Phase 1B Gets Underway at Port Covington

| April 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

Work is underway on Phase 1B at the 235-acre Port Covington redevelopment. This phase will add new infrastructure and buildings on the fields around The Baltimore Sun’s Sun Park facility. The property is bordered by Hanover St., McComas St., and Cromwell St.

The Port Covington redevelopment is a partnership between Sagamore Development Company, which is a part of Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank’s Plank Industries, and New York’s Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. Sagamore Development assembled the properties and designed a master plan that was approved by Baltimore City and Goldman Sachs made a $233 million-investment in the project. Weller Development Compapny will be leading the development and construction.

Weller Development’s plan for Port Covington includes Under Armour’s 50-acre, 3.9 million sq. ft. global headquarters at the former Port Covington Shopping Center; 1,500,000 sq. ft. of destination, attraction, entertainment, and specialty retail; 500,000 sq. ft. of “maker” and industrial/light manufacturing space; 200-plus hotel rooms; 1,500,000 sq. ft. of office space (in addition to the Under Armour Global Headquarters); and civic and cultural uses including 40-plus acres of public parks, a public waterfront, and other public facilities. It also includes more than 7,500 residential units, which could total up to 14,000 units comprised of rental and for-sale properties at various price-points, and potential sites for a post office, school, library, fire station, police paddock, and cultural center. The development includes 2.5 miles of waterfront along the Middle Branch.

Construction of new infrastructure is already underway in Phase 1B and Weller Development is expecting to begin constructing the new buildings in the fourth quarter of this year. The buildings will be positioned along Cromwell St. near the Sagamore Spirit Distillery. A new road, Purple St., will also be built to give access to Sun Park so that Weller Development can redevelop Sun Park’s current parking lots and entrance along Cromwell St.

The infrastructure improvements currently underway will be funded with private equity, not with the $534,795,000  in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) bonds that were approved by Baltimore City. Weller Development is hoping to get approval for the first round of bonds by the end of this year.

From a rendering in Sagamore Development Company’s RFQ for Chapter 1 infrastructure improvements  (click to enlarge)

The three buildings Weller Development is expecting to begin construction on this year could total about 200,000 sq. ft. and will be a mix of retail and office space. These buildings are expected to be completed in 2020. Specific plans and renderings have not yet been revealed.

Officials from the Port Covington team said on Tuesday that they are receiving a lot of interest from companies that are looking for anywhere from 10,000 sq. ft. of office space to 300,000 sq. ft. If a 300,000 sq. ft. tenant is signed, Weller Development would adjust the development schedule to accommodate the additional office space.

Margaret Anadu, managing director of Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, said that interest has been high due to the site’s access to I-95 and additional highways. She also highlighted the site’s access to the waterfront and said there is “so much interest” from national tenants.

“The level of interest right now is far more than you would typically see for an investment at this stage,” said Anadu.

Marc Weller, founding partner of Weller Development, noted the success of projects by 28 Walker in adjacent Locust Point that have quickly leased office space in part because of the great highway access.

Weller also said that they are looking to bring companies into the city rather than moving current Baltimore companies to Port Covington.

A new United Soccer League franchise is coming to Baltimore and has not yet announced where they will be building a stadium. Weller said the Port Covington team would be open to having a soccer stadium in Port Covington. He also said they have been approached by several companies looking to build an indoor sports and entertainment arena.

Another change coming to Port Covington will be a new use for the former Schuster Concrete Building on McComas St. adjacent to Swann Park. Weller said that 97,000 sq. ft. building will have an immediate use in the next six months and that more information will be announced next month. “There are some really clever ideas with the activation plan that we have and we are in the process of finalizing some of that,” said Weller.

The Schuster building was proposed as the first office building in a bid to lure Amazon’s second North American headquarters.

Already completed at Port Covington in Phase 1A is City Garage, which redeveloped an existing building in 2015 into a 133,000 sq. ft. office building that is “a hub for manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship;” 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 underwent some renovations and is now the home to 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.

The Port Covington team has also made public space improvements which include landscaped medians, taking over maintenance of West Covington Park, a new mural, and adding new off-street and on-street bike and pedestrian paths.

The team at Port Covington is also bringing new outdoor events to the site including MDSPCA’s Festival for the Animals on May 5th and Success Fest on June 8th.

Phase I of Under Armour’s new 50-acre campus, which will be developed by Under Armour at the former Port Covington Shopping Center, is expected to be one of the next major construction project in Port Covington. This was expected to get underway last year, but officials from Under Armour have not set a timeline for the beginning of construction.

This article has been updated

Construction on the new infrastructure 

Port Covington rendering from the Amazon proposal 

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