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Group Fitness Studio Flexing its Way to Canton

Hoping to take its private training model to a wider group, a new fitness studio will open Oct. 15 in Canton.

Featuring yoga, pilates, Zumba, barre and classes for children, Inline Group Fitness will open in a 3,300 square-foot space at 720 S. Montford St, says owner Josh Kirk. The location is near Boston Street and Canton's Can Company.

Canton resident Kirk, who owns the business with his wife, started Inline Private Training in 2004 by offering individual and group fitness classes.The company's success led them to establish a larger, separate location for the group fitness division of the business. 

Kirk wants to address the fitness needs of children just don't exercise like they used to and need additional opportunities to get fit, he says. Of the 36 classes offered each week, seven classes will be targeted to children up to age 7. 

"Gym classes are cut way back anyway for the bigger kids, and TV, internet, and video games has cut down on playing outside for all ages – even the youngest. Most importantly kids need to build a relationship with their bodies through exercise that is not sports or play oriented, but enhances those activities and is still fun," Kirk says. 
Inline began as a movement in 2004 as a counter-approach to gym, sports, and boot camp style training that can create injuries and high dropout rates. Canton was selected as the location for the company's expansion because of the support from clientele in the area and the desire on the part of many residents to have a healthy, urban lifestyle, Kirk says.

Reservations for special series classes, including beginner yoga, prenatal yoga and children's ballet, have already begun.

Source: Josh Kirk, INLINE Group Fitness
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Three New Businesses Open in Highlandtown

Three new businesses have opened on South Conkling Street, including a grocery store, clothing shop and art gallery, says Highlandtown Main Street Manager Amanda Smit-Peters.

A refugee-owned Nepalese grocer Druk Grocery, clothing store J and M Fashion Stop and art gallery Anthony's Park Mobile Arts Recycle Center have opened within the last three months. They're the latest to open in the East Baltimore neighborhood, home of arts center the Creative Alliance. The area scored a coup in May when Winston Blick opened an outpost of his popular Hamilton restaurant Clementine at the Creative Alliance.  Community activities, including an art project and a local farmers market, have led business owners to take notice of the area and invest in the neighborhood, Smit-Peters says.
Nancy Jagelka's 1,000 square-foot gallery combines her personal studio with an instructional space for children's art classes. 
Jagelka's work and classes focuses on recycled art projects, or work that uses found materials and repurposes them as works of art. The center will offer classes on a donation basis to youth as young as four years old in the recycled arts. The first in a series of workshops will start on Saturday and will focus on mask-masking. 

It doesn't take a lot of money to make art, Jagelka says, but it is a communal process. With the help of a grant from the Baltimore Community Foundation, Jagelka recently organized an intergenerational mural project at Bank and South Conkling Streets in Highlandtown across from Hoehn's Bakery that was a partnership between her art center, the John Booth Senior Center, and Mosaic Makers Inc.
The mural was dedicated with an event and children's activities on Oct. 6.

Smit-Peters credits pop-up shops and art projects earlier this year, a series of events where businesses and art projects took over vacant spaces in Highlandtown, as a way of generating new business in the area. Smit-Peters says the new businesses leasing space on the block benefited from business owners who saw increased interest in the area and made improvements to their buildings to attract new tenants. The presence of the weekly farmer's market has also attracted new businesses to the area.
"This block feels like what a main street is like. It's nice to see businesses make improvements together," Smit-Peters says.

Following the participation in the pop-up shop project last winter, Jagelka worked with a landlord who she says was very flexible in helping her to establish a permanent location in the neighborhood. 
Source: Amanda Smit-Peters, Highlandtown Main Street; Nancy Jagelka, Anthony's Park Mobile Arts Recycle Center.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Posh Retro Clothing Store Debuts in Federal Hill

Trendy professionals in Federal Hill can now throw a party decked out in retro clothing.
Posh Retro opened this month at 1003 Light St. But Amber Ivey’s store operates a bit differently than your average retail outfit.

It is open to the public on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rest of the week, customers can call and schedule “lifestyle parties” for 15-30 guests ranging from shopping parties to business lunches. Hostesses receive discounts on future purchases and “swag bags”, and nonprofits that schedule a “Party with a Purpose” receive 20 percent of each sale toward their organization’s mission.
Posh Retro’s new-and-used clothing caters male and female customers ages 21-mid 30s/early 40s. Items average around $39. While Ivey currently has three employees and is looking to hire about five women ages 22-26 to work as brand representatives. She has a goal to expand in 18 months with locations in Washington, D.C., and Boston.
Ivey, who invested $15,000 for the Baltimore location, was happy when the roughly 1,000-square-foot-location became available. “Posh Retro fits Federal Hill,” Ivey says. “There’s a young, hip vibe with people who want clothes that are a little different.”
Ivey opened Posh Retro in 2008 in Newport News, Va., and then Portsmouth, Va., in 2011 for a year. She decided to move the store with her to Baltimore while pursuing a master in public administration at University of Maryland at College Park.
The business owner donates about 15 percent of each customer’s purchase to Mission: Launch, Inc., a Baltimore nonprofit that assists job seekers once they have been released from prison.
Writer: Jolene Carr,
Source: Amber Ivey, Posh Retro 

Wellness Center Opens Near Hampden

There’s a new place in Woodberry where Baltimoreans can do their downward dog.
Respite Wellness Center opens for business at 2000 Girard Ave. Oct. 1. The Center offers yoga, Reiki, and Zumba classes along with massage and acupuncture sessions.
Certified yoga instructor and massage therapist Angeline Gentile has partnered up with acupuncturist Tiffany Houchins to open Respite. Gentile, a Hampden resident, found the 1,500 square-foot location on Craigslist and thought it was ideal since the space was already set up for a wellness center with three treatment rooms, a yoga studio, a kitchen and reception area.
 “We decorated the space with a Woodberry urban-organic vibe,” says Gentile. Gentile says she plans to work with Artifact Coffee and offer lunch for afternoon yoga sessions provided in the backyard, which she will set up with hammocks as a place to socialize.
Gentile, who also holds corporate yoga classes including sessions at Baltimore City Public Schools for teachers, enjoys providing classes for Baltimore workers like artists, writers and small business owners who need to relax but have tight budgets, and she often offers sliding scale prices.
Respite is currently offering intro specials, like $70 for 90-minute massage sessions that usually cost $100. Walk-ins for yoga classes are $15, and $10 for seniors and students, or 10 classes for $120.
Respite currently employs three acupuncturists and five yoga instructors. There will also be a life coach and licensed social worker later this month. Gentile would also like to add bars and Pilates instructors in the future.

Source: Angeline Gentile
Writer: Jolene Carr

Towson University Purchases York Road Property

Towson University has spent $6.2 million to purchase a property on York Road and plans to spend another $4 million to refurbish the structure.
The university bought the 40,000-square-foot building to house several programs that fall within its Division of Economic and Community Outreach. That includes the TowsonGlobal Business Incubator, which will occupy one whole floor [see story].
The university has been a tenant for several years and decided to go ahead and purchase the building as it would save money in the long run compared with renting, says Mark Behm, Towson’s interim vice president of administration and finance and chief fiscal officer. Towson bought the building from Garrison Forest Foods Inc., state property records show. 
The building currently houses Towson’s continuing education programs and the Regional Economic Studies Institute. These tenants will move out temporarily in November while the building undergoes a 13-month renovation, Behm says. The renovations will include upgrades to the electrical system and adding an elevator to make it handicap accessible. 

Source: Mark Behm
Writer: Julekha Dash

Renovated 13th Floor Opening This Month

After a season of closure for renovations, the Belvedere's the 13th Floor will open Oct. 4 with a new design and concept.
Known for its dramatic views of Baltimore, the restaurant and lounge located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood has been closed since April.
The restaurant's parent company Belvedere Restaurant Group focused on creating a new look and approach for the space by hiring local PR firm Vitamin to rebrand the spot, Owner Sondra Goad says. The restaurant group is spending $500,000 on the renovations. 
Interior designer Joley King hoped to design a space that combines a modern aesthetic with reminders of the building's historic past including some of the original steel columns. The building will also feature custom designed stained glass as well as artisan steel furniture in a tribute to Baltimore's steel history, Goad says. 
"The 13th Floor will be a place to unwind, to talk, and to connect, while being above the daily grind in one of Baltimore's most historic landmarks," Goad says.
Goad says the bar and restaurant will cater to an upscale crowd as well as expanding the uses of the space to focus on private, catered events and wedding parties.
A Beaux Arts style building, the Belvedere is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The former hotel was the premier lodging in Baltimore in the first half of the 20th century with guests such as John F. Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson, and Clark Gable. In 1991, the building converted to condos with restaurants and bars remaining open to the public.
Other businesses inside the building, now a condo complex, include the Owl Bar and Truffles Catering.
Source: Sondra Goad, owner of Belvedere Restaurant Group.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Greene Turtle Spending Nearly $40M on Expansion

Most turtles are not known for their speed, but the planned growth of The Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille is anything but slow.
By the end of 2014, the Maryland company plans to open an additional 16 to 20 restaurants, including a major expansion in Long Island, N.Y., Greene Turtle CEO Bob Barry says. The restaurants will be a mixture of company-owned and franchise locations. The company hires 60 employees at each location that opens. The average Greene Turtle location seats 220 in the dining room and another 120 in the bar area. 

The company and franchisees could spend as much as $36 million on the expansion while the company's staff of 1,800 employees could grow by 1,200 workers across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Barry says. Greene Turtle restaurants are, on average, about 7,000 square feet. 

So how has the Edgewater company been able to expand so rapidly? A report released by food consulting company Technomic suggests that restaurants focused on franchising such as The Greene Turtle have grown the most during tough economic times. By focusing on expanding their brands, franchise restaurants can also move into locations vacated by closing businesses, according to the report. 

Barry says that because more people have home entertainment systems, The Greene Turtle needs to provide more for customers than flat screens to watch sports games. They have focused on trying to make the venues family-friendly.

The company currently has 34 locations, and plans to expand to 40 by March 2013. They will open an additional three locations in 2013, and 10 in 2014.
Construction began on the restaurant's newest location at the White Marsh Mall, and should open in January. Plans for the location include an outdoor patio with a roof for winter and summer outdoor dining.
Three of the company’s new locations will be in Delaware including in Dover and Newark. Construction is underway at the location in Dover and the restaurant plans to open February 2013.
The company is also scouting locations in central Pennsylvania, including the areas of York and Harrisburg.
Source: Bob Barry, CEO and President of The Greene Turtle
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

The Walters Gets a Java Jolt With New Coffee Bar

For lovers of art and gourmet coffee, a new partnership just might get you buzzing.
Q at The Walters, an authentic Seattle-style espresso bar opened this week at The Walters Art Museum. The 300-square-foot espresso bar and cafe serves coffee, pastries, pre-made wraps, salads and sandwiches.
"We love this space. I have never been in a museum. It's the first time for my concept," say owner and operator Ashley Stark-McCauley.
Stark-McCauley runs three additional coffee bars in the Baltimore area including cafes at Johns Hopkins University and at an office building in Hunt Valley. 

As for expanding, Stark-McCauley says she's scouting other locations in Baltimore and is also considering adding locations in office buildings in New York City.
After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies in Seattle and working as a professor, Stark-McCauley says she wants to bring an authentic Seattle coffee experience to her hometown of Baltimore. She launched her first coffee business almost 20 years ago.
The model is very different than a traditional business model because she operates inside host institutions that require her to work with existing space as opposed to being able to completely remodel a location, Stark-McCauley says. 
Stark-McCauley will add roughly four employees, and has invested $25,000 in launching Q at the Walters.
Q at The Walters will be open during regular museum hours, which are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Just announced by the museum are Thursday evening hours when the museum will stay open until 9.pm.
She hopes to eventually offer early morning hours for residents of Mount Vernon.
Source: Ashley Stark-McCauley, owner of Q at The Walters
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Road Closures in Store for Southeast Baltimore

Travelers in Southeast Baltimore should be on alert for a few extra orange cones over the next year.
New construction is set to begin on several streets and intersections in the area. The improvements are part of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation's $44 million SouthEast Road Reconstruction Program which aims to improve access to the Port of Baltimore, reduce truck traffic on neighborhood streets, and create safer traveling for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, according to the city's Department of Transportation.
Starting this fall, construction will begin at four new sites:
• Site 1: O’Donnell Street from S. Ponca Street to Interstate Avenue
• Site 2: O’Donnell Street Cut-off at Interstate Avenue
• Site 3: Boston Street from S. Ponca Street to Haven Street
• Site 4: Boston Street & S. Clinton Street
Work on the project will conclude in fall 2013.
Improvements at the locations include street widening to allow for dedicated turn lanes, pavement reconstruction, stormwater management improvements, roadway resurfacing, ADA pedestrian ramp improvement, signal improvements, and landscaping.
The construction could close lanes periodically as well as restrict parking.
Source:  Baltimore City Department of Transportation
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Gluten-Free Gourmet Coming to Ellicott City

An entrepreneur will bring gluten-free Shepherd’s pie, pizza, mac and cheese and other foods to Ellicott City next month, investing $150,000 to open restaurant One Dish Cuisine.
One Dish Cuisine is moving from a 1,200 square-foot wholesale facility at 300 East Gittings St. in Federal Hill to a 3,000 square-foot kitchen and eatery in Ellicott City’s Taylor Village Center at 8001 Hillsborough Road.
All menu items are gluten, soy and casein free, while most are also peanut, nut, egg, dairy, corn and fish free and incorporate organic ingredients. Dishes include comfort food staples that normally aren’t available to people with food allergies, including Reuben melts on mock rye and pumpernickel, steak, wings and soups. The café will primarily serve lunch and dinner but offer muffins and coffee in the morning, and eventually weekend brunches. Chef and owner Maureen Burke encourages customer requests and plans on hosting themed nights like Italian, Thai and Chinese.
Burke began experimenting with gluten-free cooking and baking when she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the 80s. “I started making recipes for breads and pizza crusts, and nobody knew that they were gluten-free,” Burke says. She continued experimenting when her nephew was diagnosed with autism two and a half years ago, requiring him to also follow a gluten-free diet. Burke says there are 900,000 people with food allergies in the area’s 60-mile radius alone.
One Dish Cuisine started as wholesale facility in June 2010 where Burke would make, freeze and ship products to retailers and hospitals like Crofton’s the Irish Channel Restaurant, Severna Park’s Freedom Bakery and Washington, D.C.’s Children’s National Medical Center.
Burke wanted to relocate from Federal Hill for more space and parking opportunities. She will continue to ship her foods and also offer a freezer for customers at the café. There are currently six employees but Burke plans to hire four more.

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Maureen Burke, One Dish Cuisine

Fells Point Bar Plans $1M Expansion

A landmark Fells Point bar will undergo a $1 million expansion with the goal to open next spring or summer, the owner says.
The Horse You Came in On Saloon plans to take over a 1,700-square-foot space next to their current location on Thames Street to create a new dining and music area, says owner Eric Mathias.
The new space at 1628 Thames St. will be part of The Horse You Came in On, but will feature separate musical acts, its own bar, a dining area, and have will have a slightly different atmosphere and furnishings from the other bar. The expansion will double the bar's space to 3,700 square feet.
The project has received approval from the zoning appeals board and support from the Fells Point Residents Association. Construction on the new space is slated to begin in the next 45 days, Mathias says.
"Our expansion is kind of an example of the amount of work, commitment and passion that myself and everyone else has for the Horse, the neighborhood and what we do," Mathias says.
The Horse You Came in On opened in 1775 and claims to be America's oldest saloon. According to the saloon's website, it is the only bar in Maryland to exist before, during, and after prohibition.
Mathias says the saloon wants the concept of the new space to be relevant to Baltimore and Fells Point, and is considering a prohibition theme, but no final decisions have been made.
Source: Eric Mathias, owner
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Hilton Opening New Restaurant in Baltimore

Two Baltimore hotels are refreshing their restaurants as they renovate their properties. 
A new hotel restaurant will come to downtown Baltimore in late April once the Baltimore Tremont Plaza Suites Hotel converts to Hilton’s Embassy Suites. And the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards is rolling out a new menu and farm-to-table concept this month after hiring Executive Chef Bill Downes from the Mayflower Renaissance in Washington, D.C., for its restaurant the Yard.
Brickstones will open first in Baltimore and then expand nationally in other Hilton properties, Project Manager John Hardy says. His Atlanta company, the John Hardy Group Inc., is overseeing the construction as the Tremont’s makeover into an Embassy Suites. The concept revolves around an open show kitchen with pizza and rotisserie ovens and made-to-order omelets and buffet stations for breakfast. The restaurant will also serve lunch and host a managers’ reception in the evening at the bar with drinks and snacks.
Designed by Hilton with Next Step Design serving as the food and beverage consultant, Brickstones Grill will replace Tug’s Bar and Grille.
The new restaurant is part of an overall renovation that will include updates to the lobby, health club and 300 guest rooms.
The Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor is relying on One Straw Farm, Albright Farms and other local suppliers as it rolls out new signature items, Downes says. The idea is to take classic Baltimore dishes and put a modern twist on them. His creations include crab pot pie topped with phyllo pastry and a brownie sundae topped with Goetze’s Candy Co. caramels.  
The hotel wants to “elevate” the sports bar to suit local tastes that have become more sophisticated and boost the food and beverage sales at the 524-room hotel, General Manager Onahlea Shimunek says. The changes will hopefully help it appeal to locals and not just guests.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: John Hardy, the John Hardy Group; Bill Downes and Onahlea Shimunek, Marriott

Vegan Bakery Opens in Fells Point

No eggs? No dairy? No problem, says the owner of a new vegan bakery in Fells Point. 

Dirty Carrots will open Saturday at 600 S. Wolfe St. in the space formerly occupied by Smedly's, a popular coffee shop and will sell vegan baked goods including salted caramel cupcakes and whoopee pies.

There are three other vegan bakeries in Baltimore, according to VegBaltimore.com
Owner Lisa Muscara Brice says it's her goal to provide a vegan option for Baltimore residents and to show them how delicious vegan food can be.
She calls the Fells Point neighborhood where she set up her bakery a "phenomenal" place with a "great mix of people where I've felt welcomed from the moment I've been down there." 
For now, the bakery will offer carry-out treats and coffee in the same space where Brice bakes all of her treats including wholesale orders for places like Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse and the Baltimore Farmer's Market.
Eventually, Brice hopes to have table serve but she says she's growing slowly.
"Baby steps get you there often," Brice says. Ultimately, Brice wants to continue growing her wholesale business, as well as additional retail locations.
To get her business off the ground, Brice participated in the Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore Inc. program. The program aided her in writing a business plan and helped her to formalize a concept for the bakery.
Source: Lisa Muscara Brice, owner of Dirty Carrots
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

High-End Apartment Developers Invest in Mount Vernon

Seeking to fill a demand for housing in Baltimore, apartment developers hope to offer luxury apartments to professionals who want to live in Mount Vernon or downtown. 
Working on behalf of a group of private investors, high-end residential developer  Zahlco Properties plans to renovate up to six apartment buildings with 100 total units in Mount Vernon and downtown by next summer, says Yonah Zahler, CEO of Pikesville's Zahlco Properties. 
The company hopes to create a new venture, Urban Living by Zahlco, to cater to young professionals who work and want to live downtown. 
The first building, a 10,000-square-foot double row house at 16 E. Biddle St. in Mount Vernon, is slated to open for lease in October. The funding group behind the venture has invested $1.3 million to renovate the home and has several million set aside to develop additional properties, Zahler says. He wouldn't specify where the other buildings are located and exactly how much he will spend on them. 

Zahler believes there is a demand for high-end housing in Mount Vernon and that the area has always attracted residents.
"Mount Vernon has a unique style of living. It has a Manhattan type of feel that will only grow by the population and workers increasing. Retail will follow," Zahler says.

Maybe it's not New York, but apartment rental rates in Baltimore are keeping up with bigger cities. Baltimore renters paid an average of $1,684 last month, a 12 percent increase compared with July 2011, according to housing market research firm Zillow Inc. 

Zahler's apartments will be one to two bedrooms costing no more than $1,400 and $2,000 a month, respectively.

Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]
Source: Yonah Zahler, CEO of Zahlco Properties.

Developer Plots For-Profit Recreation Center In West Baltimore

A former furniture warehouse in West Baltimore's Franklin Square neighborhood could be transformed into a community building and recreation center.
Pending approval from the city's zoning board, a two-story, 33,000 square-foot vacant building at 5 N. Calhoun St. could become a for-profit recreation center, says property owner and developer Cecil Clarke.
The plan comes amid the permanent closures this month of four city-operated recreation centers in West Baltimore due to budget cuts.
Clarke says he believes the area around the proposed recreation center is poised for tremendous growth and revitalization after years of delayed progress on projects like the Red Line and “Superblock."

The warehouse location at North Calhoun and West Baltimore Streets is less than a mile from the University of Maryland Medical Center. Nearby on Baltimore Street, 17 new businesses including a coffee shop have opened in the past two years, Clarke says.
The amount and diversity of development projects makes Clarke feel optimistic about the city's future.
Despite Clarke's optimism, the "Superblock" project has faced hurdles over the past decade and Maryland's highest court has only recently dismissed a lawsuit trying to block the proposed $152 million apartment and retail project near Lexington and Howard Streets. 
Clarke revealed few details about the project and the prospective tenant could not be reached for comment. The project will go before the city's zoning and appeals board Sept. 18.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]
Source: Cecil Clarke, property developer
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