Residential Development Planned for the 43-Acre Westport Waterfront Parcel

| October 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Maryland development company Stonewall Capital is under contract to purchase the 43-acre waterfront parcel in Westport and is creating a master plan focused around residential development. Stonewall Capital owner Ray Jackson said planning for the project is already in process and concepts will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The Westport parcel is owned by Plank Industries, which is a partner in the Port Covington Development Team. The Port Covington Development Team is underway on a 235-acre, $5.5-billion development of Port Covington which sits across the Middle Branch from Port Covington. Plank Industries purchased the waterfront parcel in 2015, but never presented any plans for development.

In 2004, Turner Development proposed a development at the Westport parcel with 2 million sq. ft. of office space, 300,000 sq. ft. of retail, and 2,000 residential units, but never moved forward after it demolished the existing buildings and remediated some of the existing land. The property fell into foreclosure before finally being sold at auction to Plank Industries.

Stonewall Capital has a different vision for the property which is a transit-oriented-development focused around residential townhomes and apartment buildings. The Westport parcel is adjacent to a Light Rail station and close to I-295. It also has a long shoreline along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River that will be open to the public.

Jackson said Stonewall Capital is a raw land development company that creates a master plan and then brings in “strategic partners” to complete the development. Stonewall Capital will bring in a national homebuilder to build the townhomes and will partner with apartment builders for market rate and affordable housing buildings. Jackson said it’s too early in the process to predict how many housing units might be included in the project.

There will likely be retail that could include some restaurants along with service-oriented retail establishments like banks, dry cleaners, and salons. Stonewall Capital is working with Cushman Wakefield and CBRE to look at additional commercial uses for the development.

Jackson hopes to begin construction in Westport in the next 12 to 18 months.

Jackson said he was drawn to this opportunity because it is a “spectacular” and “breathtaking” piece of property that is “ripe for opportunity.” He added, “God doesn’t make any more waterfront property.”

Jackson said he will put a residential focus on the project because his company specializes in that type of development and he said it’s a pragmatic approach to this site which has seen a much larger proposal in the past. Stonewall Capital currently has large developments underway in Elkton, Prince George’s County, and Carlisle, PA. Stonewall Capital recently competed two townhome projects in Hampden and Medfield.

Stonewall Capital is working with community stakeholders to develop its master plan. Jackson has met with the Westport Community Economic & Development Corporation (CEDC) and the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership (SBGP), and had calls with City Council President Brandon Scott, who won the Democratic Primary for Mayor, and State Delegate Nick Mosby, who won the Democratic Primary for City Council President.

Jackson said a major goal of the project is to see investment come into the adjacent Westport neighborhood, which has many vacant homes and storefronts. He said he wants to work with Westport CEDC to help renovate some of the homes.

SBGP is a large funder of the Middle Branch Waterfront Master Plan which features a network of parks, trails, and public recreation opportunities along the Patapsco River’s 11-mile shoreline in South Baltimore including the Westport Parcel. A new waterfront promenade in Westport will help connect a five-plus-mile trail loop around the Middle Branch using the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge, Middle Branch Park, Westport, and a proposed pedestrian bridge between Port Covington and Westport.

Jackson said SBGP Executive Director Brad Rogers recommended a baseball and softball park in the Westport development to honor the neighborhood’s history with Negro League Baseball. Baltimore’s Negro League Baseball Stadium was once at the site of the Wheelabrator Baltimore trash incinerator facility, which is on a peninsula just north of this parcel. Jackson said he loves the idea and wants to work with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to make this a reality. He also envisions a monument honoring this history. Westport is also where late Baseball Hall of Famer Al Kaline grew up.

The Westport parcel is also eyed by Northeast Maglev as the site needed to bring the Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) to the northeast corridor of the United States. This is a high-speed train project that hopes to eventually connect Washington, D.C. to New York City. Northeast Maglev aims to build a Baltimore station in Cherry Hill, just south of the Westport Parcel, in Phase I. Phase II of the project will begin the connection to cities north of Baltimore and it will need a section of the Westport parcel to gradually get the train underground so it can tunnel under Downtown.

According to the FAQ on Northeast Maglev’s site, a viaduct when completed is 46 ft. wide and needs a 72 ft. wide work zone to build it. Most portions of the Westport waterfront parcel appear to be deeper than 400 ft. according to Google Maps.

Jackson said he’s aware of the plan and has started communication with the Northeast Maglev team.

There is a BGE substation adjacent to the Westport waterfront parcel. Jackson said as far as he knows BGE has no plans to shut it down.

Jackson also said he thinks his development can complement the Port Covington Development that has a denser master plan with a focus on commercial, office, entertainment uses, and multi-family buildings. Jackson said he will be in communication with Weller Development which is leading construction and development for the Port Covington Development Team.

This was first reported by Baltimore Business Journal. 

Screenshot from Google Maps 

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