Former Schuster Concrete Building Was Proposed as Amazon’s First Port Covington Office

| February 16, 2018 | 1 Comments

On Wednesday, officials from Plank Industries, the parent company of Sagamore Development Company which is the team behind the 235-acre Port Covington Redevelopment, and the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) unveiled its previously-confidential proposal for Amazon’s second North American headquarters (HQ2). Baltimore did not make the final 20 for cities/jurisdictions that Amazon is still considering.

As part of the proposal, Sagamore was offering Amazon the now-vacant Schuster Concrete building on E. McComas St. as the first building Amazon would occupy. The proposal noted that the 97,000 sq. ft. building constructed in 1920 could be expanded up to 500,000 sq. ft. with a four-story addition behind the front facade.

The building was originally the home Lyon, Conklin & Co.

The Schuster Concrete building is adjacent to a vacant lot that was formerly part of Atlantic Forest, which relocated to Tradepoint Atlantic in Sparrows Point last year.

Amazon is looking to grow its HQ2 to 8,000,000 sq. ft. While Sagamore offered a “blank slate” of 177 acres that Amazon could build its campus on, the proposal shows renderings of tall buildings scattered around Port Covington on both sides of S. Hanover St. and north of Cromwell St. Amazon buildings were not proposed for East Waterfront District near Sagamore Spirit or at the site of future campus of Under Armour and the current Locke Insulators facility on the southern peninsula of Port Covington south of Cromwell St. Locke Insulators recently announced it was closing, but still owns the 24.47-acre property.

The proposal also noted that Amazon could design buildings with “unlimited height.”

HQ2 rendering courtesy of Plank Industries (click to enlarge)

While Amazon did not select Baltimore for its final 20, Plank Industries CEO Tom Geddes noted that Amazon officials loved the idea of what the largely-undeveloped Port Covington offers for installing new technology infrastructure. Chapter 1 of infrastructure improvements is expected to begin at Port Covington this year. The proposal highlighted its proximity to fellow Port Covington business TE Subsea Communications which would “give it the ability to establish a direct fiber-optic connection to anywhere in the world.”

The proposal is available at thismustbetheplace.city. (Note: it will be online for a week)

Amazon cited tech talent as the most important aspect in its search for the HQ2 location.

Sagamore’s selection of the Schuster Concrete building for this proposal provides some insight into what could be one of the next buildings to get redeveloped in Port Covington.

Marc Weller, president of Sagamore Development Company, issued the following statement to SouthBMore.com. “While we identified the former Schuster Concrete building as one we could bring online quickly to accommodate Amazon’s initial requirement, we have quite a bit of flexibility with respect to what we can do with the property and are evaluating a variety of interesting possible uses.”

The Schuster Concrete building is adjacent to an under-construction bike and pedestrian trail system that will allow better access from the South Baltimore Peninsula neighborhoods to attractions and workplaces in Port Covington. The Schuster Concrete building is also adjacent to Swann Park and a block from City Garage, which was redeveloped in 2015 into a 133,000 sq. ft. office building that is “a hub for manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Phase I of Under Armour’s new 50-acre campus is expected to be the next major construction project in Port Covington.

Already completed at Port Covington by Sagamore is City Garage; Building 37, which converted the former Sam’s Club into a 170,000 sq. ft. Under Armour office building and amenity space; 240 W. Dickman St., which is undergoing renovations and will be the home of workforce development non-profits; and the four-building Sagamore Spirit whiskey distillery. The Baltimore Sun also announced it will be moving 300 employees into a redeveloped space at its Sun Park building this summer.

SouthBMore.com marked the Schuster site in this Plank Industries rendering

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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