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Nonprofit rehabbing rowhomes near Penn Station for affordable housing

Empire Homes of Maryland has bought six rowhouses in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District that it will renovate and turn into affordable, one-bedroom apartments for the disabled.

The $3.3 million project in the 1600, 1700 and 1800 blocks of North Calvert Street will result in 18 apartments when its completed this summer. Construction will begin in January.

The Baltimore City Housing Authority owned the vacant rowhouses that are spread throughout the project site. Empire Homes, a non-profit developer and property manager of affordable housing headquartered on North Charles Street, bought the rowhouses at a cost of about $10,000 each, according to president and CEO T.F. Burden.
 
“Because they are public housing properties, they can only be used for that purpose," Buden says. "They can’t be rehabbed and sold for market rate or turned into single-family housing.”
 
The rowhouses are located near Amtrak’s Pennsylvania Station and Baltimore School of Design, a public high school.
 
Each of the six rowhouses will contain three units. Rent will cost about $650 per month, with the tenant paying a maximum of 30 percent of his or her income. The city and Innovative Housing Institute, a downtown nonprofit, will choose tenants from the city’s housing choice voucher wait list.
 
Empire Homes obtained funding from several sources for the project, including $1.8 million from the state, $700,000 from the city, $300,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank and $300,000 from bank financing.
 
Last July, Empire Homes opened another affordable rental project in Station North. The Lillian Jones Apartments, at 1303 Greenmount Ave., were constructed on a vacant lot. The four-story, 74-unit building has one- , two- and three-bedroom apartments. Empire Homes and city real estate developer the French Development Company partnered on the $16.1 million project.
 
Source: T.F. Burden, Empire Homes of Maryland
Writer: Barbara Pash at bpash@comcast.net
 

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

Morgan State plots $149 million campus expansion

Morgan State University is undergoing a major expansion of its campus in northeast Baltimore, on property it owns at Hillen Road and Argonne Drive. The new west campus will contain the long-awaited Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management, opening in 2015, and the Behavioral and Social Sciences Center, to open in 2017. Together, the two buildings cost around $149 million.
 
An undetermined amount of funding is being sought for a third building and parking garage on the site, according to Cynthia Wilder, a Morgan State planner. Morgan State owns more than 170 acres, of which 143 acres constitute the main campus for its approximately 8,000 students.

The expansion is taking place on nine Morgan State-owned acres on the west side of the main campus. Part of the property is occupied by the Northwood Shopping Center, although Wilder didn’t have an acreage breakdown. The shopping center will remain and the Morgan State buildings will be built next to it. A bridge across Argonne Drive will connect the West Campus to the main campus.
 
“The main campus is filled and we had no option but to look elsewhere to replace facilities that can’t serve what we need,” she says. The new business school will have a trading simulation hall like that of the New York Stock Exchange and offer more hands-on instruction. The social sciences center will contain demonstration spaces, observation rooms and a forensic anthropology laboratory.
 
Wilder says Morgan State’s business programs are held in a building on campus, McMechen Hall, and will be consolidated in the new business school, which will house management, accounting, hospitality and marketing. The 140,000-square-foot business school cost $82 million, of which the state funded $81 million and Morgan State the rest.
 
The design process has begun for the Behavioral and Social Sciences Center, a 125,000 square foot facility that will house classes now being held in the circa 1974 Jenkins Hall. Construction will begin in 2015 and the center will open in 2017. The state will issue bonds to pay for the approximately $67 million project, Wilder says.
 
Wilder says that both the business school and social sciences center will be green buildings, the LEED certification level still to be determined. 
 
Source: Cynthia Wilder, Morgan State University
Writer: Barbara Pash
 

Rendering of Morgan State University Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management courtesy of Ayers Saint Gross / KPF Associated Architects. 

Under Armour opens Tide Point visitor center

Under Armour wrapped up a seven-month construction of a visitor center this month, the latest expansion of the sportswear giant’s Tide Point campus in Locust Point.

Designed by Ziger/Snead, the glass-enclosed 4,260-square-foot building incorporates dark gray metal panel and red steel-plate railings. It is located on the site of the former Harvest Table café.

The building is a welcome area where every Under Armour employee will greet guests, according to a spokeswoman for the company. It’s also a place where school groups and athletic teams visiting the campus can gather, according to Ziger/Snead’s description of the project. The visitor center does not include a retail store. 

In February, the company opened an 8,000-square-foot Brand House retail store in Harbor East. It expects to eventually expand its Locust Point campus by 400,000 square feet

Writer: Julekha Dash

D.C. developer constructing 150-unit apartment building in Mount Vernon

An eight-story building with 150 rental apartments and ground-floor retail is coming to 814 North Charles St. in Mount Vernon. Washington, D.C., developer Gould Property Company is constructing the $30 million project on the site of a surface PMI parking lot that it owns.
 
Joel Cherington, a consultant to Gould, says construction on the 20,000-square-foot building will begin in February and finish within 18 months. The one- and two-bedroom apartments will be offered at market rate, currently in the $1,400 to $2,600 range for the area.
 
The developer is targeting young professionals with amenities like squash courts and an indoor pool. Mount Vernon has seen a flurry of new residential and retail development as enrollment grows at the University of Baltimore
 
The building, so far unnamed, is located at the corner of North Charles and Read streets. It is located a half-block north of Mount Vernon Square, and a block-and-a-half from the Washington Monument. It will be built of concrete and glass, with an eco-friendly “green” roof and a LEED certification of silver at the minimum, according to Walter Schamu, president of SMG Architects, the Baltimore firm that will design it.
 
There is space on the street level for retail. Cherington says the developer hopes to attract a restaurant and two other tenants. There will be seven stories of apartments and three levels of underground parking to accommodate 150 cars.
 
Earlier this month, the city's Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation approved the Charles Street building, says Tom Liebel, commission chair and a principal with Marks, Thomas Architects. Liebel says the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association, the local community group, ALSO supports the project.
 
Sources: Joel Cherington, Gould Property Co.; Walter Schamu, SMG Architects; Tom Liebel, Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation
Writer: Barbara Pash

MICA opening $16M dorm next month in Bolton Hill

Students at Maryland Institute College of Art looking to live on campus will get new digs next month. The Bolton Hill art college is opening a $16.3 million residence hall as enrollment grows and unveiling a $3 million renovation of its residential complex.
 
Located at 130 McMechen St., Leake Hall will house 240 students in 62 units. Part of the college's newly named Founder's Green Residential Complex, Leake Hall will include a performance space, lecture hall and artist studios. 

Renovations to the residential complex include a new entrance at the John H.B. Latrobe House and a new student lounge, a grill-style dining facility and expanded laundry facilities at Margaret F.S. Glace Hall. Baltimore architecture firm Hord Coplan Macht designed Leake Hall while Ayers Saint Gross handled the renovations. MICA financed the construction and renovations primarily through tax exempt bonds issued by the school and the Maryland Health and Higher Education Facilities Authority.
 
MICA has been updating and expanding its campus its facilities and housing in recent years to accommodate its student growth. Renovations to Studio Center, a complex for graduate programs on North Avenue, wrapped up last fall.
 
In 2008, MICA debuted its $30 million Gateway complex at the intersection of North Avenue and Mount Royal Avenue.  The dorm houses 215 students in apartment-style housing.
 
MICA enrolls nearly 3,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. Enrollment grew 16 percent last year. 
 
 
Source: Jessica Weglein, MICA’s director of public relations
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, Alexandra@bmoremedia.com
 
 

Downtown Baltimore event space getting a facelift

The new owners of the Grand Historic Venue in downtown Baltimore is giving the ornate property a $500,000 facelift and adding new menus to modernize the event space in the next six months.
 
“We want to kick it up a few notches,” says Amy O’Connell director of sales and marketing.
 
The owners will start the renovations to the Grand in about 90 days and wrap up in six months, O’Connell says. The space will get new lighting and furniture so it looks more chic and modern. The Grand also has a new Food and Beverage Director, Cecil Rajendra, who will update the catering menu within the next 30 days to offer more farm-to-table, local and international fare, O’Connell says. The Grand hosts banquets, weddings, conferences and other events. The former Masonic Lodge debuted in 2006 after a $27 million renovation. 
 
The facelift comes after Garrison Investment Group and Chartres Lodging purchased the event space and attached hotel, which it renamed the Embassy Suites Downtown Baltimore. Formerly called the Tremont Plaza Hotel, the hotel officially became the Embassy Suites June 17. The Hilton brand property received a $14 million renovation, including new rooms, an updated lobby and lounge areas and new amenities so it looks more contemporary. It also got a new restaurant, B’more Bistro, which specializes in Chesapeake Bay cuisine.
 
The goal of the rebranding, O’Connell says, is to appeal to the “Hilton traveller,” someone who expects a certain level of quality from the Hilton brand. 

Writer: Daryl Hale
Source: Amy O'Connell, Embassy Suites

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 
 


Construction begins on 102-unit apartment building in downtown Baltimore

Construction began last month on a 102-unit apartment complex in the former Provident Bank building in downtown Baltimore.
 
The first apartments at 114 E. Lexington St. will be ready in September, says Laurel Howell, senior vice president of marketing for Kettler Inc. The McLean, Va., firm will manage the property. The 11-story building will house retail on the first floor, a fitness room and iPad bar in the lobby.
 
The Lenore will contain one- and two-bedroom apartments, some of them lofts, with wood floors and granite countertops. Rental rates have not been set.
 
Gaithersburg developer Baybridge Property Group is preserving features of the 1928 historic building, including floor-to-ceiling windows. The building originally opened as a local branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Provident Bank and then M&T Bank used it until a year ago.

Several other office buildings are being converted to meet demand for downtown housing. Eighteen apartments are planned above the Carrollton Bank branch at 344 N. Charles St., which was sold in April. PMC Property Group expects to finish 70 apartments at 521-545 St. Paul St. this summer and 92 at the former Baltimore Life Insurance Co. headquarters at 301 N. Charles St. this fall. Another 445 apartments are planned at 10 Light St.

The first apartments at The Lenore are expected to be ready in September, according to Laurel Howell, senior vice president of marketing for Kettler Inc., which will manage the building. Businesses have shown interest in the two retail spaces on the first floor, she said.
 
Writer:  Wayne Countryman
Source:  Laurel Howell, Kettler Inc. 

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

Maryland Jockey Club plots $30M overhaul of Pimlico and Laurel

The Maryland Jockey Club has submitted a preliminary 10-year plan to give Baltimore's aging Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park a major facelift, including new stalls for horses and housing for the grooms who take care of them. Money from Maryland's slots revenue would partially fund the construction, which would cost $30 million to start. 

The plan needs approval from the Maryland Racing Commission and its Director Michael Hopkins could not say when it would give its OK. Hopkins says he expects that a capital improvement plan for the facilities will be approved.

Part of the funding for the proposed project would come from the Racetrack Facility Redevelopment Account, a portion of Maryland’s slots revenue the thoroughbred horse racing facilities receive by law. The Maryland Jockey Club, which owns the two facilities, will receive $8 million per year from slots starting in 2014. The Maryland Jockey Club is responsible for the rest of the funding.

Signed by Maryland Jockey Club President Thomas Chuckas Jr. the plan at Pimlico calls for a “major overhaul” to the facility, particularly in the "backstretch" area where the horses and grooms are located. Concept work for Phase 1 is underway and permit drawings will be done this year. Phase 1 would cost $15.5 million and include construction of a 130-unit grooms’ quarter building and six barns housing 216 stalls for horses. 

Phase 2 would include construction of two, 260-unit grooms’ quarter buildings, a canteen building for the backstretch staff and 12 barns housing 432 stalls. Phase 3 would focus on improvements to the "patron" area of clubhouse and grandstand buildings and parking lot. The Maryland Jockey Club is evaluating costs for these two phases. Concept plans for them will be ready in 2014. 
 
At Laurel, Phase 1 would include construction of at least 150 stalls; Phase 2, an additional 150 stalls. There would also be infrastructure improvements like storm water, sewage and roads. Phase 3 proposals include a new clubhouse and a mixed-use development and hotel building.  
 
Hopkins calls the preliminary plan “open-ended.” He says it does not contain a specific timeframe for design and construction "although they probably want the stalls sooner than later.”
 
“This is a proposal, a snapshot of how they’d like to proceed with capital construction.”
 
The Maryland Jockey Club was required by law to submit a preliminary capital improvement plan for its thoroughbred racing facilities. The 2012 Maryland General Assembly required that such a plan be submitted in accordance with the Racing Facility Redevelopment Fund criteria.
 
The Pimlico capital improvement plan needs to be submitted to Baltimore City. In 2004, the city approved a plan unit development the Maryland Jockey Club submitted. That plan details road improvements, construction of parking garages and construction of housing and other amenities for Pimlico staffers. 

Depending on how different Maryland Jockey Club's capital improvement plan is from the city plan, it would go to either the city planning commission or the City Council for approval, says Sara Paranilam, a senior capital planning analyst in the Baltimore City Department of Planning.
 
So far, though, no Pimlico capital improvement plan has been submitted to the city, Paranilam says.
 
Sources: Michael Hopkins, Maryland Racing Commission; Sara Paranilam, Baltimore City planning department
Writer: Barbara Pash; innovationnews@bmoremedia.com
 
 
 
 

Metro Centre retail and residential building to open in May

Construction of the first two residential and retail buildings for massive Baltimore County development Metro Centre at Owings Mills will wrap up by next month. The first will open in May and the second will open at the end of June.

The buildings, called Metro Crossing, are both five-stories high, with retail on the ground floor and rental apartments on the upper floors. The buildings are mirror images of each other. The two buildings split evenly a total of 56,000 square feet of retail space and 232 one- and two-bedroom apartments. 

A number of retail leases are in final negotiations, says Lynn Abeshouse, managing principal of real estate brokerage firm Abeshouse Partners. Until contracts are signed, Abeshouse declined to give specific names but says possible tenants include fast-casual and white-table restaurants, clothing stores, liquor stores and health clubs. 
 
One-bedroom apartments average 770 square feet; two-bedroom apartments, which all have two full bathrooms, run from 873 square feet to 1,245 square feet. Prices for one bedrooms run from $1,580 to $1,695 per month; for two bedrooms, $1,855 to $2,490 per month. Abeshouse declined to say how many apartments have been leased so far. 
 
The two buildings are located on Grand Central Avenue, off Painters Mill Road, near the Owings Mills Metro Subway Station and across from the County Campus at Metro Centre at Owings Mills. The six-story combination Baltimore County Public Library and the Community College of Baltimore County building is scheduled to open this week. A free parking garage next to the building is already open.
 
The two residential and retail buildings, the library/community college building and an office building now under construction compose the first phase of the Metro Centre at Owings Mills. That's about one-fourth of the total development. The four-story, 200,000-square-foot office building on Grand Central Avenue is expected to open this fall.
 
The state-designated transit-oriented development will eventually have over 1.2 million square feet of office space; 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; 1,700 residential units; and, a 250-room hotel. Maryland and Baltimore County have spent more than $57 million on infrastructure at Metro Centre at Owings Mills to date. The rest is privately funded.
 
Source: Lynn Abeshouse, Abeshouse Partners
Writer: Barbara Pash
 

Harris Teeter on target to open Ellicott City and Canton stores

Harris Teeter is opening its Ellicott City store April 3, according to a company spokeswoman, even as the North Carolina grocer considers a sale to two private equity firms.

It does not yet have an opening date for its Canton Crossing shop to open in a shopping center along with Target, Michael's, Five Below and local Greek restaurant Samos. The company says in a statement that it will "continue its strategic, new store growth plan." 

The grocery store will anchor a $22 million open-air shopping center called Town Square at Turf Valley. The site will also feature three or four restaurants and 10 to 15 shops totaling 100,000 square feet, says Tom Fitzpatrick, president of Owings Mills developer Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corp.

The 48,000-square-foot Ellicott City Harris Teeter will be the grocer's eighth Maryland store. It opened a store in Baltimore City late last year, anchoring Locust Point’s McHenry Row. The Turf Valley store will employ 115, Jones says.

Located at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center, the new shopping center will have many of the same features as Greenberg’s Hunt Valley Towne Centre and Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, including an outdoor gathering space with fireplace and water fountains. It will feature all-brick landscaping and exterior.

Fitzpatrick says he hopes the 100,000-square-foot center will draw from Clarksville, Glenelg and other affluent communities in western Howard County.

Restaurants will be of the upscale casual variety, rather than fine dining, Fitzpatrick says. He declined to name the restaurants and shops slated to open until a formal announcement is made later this year.

The Turf Valley site will also include a separate office complex, 160,000 square feet of office space, 150 townhomes and 192 condominiums built by the Keelty Co. of Stevenson. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Tom Fitzpatrick, Greenberg Gibbons; Danna Jones, Harris Teeter

Investors Spending $1.3M to Resurrect Former Pabst Brewery

A South Baltimore entrepreneur is brewing up plans to revive the former Pabst Brewing Co. building at the corner of Wells and South Charles Streets.

Former Austin Grill General Manager Spike Owen and a team of investors are spending more than $1.3 million to renovate the historic vacant building for the yet-to-be named project, expected to wrap up by fall. Baltimore's Green Door Properties LLC is the developer. 

Owen says he hopes to open a brewery that produces European and American-style ales and lagers and a taproom that seats 65 to 80 with a limited food menu. He says he is partnering with a veteran brewer with 25 years of experience but declined to name him as the brewer is employed elsewhere in town.

He’s the latest in the recent spate of hopeful entrepreneurs who have tapped into Baltimore residents’ thirst for locally made brews and beer-themed restaurants. Other recent entries include Union Craft Brewing in Woodberry and Heavy Seas Alehouse in Little Italy.

The idea of renovating a historic building that dates from Baltimore’s brewing heyday appeals to Owen. Beer manufacturing thrived from the late-1800s to the mid-1900s, thanks to the city's German immigrants.

“We like the sense of history,” he says. “We’re trying to bring [the building] back to what its original use was. When you have something like this, it helps with the branding.”

Owen says he’ll spend the next few months getting permits, ordering brewing equipment and modernizing the building’s infrastructure. The idea is to retain the historic features, including brick walls, wood beams and high ceilings.

The property is down the street from the National Federation of the Blind and a new apartment complex set to open spring of 2014. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Spike Owen 
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