Transactions - JUNE 2, 2017

Regent Co. to propose $10b revitalization plan of Baltimore

by Andrea Waitrovich

Virginia developer Regent Co. will be proposing a $10 billion public-private plan to revitalize the city of Baltimore as part of a strategy dubbed “The Baltimore Renaissance.”

The Housing and Urban Affairs Committee of the city council has set a tentative hearing on June 27 at 2 p.m.

The proposal would see the development or redevelopment of 70 sites throughout the city with at least five projects guaranteed for each city council district.

When the 15-year project is complete, it could generate $156 million in extra tax revenue to Baltimore each year.

The proposal is part of the city’s efforts in transforming itself into a more desirable city. Recently, the Maryland Stadium Authority ordered a $460,000 study to determine whether the best approach to bringing in more convention business would be an extension of the Baltimore Convention Center, along with a new arena and hotel downtown. Baltimore has reportedly lost convention business to nearby Washington, D.C., because of its relatively smaller meeting and event capacity.

Ongoing development projects include the Federal Railroad Administration, which will replace a 144-year-old Amtrak-owned train tunnel under Baltimore for an estimated $4.5 billion and a planned renovation of Baltimore’s Penn Station, which has not started yet; a redevelopment team will be announced this summer.

Another project under way in Baltimore is Under Armour’s new 50-acre campus, which is part of the $5.5 billion development in the Port Covington area of the city.

In the apartment sector, more than 5,600 residential units, mostly apartments, were under construction in Baltimore and 1,800 more were approved as of April, according to The Baltimore Sun. Another 1,400 units opened just last year. But the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the city lost 6,700 residents in the year ended July 2016, pushing the city’s population to a 100-year low.

And in the office sector, there was a slowdown in leasing transactions during the first quarter, although tenants remained active in the market, which should translate into significant leasing in the coming quarters, according to JLL. Increased spending in the defense sector will benefit submarkets surrounding Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground, and a maturing cyber security industry will potentially provide occupancy growth as well.

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