The Baltimore Sun Looks to Develop Their Port Covington Properties

| May 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Potential new developments at Port Covington have certainly become one of the most talked about issues this year in South Baltimore. The South Peninsula of Baltimore is one of the hottest real estate markets in the region and has seen nonstop redevelopment for the last 15 years. However, Port Covington has remained largely underdeveloped during this surge.

Port Covington is the large area south of McComas St., which includes Swann Park and the industrial areas south of the park (once referred to as West Covington), The Baltimore Sun printing facility, Tidewater Marina and an adjacent parcel at 301 E. Cromwell St., the Port Covington Shopping Center, Locke Insulators, and Nick’s Fish House.

Development has eluded Port Covington over the last 10 years as the shopping center fell apart soon after opening in 2002 as only Walmart and Sam’s Club  were constructed (Sam’s Club later closed). A mixed-used project later proposed by Streuver Bros. Eccles & Rouse at 301 E. Cromwell St. never came to fruition, and neither did Under Armour’s hopes for a new campus at West Covington.

However, this year Port Covington has continually come up in development talks and much has been speculated. The Port Covington Shopping Center was sold in January for $35 million, and later 101 W. Dickman, a warehouse on a 6.8 acre property in West Covington once eyed by Chesapeake Craft Brewers as a brewery space, was purchased for $1.1 million. Both properties, as well as 301 E. Cromwell, which was sold at auction in 2013, have been purchased under the name of Marc Weller, who is a Chevy Chase-based developer.  

Little has been revealed yet about the plans for any of these properties, but The Baltimore Sun reported in April that Kevin Plank was considering 301 E. Cromwell as a potential site for his future rye whiskey distillery Sagamore Spirit.

Once again there is news of more potential development in Port Covington, as The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Tribune Company, owner of The Baltimore Sun, is looking for partners to develop 37 acres of undeveloped space at the home of their printing facility at 300 E. Cromwell St.

CBRE is marketing the properties as two available sites, one 18 acres and one 19 acres. From the real estate brochure:

CBRE, as exclusive marketing advisor, is pleased to present a unique joint venture (“JV”) opportunity for the 300 East Cromwell development sites (“The Property”) with its current owner, Tribune Real Estate Holdings, LLC (“TREH”), a subsidiary of the Tribune Company. The JV opportunity will include the development of ±37 infill acres along Baltimore’s waterfront with unprecedented access to Interstate 95. Current zoning allows for industrial uses but, given the premier location, rezoning is a logical alternative that local legislators are willing to consider. The City is currently reassessing zoning and TREH is seeking a joint venture to maximize long term value. 

The land is currently zoned for M-3 “Heavy Industrial,” but they are advertising that city officials have indicated they are open to alternative uses such as a hotel or multi-family residence, citing, “Affordable housing for the thousands of new employees that Under Armour plans to hire in the coming years has been identified as an serious issue the City wants to tackle.”

In a February SouthBMore.com poll, readers were asked, “What would you like to see happen at Port Covington?” More than 64% of those polled expressed a desire for better shopping options in the area.  

The National Aquarium Environmental Demonstration Area, a new park on the Middle Branch in West Covington, is currently under construction and scheduled to open this summer.  

Photo from the CBRE Brochure

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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