10-Story, 333,000 Sq. Ft. Office and Biotech Building Planned for Martin Luther King Boulevard

| May 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

The University of Maryland BioPark is planning its next building as developer Wexford Science & Technology revealed plans to the Baltimore City Planning Department’s Urban Design & Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP) on Thursday for a $200-plus million, 10-story, 333,000 sq. ft. office and biotech building at the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and W. Baltimore St. The new building is Phase One of a two-phrase project that will redevelop a Poppleton/Hollins Market block that borders Martin Luther King Blvd., W. Baltimore St., W. Fayette St., and N. Fremont Ave.

Wexford and the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) were planning to build the next office building at 873 W. Baltimore St., but when the team was able to acquire the properties to develop this “landmark site,” it immediately got put to the front of the line. Just across Martin Luther King Blvd. is the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), so the team is hoping this property will serve as a junction between the BioPark and UMMC. They are also hoping it will be a “grand gateway” to West Baltimore.

UMB and Wexford is also hoping to improve pedestrian crossings at this busy intersection.

The project site currently includes green spaces, a parking lot, and several open spaces created by demolishing a Chinese carryout restaurant, rowhomes, and a former church. A historic firehouse with a castle facade remains on the block and will be renovated into a restaurant as part of the project. There are two properties on the block not controlled by Wexford: the Silver Moon Restaurant and Carry Out and an adjacent rowhome. Those properties will remain.

873 W. Baltimore St. is currently a hole in ground from pre-development work. Gregory Herlong, director of development for Wexford, told SouthBMore.com the site will be filled in with dirt and become a temporary green space. University of Maryland and Wexford plan to develop the site at a later date.

Wexford has developed three properties at the BioPark along W. Baltimore St. These include a 120,000 sq. ft. office building at 800 W. Baltimore St., a 238,000 sq. ft. office building at 801 W. Baltimore St., and a 638-space parking garage at 1 N. Poppleton St. that is also the home of the campus police substation.

The Maryland Proton Treatment Center, the Maryland Forensic Medical Center, and the Lion Brothers building where UMB runs The GRID are also part of the BioPark footprint.

UMB acquired a 15,232 sq. ft., four-story building built in 1917 at 16 S. Poppleton St. in November of last year. It plans on converting it into a community center for the surrounding Southwest Baltimore communities.

The new 10-story building at Martin Luther King Blvd. and W. Baltimore St. will be mostly glass and could have retail along Martin Luther King Blvd. It will have a first-floor lobby, cafe, and co-working space, which University of Maryland and Wexford wants to be a popular gathering spot and which will lead out to a courtyard that sits in between the building and the firehouse. Across W. Baltimore St. is a triangular park which the team hopes to improve and create into another popular gathering space.

The second floor of the building will have a 250- to 300-person event space. The top floors will be for offices and bio tech labs.

Wexford will wrap the perimeter of the building in new landscaping.

A two-level, 300-space parking garage will be built below ground on the entire site and will serve both phases.

Wexford hopes to break ground this year and expects a two-year construction timeline. The company is currently in discussion with tenants to fill the space.

Wexford is working with the design team of ZGF, Mahan Rykiel Associates, and STV on the project.

Herlong said Phase Two’s use will be “market-driven” but could be another lab/office building or a residential project. It is likely going to be six stories to match the adjacent office buildings to the west.

Rendering courtesy of Wexford Science & Technology, ZGF, Mahan Rykiel Associates, and STV

Project site

Firehouse and Silver Moon Restaurant and Carry Out

873 W. Baltimore St. 

16 S. Poppleton St. 

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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.