Mid-Atlantic’s Coastal Elites
Metro D.C., Baltimore’s high barriers to entry, favorable demographics support new retail projects and redevelopments underway.
Written by John Nelson
This year marks a significant milestone in Baltimore as Weller Development plans to break ground on Chapter 1 of Port Covington, a 235-acre mixed-use redevelopment project in south Baltimore. Apparel brand Under Armour owns 58 acres of land within the project, and the rest is jointly owned by Under Armour-backed Plank Industries and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, which committed $233 million of equity in the project in 2017.
Sagamore Spirit Distillery opened at Port Covington in 2017. Opening that same year adjacent to the venue was Rye Street Tavern, an American restaurant headed by James Beard award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini and his firm NoHo Hospitality Group.
In addition to these uses, Chapter 1 of Port Covington will span about 3 million square feet and feature office space, apartments, 269,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, hotels and a live music venue. The retail and dining components of Chapter 1 are critical to the long-term success of Port Covington, says Steven Siegel, partner at Weller Development. The project will feature pedestrian-oriented retail space, as well as a 13,000-square-foot market and food hall.
“A lot of Baltimore’s most successful areas are built around markets, and we plan to do that here,” says Siegel.
Siegel says the firm isn’t engaging in leasing discussions for its inline retail tenants yet but is focusing first on its anchor tenants since they’ll be the table setter for the project. Weller says that the firm hopes to feature a blend of local, regional and national tenants.
“It’s a very interesting mix that will not only serve local residents and daytime workers, it will also attract people off Interstate 95,” says Weller. “We have three exits off the interstate that go directly into Port Covington. There’s an incredible opportunity to get people off the road and into our project.”
The project will also feature 2.5 miles of waterfront on the Patapsco River, which Weller says is the forgotten ingredient for the project. “We have a significant amount of shoreline in Port Covington and some bulkhead in our first phase,” says Weller. “Combine that with a lack of marinas and boats, we have a beautiful view across the water almost out to the bay across the Key Bridge.”
Siegel says that Baltimore doesn’t yet have a waterfront main street so Port Covington could fill that void. Weller Development plans to break ground on Chapter 1 in the spring and begin building in full force in the fall and winter of this year. The company says the combination of uses, waterfront access and presence of Under Armour’s world campus will set this project apart from anything else in the trade area or beyond.
“All in all there’s nothing like Port Covington,” says Weller. “It’s its own thing.”
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