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Five Real Estate Predictions For Baltimore County

With GDP growth outpacing the country and 5% unemployment, Baltimore County is one of the most attractive real estate markets in the Mid-Atlantic. Panelists who spoke at Bisnow’s The Baltimore County Boom Wednesday morning shared five real estate predictions for the county.

1. Economic Growth

Five Real Estate Predictions For Baltimore County

More than 350 turned out for the event, which kicked off with county economic and workforce development director Will Anderson (right) and permits, approvals and inspections director Arnold Jablon. Will noted that economists predict the county will experience 2.7% GDP growth, eclipsing the national rate expected at 2.5%.

2. Malls That Are Ripe For Redevelopment

Five Real Estate Predictions For Baltimore County

With land scarce, developers will continue to refurbish older properties, Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corp CEO Brian Gibbons predicted. The Owings Mills developer is spearheading a $20M redevelopment of the Shops at Kenilworth, anchored by a Trader Joe’s that will open Q1 next year. It also plans to refurbish Reisterstown Shopping Center, which it purchased in February for $34.5M from Chesapeake Realty Partners.

3. Urbanization Of Suburbia

Five Real Estate Predictions For Baltimore County

Food markets, walkable streets and highly amenitized apartment buildings: Sounds like Baltimore City, right? The county’s projects are offering urban appeal to compete with its urban neighbor. Chesapeake Realty Partners COO Josh Fidler noted that its new apartment complex, The Winthrop, offers contemporary finishes and amenities you would expect in the city, including a culinary lounge, garage band studio and a bike shop.

Five Real Estate Predictions For Baltimore County

Downtown Towson developments Towson Row and Towson Circle have made the town more walkable, says David Bookhout, Baltimore County development manager for AvalonBay Communities. He's in the center, flanked by Venable partner David Karceski (left) and Atapco Properties president Kevin McAndrews.

And if you think food markets are the domain of the city, think again. The Shops at Kenilworth will include a contemporary, Belvedere Square-type food market, Brian says. Adding a food market and grocery store will bring people to the mall late at night. “It’s a terrific location that needs to be reformatted,” Brian says.

4. E-Commerce Driving Industrial Demand

Five Real Estate Predictions For Baltimore County

Nearly one-fifth of all demand for industrial space comes from the e-commerce sector as online retailers seek warehouses to store their goods near their buyers, says Chesapeake Real Estate Group principal Jim Lighthizer. Retailers are working overtime to fill orders as quickly as possible, either same day or next day. But e-commerce isn’t the only sector driving industrial development.

Jim notes that Chesapeake Real Estate Group has developed nine buildings totaling 1.5M SF at Baltimore Crossroads in White Marsh. Two-thirds of that space was allocated to liquor, candy and coffee companies. “What does that say about the demand from our society?”

5. More Mixed-Use

Five Real Estate Predictions For Baltimore County

Atapco Properties is working with Venable to get county rezoning approval for a recently purchased property at 375 W Padonia Rd, Kevin says. If all goes well, the office building will be converted to mixed-use, which could mean adding everything from retail, restaurants, apartments and a hotel.

“The suburban office is really passé at this point,” Kevin says.” It’s a great location. We see a great opportunity to densify it.”