acquired the rights to develop the apartment and retail portion of the Marketplace at Fells in December 2011 from South Broadway Properties LLC’s Dave Holmes. South Broadway is still leading the $5 million renovation of the Broadway Market. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Drew Dolben, Dolben Co. 

Kilwins ice cream and dessert shop opening in Fells

Life is hectic but sweet for an Anne Arundel county couple opening Kilwins ice cream and dessert shop franchises in Fells Point and Anne Arundel County’s Crofton.

Dave and Karen Gilmore will open the 1,500-square-foot Fells Point shop in May at 1625 Thames St. Located at the former site of children’s clothing boutique the Corduroy Button, the 20-person shop will sell fresh chocolates, chocolate-dipped apples, fudge and ice cream. The Corduroy Button, an upscale children’s clothing store, has moved a few doors down to 1636 Thomas Street.

Karen Gilmore says the Fells Point store, which will be next to aMuse toys, should appeal to both families and tourists.

Just under 1,300 square feet, the Crofton location will employ between as many as 20 when it opens in April.

“The point of going to a Kilwins store is really to experience with all your five senses, with the sights of products being made in the store,” Gilmore says.

Michigan-based Kilwins has been expanding in recent years, and now has more than 80 stores. Its one Maryland store is in Annapolis, though some locals may be familiar with the shop from their vacations in Florida or Rehoboth Beach, Del.

“We weren’t worried about people not knowing the brand, and the quality of the product,” Gilmore says. “I’d say about three-quarters of the people we’ve talked with either already know about it, or are really excited about the fact that there will be one in their neighborhood.”

Opening a Kilwins' franchise costs $40,000 for the initial franchise fee. Equipment, promotions, real estate and other expenses can run nearly $500,000.
 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Karen Gilmore, co-owner Kilwins in Fells Point and Waugh Chapel

ETC scouts Station North, UMB BioPark for new location

The head of the Emerging Technology Center in Canton says she is eyeing the Station North Arts & Entertainment District and the BioPark at the University of Maryland, Baltimore among possible locations when the incubator's Canton lease is up in October.

Several growing firms have moved out of the ETC's Canton location recently to bigger offices and some where prompted by the fact that the incubator's future in Canton is uncertain.

Deborah Tillett, executive director of the Emerging Technology Centers, says the ETC is in talks with landlords in both locations.

“There’s a lot going on in both of those places,” says Tillett, who described the areas as “exciting and vibrant” with a “lot going on.”

The Station North area is attracting investment from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a number of private developers. Located on the city's west side, the UMB BioPark's tenants include Noxilizer, Gliknik and PathSensors. In conjunction with Advanced Particle Therapy LLC of San Diego, the biopark is building a $200 million proton treatment cancer center.

Tillet says that she isn’t ruling out staying in its current home, the retail and office complex known as the Can Company where the ETC has about 40,000 square feet. Also on the table is moving to the ETC’s other location @ Johns Hopkins Eastern on 33rd Street.

“We’ve taken a look all over the city,” Tillett says. “We’re exploring all kinds of options. I do need to keep my options open.”

Operated by the Baltimore Development Corp., the ETC’s tenants include early-stage tech, biotech, engineering and design companies. Storyfarm New Media LLC, Urban Design Group LLC and Localist recently moved out of the ETC’s Canton location. Groove Commerce is moving to a 10,000-square-foot space in the Fallsway Spring building.

Video production company Storyfarm moved this month to a 1,500-square-foot office at 1909 Thames St. in Fells Point. Storyfarm was lured by the waterfront location and a chance to split an office with architecture firm Urban Design Group, says Storyfarm Partner Dan Gerlach. The company, whose clients include T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Exxon Mobil, employs seven. It will hire a video editor, cinematographer and office coordinator over the next several months.
 
Last month, Localist moved to a 1,500-square-foot office in Canton’s the Broom Factory, at 3500 Boston St. The company, which provides a customizable online calendar for universities, needed more space, CEO Mykel Nahorniak says. Localist employs six and is hiring a developer and someone to run customer service. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Deborah Tillett, ETC; Dan Gerlach, Storyfarm; Mykel Nahorniak, Localist 

New restaurant and market coming to Union Wharf in Fells Point

The owners of popular Canton eatery Fork & Wrench are opening their second restaurant and a market inside the swanky new Fells Point apartment complex Union Wharf this spring.
 
About one-third of the 4,350-square-foot space will be dedicated to a market selling produce, meat and prepared foods, Co-owner Andy Gruver says. Work on the 140-seat restaurant and market will begin in a few weeks, once the owners get the necessary permits.
 
Gruver estimates that the investment in the new business will total $600,000 to $800,000. The restaurant will employ around 30.

Gruver and partner Jason Sanchez are building the restaurant themselves and relying on recycled materials, like its sister property on Boston Street. The new restaurant will serve locally sourced food, but other details, including the chef and menu, are still being worked out. Fork & Wrench is known for its farm-to-table menu, hand-crafted cocktails and an interior that evokes the working classes of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. 
 
Fork and Wrench owners had been looking for spot for a second restaurant for some time. The owners decided that the space at the 281-unit at Union Wharf presented the best opportunity since potential diners live right in the building and in several other apartment buildings nearby.
 
The first phase of the apartment building is fully leased and residents will soon begin moving into the building’s second phase, which includes the units that jut out into the water. That’s according to Jeff Kayce, vice president of Bozzuto Group, the building’s developer. The average monthly rent at Union Wharf is $2,350.
 
The building’s amenities include a fitness center, conference room and an infinity pool. The developers were going for a South Beach, Miami vibe with the property.

The restaurant's Executive Chef Cyrus Keefer will create his Charm City Common Dinner at the James Beard House Monday Feb. 24. The restaurant will offer a sneak peek of the James Beard dinner in Baltimore on January 28. Call the restaurant for tickets. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Andy Gruver, Fork & Wrench; Jeff Kayce, Bozzuto Group

Jewish Community Center Opening Federal Hill Branch

The Jewish Community Center of Baltimore is branching out to downtown Baltimore, opening a Federal Hill branch just for parents and kids. Opening Jan. 14, the center fills the void for city families who have long been frustrated by the lack of children’s gyms and other fun places for preschoolers’ downtown.

The JCC has leased 2,000 square-feet at 1118 Light St., between West and Cross Streets. The former office space will feature a drop-in playroom, a play area, a nursing room and a room that parents can rent for birthday parties.

 “We’ll have age appropriate toys and a clean, comfortable space that parents can come and have their kids play,” says JCC Family Program Coordinator Kim Jacobsohn. “Our goal is to create communities for families to connect with each other,” Jacobson says. “I’m very excited to finally be giving birth to this new project.”

The downtown branch joins the JCC’s two existing campuses in Park Heights and Owings Mills, both of which feature full-service fitness facilities and programing for all ages.

For the past five years or so, the JCC has been offering family programming in borrowed locations in Fells Point, Canton, and Federal Hill, and has long wanted a permanent place to call home.

“We decided to go to Federal Hill because we realized in Federal Hill there’s more likely to be a stay-at-home parent, or a parent who’s working from home, than other neighborhoods in downtown,” Jacobsohn says.

The first floor space is stroller accessible and members can park in a lot behind the building. Jacobsohn and a part-time program facilitator will staff the new facility.

The drop-in rate is $5 per child up to three times, after that, families are asked to join the Downtown JCC. The introductory membership rate is $50 a year.

The JCC is an educational, cultural and recreational agency. You do not have to be Jewish to become a member or sign up for a class.

The JCC will continue to offer its Hello Baby class for parents of newborns, and Infant Massage, in Fells Point and Canton. Other parent-child classes for babies and toddlers will move to the new location in Federal Hill.
 
Source: Kim Jacobsohn, JCC Family Program Coordinator
Reporter: Amy Landsman, landlink1@verizon.net
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