Two New Developers Taking Over Port Covington Project, Weller Development to Exit

| May 20, 2022 | 0 Comments

Last week, Sagamore Ventures and the Urban Investment Group within Goldman Sachs Asset Management announced the addition of development firms MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners to the Port Covington project. Weller Development, the current development partner on the Port Covington Development Team, will exit the project at the completion of the 1.1 million sq. ft. Chapter 1B phase in Fall 2023.

MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners will lead the future development efforts outside of Chapter 1B. They will continue with the vision and transformation of the 177-acre South Baltimore project with an approved master plan consisting of up to 14 million sq. ft. of mixed-use development and 40 acres of open space across 45 new city blocks. The new development teams are direct investors leading all leasing, as well as future development and construction.

Chapter 1B consists 586,000 sq. ft. of residential, 440,000 sq. ft. of office, 116,000 sq. ft. of retail, more than 1,000 parking spaces, and ten acres of parks and public space. These buildings and spaces will be completed in December and additional infrastructure will be completed by Weller Development by Fall 2023.

“With a dynamic and unsurpassed waterfront location, including direct access to I95 and unparalleled corporate branding opportunities, Port Covington is perfectly positioned for brands looking for more than a headquarters location, and are instead focused on community and impact,” said Kevin Plank, Principal and CEO of Sagamore Ventures, in a press release.

Plank added, “As the first phase of Port Covington springs from the ground, we are thrilled to grow our development team with the national, proven experience and scale of MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners who will support the ambition and vision we have for the project. Getting the project to this point has been nothing short of herculean by Weller Development Company and the entire Port Covington Development Team. With the support of Goldman Sachs, a catalytic anchor in Under Armour, and additional, innovative development partners in place, Port Covington is poised to attract top-tier commercial tenants and fulfill its potential for Baltimore and continue creating a new model for equitable and impactful urban development.”

New York-based MAG Partners is lead by MaryAnne Gilmartin who has worked in development over the past three decades and started her own company in 2020. She has worked on projects such as The New York Times building in Manhattan, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the 14-building Pacific Park Brooklyn mixed-use project.

Gilmartin told SouthBMore.com she met Plank in February 2021 through friend Jody Clark, who is the chief of real estate for Sagamore Ventures, and started to look at the Port Covington project.

“My team started to look at it, made some recommendations, and somewhere along the way I fell in love with it,” she said. “There is no greater spokesperson for Baltimore I’ve come across than Kevin Plank.” 

Gilmartin called her friend Victor MacFarlane of MacFarlane Partners. “He only works on things with purpose and only works in cities,” she said, noting how she told MacFarlane, “If I do it, I want to do it with someone like you.”

Gilmartin said MacFarlane is “probably one of the largest Black developers in the country.”

The two formed a partnership and then not only agreed to join the project, they invested in it as well.

This is Gilmartin’s first project outside of the New York City metro area.

MacFarlane Partners is based in San Francisco and MacFarlane has worked in development for 40 years. The company has worked on a large portfolio of developments in California, Seattle, New York City, and the Washington, D.C. area. Projects around Washington D.C. include Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, North Bethesda Market, and Sedona | Slate in Arlington.

The new development partners will continue the project’s commitment to the community benefits agreement with Baltimore City and the South Baltimore 7 Coalition.

“Community and purpose are at the core of everything we do. Coupled with the vision and stewardship of Kevin and his team at Sagamore Ventures and Weller Development Company, we are excited to join the great work already underway which is uniquely focused on impact,” said Gilmartin in a press release. “We are grateful to have had the opportunity to ground our team in the long-term vision for Port Covington and are looking forward to implementing new strategies to bring innovators to Baltimore City and ensure the neighborhood is built for all its constituents – particularly local residents.”

“Our business is focused on high-impact investments in key gateway cities and Port Covington perfectly aligns with our vision of smart, urban growth,” said MacFarlane in a press release. “Port Covington is a model of sustainability, inclusivity and forward-thinking development that is vital to the lasting success of our urban communities nationally. We are excited to partner with MAG Partners and Sagamore Ventures to advance the next chapter of Port Covington’s story.”

“Goldman Sachs invested in Port Covington because we have great confidence in the vision, and the opportunity to create something that delivers true community benefits for the city of Baltimore. As such, the Sagamore Ventures and Goldman Sachs teams proactively sought the support of nationally-experienced development partners that are uniquely qualified to enhance our mission,” said Michael Lohr, managing director of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, in a press release. “The growing development team reflects both our ambition for Port Covington and commitment to delivering a world-class project that will drive renewed community investment and revitalize South Baltimore’s waterfront. Building on the achievements of the talented team at WDC, we are poised to deliver on this commitment.”

“We are so thankful to Goldman Sachs and Sagamore Ventures for their commitment to Baltimore; together, we exceeded expectations and delivered on the promises and commitments made to the community and the City. As the project evolves, we are excited to pass the reins to MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners to develop future phases,” said Marc Weller, founding partner of Weller Development Company. “Building on the momentum of the project and the ongoing efforts with the City’s community partners will be an important priority for the Weller Development Company construction team.”

Weller told SouthBMore.com, “the plan was always to go and find other developers who wanted to build inside Port Covington. It took one developer to take the lead on this project so that other developers could then come in and take other parcels.”

Weller Development is working on a project on Grand Bahama, and is bidding on a mixed-used development in Richmond, VA centered around a new minor league baseball stadium.

Weller told SouthBMore.com the company is focusing on the southeast of the United States.

Renderings courtesy of the Port Covington Development Team (click to enlarge)

SouthBMore.com photos

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 [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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