Construction Begins on New $12 Million-Plus Animal Services and BARCS Facility, Topgolf Plan Progressing

| June 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

Construction began a couple weeks ago on a new $12 million-plus, 37,400 sq. ft. facility for the Office of Animal Control and nonprofit Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS) facility at 2490 Giles Rd. in Cherry Hill. Animal Control and BARCS are relocating from 301 Stockholm St. in Stadium Area, and will make the move early next year.

2490 Giles Rd. is a City-owned, 3.8-acre property that consisted of two buildings before they were demolished. One building was in a state of disrepair and the other was the home of MedMark Treatment Centers Cherry Hill which recently relocated to 1801 Cherry Hill Rd.

In March 2017, the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Animal Control and BARCS site which required finding a new home for Animal Control and BARCS. Topgolf and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s owner CBAC Gaming (the partnership of Caesars, Rock Gaming, and Caves Valley Partners (CVP)) was the lone bidder. CBAC identified the site in Cherry Hill and prepped the site for BDC and its South Baltimore-based contractor, Plano Coudon, to begin construction.

CBAC and Topgolf will be constructing a 65,000 sq. ft., approximately six-acre Topgolf facility at the current site of Animal Control and BARCS along with adjacent Parking Lot J and a small City-owned property separating the two. CBAC and Topgolf purchased the project site for $7.5 million which is going towards the new Animal Control and BARCS facility.

The rest of the funding for the $12 million-plus Animal Control and BARCS facility will be funded by the Baltimore Casino Local Development Council (LDC), which manages half of the approximately $14 million a year in casino impact grants that South Baltimore receives from Maryland casinos. The LDC spends funds at the direction of the Mayor of Baltimore. The other half of the impact grants are managed by the nonprofit South Baltimore Gateway Partnership.

BARCS will be a tenant of this new City-owned building and will raise some of its own money for its space.

BDC Executive Vice President Kimberly Clark told SouthBMore.com the new Animal Control and BARCS facility will be very modern and will take into account all the changes in animal care since the current facility was built more than 30 years.

“It’s a great piece of property and the facility will really serve the needs of the animal services and BARCS,” said Clark. “We are really excited.”

The new facility will have a large parking lot and wooded outdoor spaces to take the dogs for walks. The building design will have a gray facade with large windows at the entrance, a yellow accent wall, new landscaping, and a gated front yard with a black fence. The building was designed by Manns Woodward Studios, Inc.

Construction is expected to be completed on the new Animal Control and BARCS facility by the end of the year. Animal Control and BARCS will begin making the move in early-2020.

CBAC originally had a building under contract at 2800 Wegworth Ln. in Lakeland for a new BARCS facility, but the deal fell through because “the seller of that property was unable to find a suitable site to relocate its business,” according a Baltimore City Board of Estimates agenda.

Once Animal Control and BARCS exit 301 Stockholm St., construction can begin on Topgolf. The sports bar building of Topgolf will be constructed along Warner St. in the current site of Lot J, and the current site of Animal Control and BARCS will be the outfield for the golf driving range. The outfield will end at the Light Rail bridge. Stockholm St. will get new landscaping and will have netting for the driving range.

Topgolf made it official it was moving to Stadium Area in May 2018 and has been working through the planning process. Being that the site is on the Ridgely’s Cove waterfront and in a Critical Area of the Chesapeake Bay, it requires Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Critical Area Commission approvals to go along with typical Baltimore Planning Department design approvals.

Topgolf will have waterfront views from its swinging bays out to Ridgely’s Cove and part of the outfield will go over an outfall that goes between the properties it is replacing. Topgolf is working on reworking that outfall. A trash interceptor will be added to prevent runoff trash from reaching the water.

Topgolf has not publicly released any renderings of the project at this time.

Topgolf’s main attraction is its point-scoring golf games using microchipped balls that instantly score themselves, showing players the accuracy and distance of their shots on a TV screen in their hitting bay. It is designed for players of all skill levels.

Topgolf COO Craig Kessler said at last year’s announcement that the sports bar will be one of the best places around to watch televised sports. Topgolf will also host live music and events for all ages. It will also have a “chef-driven menu and top-shelf drinks.”

Topgolf will create 500 full- and part-time jobs. It expects about 450,000 visitors a year. Topgolf operates 41 venues around the world, attracting 13 million visitors annually.

Another aspect to the Topgolf project and BARCS relocation is a renovation of the park located behind the Horseshoe Casino Garage and along the Gwynns Falls Trail and Ridgely’s Cove. This improvement will begin around the same time Topgolf begins construction.

Topgolf will be part of an entertainment-focused mixed used development by CBAC along Warner St. which connects Horseshoe Casino Baltimore to M&T Bank Stadium.

CBAC acquired 1400 Warner St., a 41,193 sq. ft. building on a 1.476 acre property in May of 2018. CBAC acquired the four-story, 91,744 sq. ft. building at 1300 Warner St. in January 2018 for $4.8 million. The long-vacant building on 1.3 acres was built in 1920. It sits directly across Ostend St. from M&T Bank Stadium. CBAC also purchased the 31,377 sq. ft., 1.26 acre property at 1301 Warner St. in 2016 for $3,222,500.

CBAC has not yet released a vision or announced any additional partners for this mixed-use development. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore General Manager Erin Chamberlin told SouthBMore.com in April, “We’ve been designing some new projects, we are signing with a retail broker soon and looking forward to firming up plans to announce development.” She added that CBAC officials met with Baltimore City officials in recent months to look at some streetscape improvements in the district.

Clark told SouthBMore.com the CSX railroad crossing near Warner St. and Stockholm St. is a concern and that BDC is looking for a safer way to get people across the tracks, potentially via a walking bridge.

Stadium Area has become a hotbed for investment and redevelopment with its close proximity to Horseshoe Casino and the $300+-million, mixed-use Stadium Square development by CVP. The Topgolf site is across the street from The Parker Building at 333 W. Ostend St. which underwent a conversion to a 50,000 sq. ft. office building with wedding venue. A block east at 175 W. Ostend St. is a 60,000 sq. ft. business park that is adding 45,000 sq. ft. of office space. It is already the home of a 10,000 sq. ft. Checkerspot Brewing Company brewery and tap room. Adjacent to 1300 Warner St. is 1300 Russell St. which is the future home of Hammerjacks, a 48,000 sq. ft. music venue and club that is under construction.

The Ravens are also underway on a $120-million renovation to M&T Bank Stadium. Ravens Walk between M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards is undergoing an approximately $5.1-million renovation. A new $7.2-million MARC train station additionally is under construction at Camden Station.

Rendering courtesy of BDC and Manns Woodward Studios, Inc.

Construction site of 2490 Giles Rd. 

2490 Giles Rd. last year as demolition was beginning 

 

BARCS

Lot J

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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