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Baltimore City’s Retail Revolution

Baltimore Retail

Baltimore City retail is all the rage, thanks to hefty mixed-use development and the residents and workers flocking to the city to live, work and play. Even institutional investors are lining up. But who exactly is buying? Who’s selling? And who’s investing to take advantage of it all? We're excited to hear from the experts at Bisnow’s Retail in Charm City on Nov. 20 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.

Value-Already-Added Centers Selling

28 Walker Development has sold The Shops at Federal Hill for a top-notch $442/SF, according to Greysteel’s Gil Neuman (with the project that keeps him busy late at night: Leeba, who was around six weeks at the time and now is seventh months). Both Gil and his client, 28 Walker’s Abe Rosenthal, are speaking at Bisnow’s event.

A 1031 buyer acquired the 5,800 SF redeveloped property on Tuesday. It’s next to Cross Street Market, across from the new 1111 Light St, and near the coming Riverside Wharf MOB and planned Stadium Square. Gil tells us the Petco concept Unleashed just started a 10-year lease, and the Dunkin’ Donuts is a high-performing franchise.

Greysteel also just repped Black Oak Associates in the sale of another value-added shopping center: the 200k SF Belair Edison Crossing. Black Oak had purchased the almost-vacant center from Vornado in ’03, kept Food Depot and Maxway, renovated, leased to Dollar General and other tenants, and now has sold it to an out-of-state buyer. Gil says even institutional interest came from across the country, remarkable for an inner-city center. Investment retail is back, he says, and Baltimore is in favor.

Long-Term Redevelopment Plays

MCB Real Estate is redeveloping 1.4M SF of retail in the Baltimore area, including a pair of major redevelopments that the company picked up at a low basis, says managing partner David Bramble, who also is speaking at our event and is pictured flanked by fellow managing partners David Frederick and Peter Pinkard. The biggest is the 856k SF Eastpoint Mall on 66 acres. But David B’s in no rush. His company paid a low-basis $34M for the mall, after the seller had paid $100M and then lost it to foreclosure, so the company has time to think it through.

A long-term redevelopment plan is in the works, David tells us, but it’s very long term. He points out that it’s not a dead mall; rather the previous owner’s basis was too high to be able to do much with it. MCB is working on deferred maintenance and has had strong leasing activity. So redevelopment is down the pike.

The company also plans a massive urban mixed-use development on the brownfield 5601 Eastern Ave, the former Pemco site, across from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The plans are starting a long slog through planning and approvals now, but David tells us it’ll likely have 100k to 150k SF of retail, 250 to 500 apartments, a hotel, and possibly office. It’ll serve hospital employees and the Greektown and Bayview communities. MCB is speaking with a number of retail anchors, but one thing David can say for sure: It will not be a Walmart. The company also plans to redevelop the 265k SF Lowe’s- and Giant-anchored Arundel Plaza in Glen Burnie. And it’s marketing the 260k SF Perring Plaza for sale after repositioning it with long-term leases wit ShopRite and The Home Depot.

Food Fixes Everything

Another of our panelists, Cross Street Partners’ Meghan Walsh (snapped with War Horse founder Scott Plank and Tidewater Capital’s Ross Stackhouse), oversees development and leasing at Belvedere Square, including curating the 10k SF Food Market, a makers market designed to nurture and highlight, small, homegrown food vendors. Crime and vacancy may have plagued the 100k SF shopping center in the ’90s…

…but War Horse invested in the project last year, revitalizing it into a world-class destination for Baltimoreans. Above are the Atwater's Bakery folks in the market. Meghan also consults for Baltimore-based War Horse on a similar market, The Hall, in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, being developed with Tidewater Capital. The temporary structure, or “super pop-up,” will come down in 18 months when the developers secure entitlements to develop apartments.

Meghan tells us the San Francisco market (above) went up on the site of a long-vacant strip club to harness the power of food to draw people to the neighborhood and activate a key block in the Mid-Market corridor. It’s made the area safer and more vibrant, she says, and WeWork tenants and Twitter employees have flocked to The Hall  since it opened Sept. 29 (when the photo of Scott, Ross and Meghan three pictures up was taken). Millennials, the mayor, and yesterday even Jesse Jackson have checked it out.

Grab your ticket for Bisnow’s Retail in Charm City event, coming up Nov. 20 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Networking from 7:30 to 8:30am, panels from 8:30 to 10, and more networking after.