Banner Year Continues for Port Covington as Parcel Sells for $46.5 Million

| December 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

port covingtonIt has been an incredibly newsworthy 2014 for Port Covington, the large area on the South Baltimore peninsula south of I-95 that includes a failed shopping center, The Baltimore Sun printing facility, industrial properties, a marina, and more. The 59-acre shopping center was sold in January for $35 million to Kevin Plank’s development company Sagamore Development and another 6.8 acre industrial property at 101 W. Dickman St. in West Covington was sold to Sagamore for $1.1 million. Today, the Tribune Media Company announced it has sold its 60-acre property at 300 E. Cromwell St. for $46.5 million to an undisclosed buyer.

From the press release:

Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) today announced that it has sold its property at 300 East Cromwell Street in Baltimore, Maryland, to a qualified buyer for a price of $46.5 million.  The net proceeds of the transaction, after deduction of transaction costs and taxes, are expected to be approximately $30 million.  The transaction closed on Friday, December 19, 2014.

The property at 300 East Cromwell Street is approximately 60 acres in size and includes the printing facility for the Tribune Publishing-owned Baltimore Sun, which has a long-term lease for the facility.  The facility and parking occupy roughly 23 acres of the property and the remaining property, totaling 37 acres, is undeveloped.

“We continue to take a disciplined but opportunistic approach to creating value with our significant portfolio of real estate assets,” said Peter Liguori, Tribune Media’s President and Chief Executive Officer.  “This sale underscores our strategy to manage, maximize, and monetize our real estate assets and creates value for our shareholders.”

In 2014, $82.6 million in real estate transactions totaling 125.8 acres have taken place overall at Port Covington. Sagamore Development also purchased a parcel at 301 E. Cromwell St. at a late 2012 auction for $2 million. This property, which was the site of a proposed mixed-use project from Streuver Bros. Eccles & Rouse that fell through, has been eyed as the future home of a distillery for Sagamore Spirit, Sagamore’s rye whiskey brand.

Development has moved forward at Sagamore’s portfolio of Port Covington as parcels have been entered into the Maryland Department of the Environment Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). The VCP looks at the history of the properties and the proposed land use, tests the soil and toxicology, and, if they find contaminants, asks for an environmental cleanup. Uses for housing requires stricter environmental requirements than for industrial, office or retail uses, and guidelines are even stricter for fee simple single family homes.

After news of the sale of the Port Covington shopping center in January 2014, SouthBMore.com readers were polled about what they would like to see at the space. The desire for better shopping options in the area was very evident from the poll results. In a close race, ‘Mixed-use with shopping, office and residential’ edged out ‘A more upscale shopping center’ by one vote, with the two combining for 64% of the total votes. Next was ‘An entertainment destination’ at 11% and the rest all fell below 10%. ‘A corporate headquarters’ received the least amount of votes at 5% and ‘Finish the current shopping center’ was next to last with just 7% of the vote.

In 2012, SouthBMore.com also took an in-depth look at why the Port Covington shopping center fell apart.

Construction has also been underway in 2014 at West Covington Park, a former brownfield on the shores of the Middle Branch just northwest of the Hanover Street Bridge. It is being transformed into a park with native vegetation, trees, educational signage, pathways, parking, and a pier out on the Middle Branch.

The future of Hanover St. and the Hanover Street Bridge will also determined through a Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT) study. The DOT’s $1.8 million study, called the Hanover Street Bridge Multimodal Corridor Plan, will identify feasible methods of rehabilitating or replacing the bridge with the goal of improving multimodal corridor accessibility and freight access, enhancing opportunities to economic and recreational opportunities, and improving the quality of life and safety of the corridor. In addition to the bridge, the plan also involves a 1.4 mile stretch of Hanover St. from Reedbird Ave. in Cherry Hill to Wells St. in the South Baltimore neighborhood.

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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