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Five Tips On Doing Retail And Restaurant Deals In Baltimore

Swanky apartment buildings filled with food markets and destination restaurants are opening throughout Baltimore, making it a good time for Bisnow to hold a panel on mixed-use development. Nearly 200 turned out for our Mixed-Use Mania event Wednesday morning at Price Modern. Our speakers left us with five lessons on how to execute retail and restaurant deals in Baltimore.

1. Deliver Experiences


Just as home theaters haven’t stopped moviegoers from going to the cinema, online shopping won’t prevent shoppers from going into stores, said keynote speaker Cordish Co VP Blake Cordish.

But successful retailers will know how to turn the stores into experiences, says Blake, pictured here with inPlace Design principal Dustin Watson (left). A prime example, Blake says, is Under Armour, whose design-heavy brand house stores are equipped with LED screens, artificial turf and other features to entice visitors.

2. Blur Lines


Think of blurred lines. No we’re not referring to that Pharrell and Robin Thicke song.

Rather, the walls between residential and retail and hospitality are breaking down, says Bozzuto Development VP Jeff Kayce (left). At Bozzuto’s new $100M Locust Point residential complex, Anthem House, developed in conjunction with War Horse and Solstice Partners, the café bar will bleed into the lobby and pool areas. In selecting retail and amenities for its residential projects, Bozzuto took its cues from Ian Schrager’s Delano and Gramercy Park hotels.

“We were trying to figure out what made those such cool places to go to” and what made them “an emotionally resonant experience," Jeff says.

3. Create A Sense Of Place


The goal of a mixed-use project’s retail component should be to add value and create a sense of place, says Cana Development principal Mike Morris. He's pictured on the right next to moderator and KBE Building Corp principal Eric Brown.

Mike acted as a retail consultant for the Time Group’s apartment complexes at 500 and 520 Park Ave. It took six months to convince he developer to feature food market Mount Vernon Marketplace at 520 Park, but the results were worth it to deliver a product that creates a sense of place, Mike says.


Placemaking is the most important part of mixed-use in an urban setting,” says Martin Architectural Group principal Drew Romanic. Apartments are getting smaller while common areas are getting decked out to attract Millennials who'd rather spend time interacting with other residents than holed up in their rooms.

4. Watch The Finances


Creating experiential retail requires serious capital and makes sense for a developer that is building on a grand scale. But developers spearheading projects in the $5M to $20M range need to think carefully about whether an investment in the build-out makes financial sense, says Poverni Sheikh Group principal Eugene Poverni.

Poverni is redeveloping the former Central Savings Bank into 24 apartments and retail, called The Vault. In selecting David and Dad’s Café and CorCycle, the developer took a pragmatic approach on how to fill a need for casual eateries and exercise spots for all the new residents in downtown Baltimore, which has undergone an apartment construction boom.

5. Pay Attention To Hot Neighborhoods


Remington and Port Covington are among the hottest neighborhoods, the panelists told the crowd.

In Remington, Seawall Development is building the $40M retail and apartment complex Remington Row and food hall R. House. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s real estate company is remaking more than 200 acres at Port Covington into a $5.5B waterfront development with offices, shops, restaurants and a whiskey distillery.