This Week's Baltimore Deal Sheet
A Baltimore court has issued an order paving the way for MCB Real Estate to close on its acquisition of the city's iconic Harborplace mall.
The decision from the Baltimore City Circuit Court, first reported by the Baltimore Business Journal, clears the way for Baltimore-based MCB Real Estate to take over the pavilion-style, two-level indoor mall with retail and restaurant space. The Inner Harbor property is largely vacant and has lingered in receivership for more than two years.
Earlier this year, MCB Real Estate agreed to purchase the property once the judge in the case signed off on the acquisition. Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced MCB Real Estate’s impending purchase during his State of the City address in April.
Renowned developer Jim Rouse built Harborplace in 1980. The retail pavilion and the nearby National Aquarium helped Baltimore turn its decaying downtown waterfront into a tourist attraction.
Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. purchased the property in 2013, but the company struggled with maintenance and retaining tenants before entering bankruptcy in 2019. The property has continued to deteriorate for more than two years as the court tried to hammer out an agreement acceptable to the property’s creditors.
“For decades, Harborplace has inspired wonder and excitement, attracting legions of tourists and admirers from around the world," MCB Real Estate Managing Partner P. David Bramble said in a statement to WBAL-TV. "Harborplace played a central role in revitalizing Baltimore — and now, will again. With the order in place, we will begin the hard work of equitably investing in one of Baltimore's most critical assets by engaging every neighborhood and any resident that wants to be a part of this process.”
Real estate investment and land asset management company Walton Global has purchased 108 acres in Aberdeen. The property is located near Interstate 95 and employment centers including Aberdeen Proving Ground and White Marsh. It is also minutes from the Aberdeen MARC/Amtrak Station, Stadium Towne Center and Ripken Stadium. The property along Gilbert Road, known as Chesapeake View, is zoned for agriculture, according to Walton Global, but the developer said it has plans for future residential development.
Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved the final leases associated with Gov. Larry Hogan’s plans to move 12 state agencies and roughly 3,300 employees from the State Center complex in west Baltimore to the city’s Central Business District.
The board approved deals on Wednesday for the Department of Labor and Department of Information Technology to relocate to 100 South Charles St. The Department of Labor will occupy roughly 121K SF, providing office space for more than 820 workers. The Department of Information Technology will rent more than 5K SF to house 22 employees.
The Howard Hughes Corp. has added Venture X, Meta Materials and Ellie Mental Health as office tenants in Downtown Columbia. Venture X, a membership-based coworking space, agreed to lease 22K SF at 60 Corporate Center starting in July. Meta Material Inc., which develops high-performance functional materials and intelligent surfaces, has inked a deal beginning in May to rent more than 11K SF at 30 Corporate Center. Ellie Mental Health has signed a lease for nearly 4K SF at One Mall North starting in April. Howard Hughes says it has now leased 230K SF of office space this year in Downtown Columbia.
CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
Baltimore's urban design review panel assessed revamped plans for two new apartment towers on the former Locke Insulator site at Baltimore Peninsula, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. Architect Hord Coplan Macht presented updated schematics of brick, glass and steel multifamily buildings with 425 apartments.
Hampden residents oppose Segall Group's plans to raze a factory building in Hampden that dates back to the 1930s, and erect a six-story apartment building in its place, according to the Baltimore Sun. Neighbors argue the old factory is one of the last ties to Hampden’s industrial past. They also say demolishing it harms the environment because the property provides shelter to migrating Chimney Swifts.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott nominated Matthew “Mac” Campbell as the next executive director of the Baltimore Convention Center. The Baltimore City Council must approve that appointment. Campbell worked at the Convention Center from 2012 to 2021, first as director of client services and then as deputy director. Most recently, he worked as president of operations at the Strathmore.