Construction Completed on New BARCS and Animal Services Facility in Cherry Hill

| May 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Today, the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) announced the completion of the new $12-million, 37,000 sq. ft. Baltimore City Animal Services and Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS) facility located at 2490 Giles Rd. in Cherry Hill. Animal Services and BARCS will begin relocating from 301 Stockholm St. in Stadium Area today.

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 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 CBAC (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, began construction in June of last year.

The new Animal Control and BARCS facility has a large green space; expanded veterinary exam space and surgery facilities; space for farm animals, small mammals, and reptiles; a new HVAC system to prevent the spread of disease; and better controlled and more effective quarantine areas.

The expanded space also enables BARCS’ different programs to be housed under one building to work more efficiently. BARCS will bring its dog intake function, fundraising team, and Community Cats Program into one facility.

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 is from 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 raised some of its own money for its space.

“Baltimore City Animal Services has needed a bigger facility for some time, and BDC was able to bring together public and private partners to make this project a reality for the city,” said Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in a press release. “This beautiful new facility will enable Office of Animal Control and BARCS to expand their services to better protect the health and safety of both people and animals in Baltimore City.”

“BARCS strives to enhance the quality of life in our community through compassionate services to animals and people,” said Jennifer Brause, founder and executive director of BARCS, in a press release. “BARCS’ goal in the new facility is to continue improving the state of animal welfare in Baltimore City, work with pet owners in crisis to find the best possible outcomes, and care for 12,000 homeless, abused and neglected animals annually.”

“This project was a public-private partnership in the truest sense of the word,” said Colin Tarbert, president and CEO of BDC, in a press release. “Through this partnership, the city gets a state-of-the-art, expanded facility and the city is one step closer to a more robust entertainment corridor along Warner Street, which will attract residents and tourists alike.”

“We’re pleased to join the city and the Baltimore Development Corporation in celebrating the completion of this world-class facility,” said Horseshoe Baltimore Senior Vice President and General Manager Randy Conroy in a press release. “This project is a direct result of the public and private sectors working together to not only enhance critical service offerings in the city but also lay the groundwork for future economic development opportunities in South Baltimore.”

Once Animal Control and BARCS have fully vacated the building in the coming weeks, CBAC and Topgolf will be able to begin demolition and construction on the new sports bar and driving range.

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 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 since 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.

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 has also announced plans for a $50-million, 80,000 sq. ft., 3,750-seat venue called The Paramount Baltimore for 1300 Warner St. This two-acre property is across the street from Topgolf and has an existing 91,744 sq. ft. brick building that will be demolished. Work is expected to begin on The Paramount site in the coming weeks.

Photos by Max Franz

Photos of the The Paramount Baltimore presentation at UDAAP 

Current BARCS and Animal Control property 

Lot J

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Founder and Publisher of, 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 and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.