The Biggest South Baltimore Stories of 2015

| January 4, 2016 | 2 Comments

Port Covington Begins Transformation 

Throughout recent years Sagamore Development acquired a total of approximately 200 acres of land in Port Covington and now the transformation of this area, one which has previously been highlighted by failed developments, has begun. Under Armour revealed part of its vision for a new 3 million sq. ft. campus at the site of Port Covington shopping center and work is wrapping up on a new 170,000 sq. ft. office building for its finance and IT department at the former Sam’s Club. The building is expected to open in early 2015 and a master plan for the new campus is expected in the near future.

IMG_9631The first Sagamore project to open in Port Covington was City Garage, a 133,000 sq. ft. facility at 101 W. Dickman St. described as “a hub for manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship.” City Garage features The Foundery, a maker space that will provide community access to state-of-the-art industrial-grade tools, education, and workforce development opportunities; The Under Armour Lighthouse dedicated to footwear technology; and, Main Street, which features an event space as well as well as workspaces for tenants including Tapologie, Nutreatious and Gundalow Juice. Main Street is also providing a temporary home for Sagamore Spirit. 

The first new-construction project began in August as Sagamore Spirit Distillery got underway. Sagamore Spirit is a new rye whiskey company inspired by Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Farm. The new facility includes a 27,000 sq. ft. distillery building, a 22,000 sq. ft. processing building, a 10,000 sq. ft. restaurant, and a 2,000 sq. ft. support building, all of which will surround a green courtyard space. There will also be a 120-foot water tower which will hold water from the Sagamore Farm spring. Work is expected to finish in the fall.

Sagamore also recently completed landscaping improvements to the area and the National Aquarium opened West Covington Park in the fall.

Sagamore additionally purchased a 45-acre site in Westport where Westport Waterfront was once proposed, but plans for the site have not yet been revealed.

Renderings via Ayers Saint Gross:

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South Baltimore Continues to Add Abundance of New Homes recently calculated that the South Baltimore peninsula added 261 housing units (228 apartments, 33 townhomes) in 2015 and there are currently 691 housing units under construction (624 apartments, 67 townhomes). Additional housing is also on the horizon as 1058-1090 housing units have been planned (931-963 apartments, 97 townhomes, 30 condominiums). In total, South Baltimore could see an additional 1749-1781 housing units in the future.

The largest projects under construction are Banner Hill in Otterbein and Anthem House in Locust Point. The biggest project planned is a 392-unit apartment building at 414 Light St. in Otterbein.

Residential development is not expected to stop there as a four- to five-story apartment building is in the planning stages for the former Rallo’s parking lot in Riverside and plans for an additional phase at Locust Point’s McHenry Row is expected soon.

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South Baltimore Retail Spaces Filling Up

There are a lot of new retail businesses in South Baltimore leaving prospective tenants with fewer options than they had one year ago. A trend has continued where long-vacant spaces are being filled. Last year, City Nails opened in a space vacant for more than 12 years, Forever Yogurt opened in a space vacant for several years, Unleashed by Petco opened in two former retail spaces (one of which was vacant for three years), and The Local Fry opened in a space vacant for almost three years. This year, Blue Moon Café opened in a space vacant for almost three years; Himalayan Bistro will be opening in a space next door, which has also been vacant almost three years; and, Federal Hill Natural Market opened in a space vacant for more than seven years.

Other notable 2015 openings on the peninsula include 3 Bean Coffee, Access Capital Mortgage, Brightside Tattoo Shop, Charm City Healing – Acupuncture + Wellness, El Pollo Real, Innovation Eye Care, Her Heelz Boutique, Mi & Yu Noodle BarPiaza, Punch!, and The Fashion Exchange. CorePower Yoga, Das Bier Haus, Grano Pasta Bar, and Insomnia Cookies are all also expected to open soon. New spaces were additionally added at 2 East Wells and 1201 South Charles, but tenants have not yet been announced.

Closings in 2015 include Breadbangers, Hunan Empire, Grille on the Hill, Sip Wine & Kitchen, Tuscan Fresh, and Yogi Castle.

Pigtown Main Street also had a banner year as it added nine new businesses including restaurants Breaking Bread and Shakers Fine Spirits & Wine Lounge, and boutiques Fashion Kings and F.L.Y.E, as well as City Tobacco & Vape Outlet, HomeFree-USA, and Urban Behavioral Associates. Culinary Architecture and Lilly Madison Furniture Store are expected to open in early 2016.

In the Stadium Area sports bar Game opened and Hammerjack’s is expected to open in late 2016.

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A New Vision for Cross Street Market 

2015 looked like the year that Cross Street Market would begin a transformation after local developers Caves Valley Partners (CVP) and War Horse, LLC entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Privilege (“ENP”) agreement with the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation (BPMC) for the redevelopment of the market, but construction has yet to begin as the city and the development team have not yet reached a final agreement. Arsh Mirmiran of CVP told that they are still finalizing construction costs.

Some renderings of the proposed changes were released, however, exciting residents and making it one of’s most read articles of 2015.

The Inner Harbor to Get a Reboot 

The Inner Harbor has been one of Baltimore’s biggest attractions since its redevelopment in the 1970s and 1980s and several projects are in the works that could reboot the popular area. Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, which purchased Harborplace at the Inner Harbor in 2013, is planning a redevelopment of the two shopping pavilions. This will include renovating the exterior facades and signage, adding landscaping and outdoor dining spaces, and hiding the loading docks and trash areas. The Pratt Street Pavilion will see the most dramatic changes as the building will be turned “inside out” by eliminating the mall-style layout. First floor tenants would go all the way through from the street to the harbor and will be accessible from either side. A food market called The Market at Harborplace will also be created on the second floor.

Downtown Partnership’s plan to renovate McKeldin Square is also moving forward. The plan includes demolishing McKeldin Fountain, which they described as obstructing views and taking up 48% of the approximately two-acre park. The redevelopment features a smaller flush-to-the-ground fountain as well as pathways, grassy areas, and vegetation that reflects landscape typologies of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Though Downtown Partnership and the Urban Design & Architecture Review Panel (UDARP) have been in disagreement over the project, they are hoping to begin preliminary work in the spring. They are hoping to eventually eliminate the Calvert St. connector that separates the park from the Inner Harbor.

Renovations should also be coming soon to Rash Field. Mahan Rykiel, who is also the architect for McKeldin Square, was chosen by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore for the project. The plan must include areas for beach volleyball, outdoor exercise equipment and events as well as renovated bathrooms and a relocation of the Pride Memorial and Carousel. Public meetings are planned for January 6th, January 25th, and March 29th. Work on this $3 million phase is expected to begin in late 2016.


A Lot of Movement in the South Baltimore Office Market 

FullSizeRender 92015 saw a lot of action in the office space market as projects were completed, planned, and went under construction. Along with the office developments at Port Covington, the redevelopment of the former Phillips Headquarters at McHenry Row is wrapping up and includes 60,000 sq. ft. for MAIF, 47,000 sq. ft. for Under Armour, 13,000 sq. ft. for MindGrub, 12,000 sq. ft. for Shapiro & Co., and 10,000 sq. ft. for Kiddie Academy.

Planning is underway for the Stadium Square development in South Baltimore/Sharp-Leadenhall. A 60,000 sq. ft. office building, including a 27,000 sq. ft. lease for United Way of Central Maryland, at the development is expected to begin construction soon. An adjacent 1.3 acre lot was also purchased with plans for another office building.

PlanitRender_Outside1Additional projects under construction include a 50,000 sq. ft. office redevelopment of The Parker Building in Stadium Area, a redeveloped Syrup KING Molasses building on Key Hwy., and a new 30,000 sq. ft. office for Planit. The Pabst Castle in South Baltimore is also currently under construction for office use.

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Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.