A Food Market, Apartments, and Office Buildings Planned for First Phase of Port Covington

| September 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

The team from Weller Development, which is leading the development and construction of the 235-acre Port Covington redevelopment owned by Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Development Company and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, met with media today to outline the Chapter 1 scope of the project. Chapter 1, which will tackle the eastern section of Port Covington in the grass lots just east of The Baltimore Sun’s Sun Park along E. Cromwell St., will have 3.025 million sq. ft. of new buildings. These will include office, retail, and residential properties, along with a hotel.

The first phase of Chapter 1 will be called Rye Street Market, which is a multi-block, mixed-used development across from the Sagamore Spirit Distillery on E. Cromwell St. Rye Street Market is highlighted by a large food market sharing the same name. The market will be on the first floor of a block that will have four different buildings connected by a courtyard. This block will bring 242,000 sq. ft. of office space and retail. The second block just to the southeast will feature two residential apartment buildings that will include about 260 apartments in 277,000 sq. ft.

The buildings in Rye Street Market will be up to seven stories in height. The food market will have a rooftop deck that overlooks the Patapsco River. Weller Development is also considering a rooftop bar at Rye Street Market.

Weller Development expects the food market at Rye Street Market to be a mix of farmer’s market-type goods, prepared food stalls, and maker spaces for small food manufacturing businesses. Weller Development President Marc Weller said the market fills a need for more amenities in Port Covington.

Weller Development will be using Baltimore City-issued Tax Increment Financing (TIF) bonds to pay for the new infrastructure in Port Covington. This includes curbs, streets, sewers, gutters, and fiber. The company is currently working through approvals with the City and expects to receive the first issuance of bonds in the first half of next year which will lead to infrastructure work for Chapter 1 getting started.

The project, which is expected to take about 25 years, was approved for $534,795,000 in TIF bonds from Baltimore City in 2016. These bonds will be issued in phases.

Weller Development expects to begin construction on the new buildings in late 2019 with Rye Street Market opening in late 2020 or early 2021.

The team expects to announce committed tenants to Rye Street Tavern in the “very near future.”

The team at Weller Development said the market will drive the additional phases of Chapter 1 and noted a large office lease with a company could speed up the pace of office construction.

The company has not finalized a cost for Chapter 1 or Rye Street Market at this point.

The $5.5-billion Port Covington master plan 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.

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 which includes Rye Street Tavern. The Baltimore Sun also renovated Sun Park and relocated 300 employees to the site from Downtown in recent weeks. 

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

Phase I of Under Armour’s new 50-acre campus was expected to get underway last year, but officials from Under Armour have not set a timeline for the beginning of construction.

Renderings courtesy of Weller Development (click to enlarge)

Concept rendering from Weller Development of the entire Port Covington Master Plan 

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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, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.