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Massachusetts Firm to Develop Marketplace at Fells

A Massachusetts firm has acquired the rights to develop the retail and apartment component of Marketplace at Fells Point, a $40 million project that is now slated to break ground April 1.

Drew Dolben, senior vice president for the Dolben Co. Inc., says he has acquired the rights for the massive urban redevelopment plan from South Broadway Properties LLC's Dave Holmes. The Dolben Co. has a regional office in Odenton. 

Holmes says he is still involved with the project and is leading a $5 million renovation of the Broadway Market. The recession made financing more complicated and the company realized it needed a partner to see the project get built, he says. With a partner leading the retail and apartment building, South Broadway Properties can focus on the restoration of the market.

The developers of the Marketplace at Fells Point plan to transform the 600 block of South Broadway Street into a "vibrant gateway to historic Fells Point." The transformation will include shops, restaurants and a pedestrian plaza. Streetscape improvements will be a public-private partnership with the city spearheading the design and planning of a pedestrian space called the Square at Fells Point. Planning for that space is currently underway with construction expected to start later this year, Holmes says. 

The extensive project, in the works for several years, also received some federal stimulus funding. But construction on the project, initially slated for January 2011, has been delayed. The group revised it's original plans that included office space and a parking garage after the recession to simply retail and residential space. These changes lowered the total cost of the project.

The company is waiting on the city to issue building permits for the project at 600 S. Broadway and expects the development to take between 18 to 20 months to complete.
The project is expected to include 159 apartment units and over 27,000 square-feet of retail space. The company is working with CBRE Group, Inc. to attract food outlets and boutique retailers to lease space.
The apartments will be a mixture of one and two bedroom units, and the rents will be consistent with other prices in the area, Dolben says.
"We think the Fells Point neighborhood is one of the best residential addresses in Baltimore and a very vibrant area," Dolben says.
By acquiring the Marketplace at Fell's Point project, the company wanted to expand its portfolio in the Washington-Baltimore corridor.
The company currently has two projects in construction in Maryland, the Village at Odenton Station and the View at Mill Run in Owings Mills. Between developments in Virginia, Maryland and the New England area, the company maintains 11,000 apartment units, Dolben says.
Writer: Allie Wilding
Sources: Drew Dolben, Dolben Co. Inc.; Dave Holmes, South Broadway Properties LLC 

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