September 22, 2022
Baltimore Business Journal

Design firm Chambers Co. signs lease to move offices to Port Covington

Baltimore interior design and architectural firm Chambers Co. on Thursday signed the first office lease at Port Covington and the new owner of the large-scale development says other tenants are on the way.

Chambers will move from Montgomery Park into 9,000 square feet at the new Rye Street Market mixed-use development early next year under a 10-year lease deal, said MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO of MAG Partners, which bought into the $5.5 billion project this spring and is the new master developer.

Chambers officials were unavailable for comment on Thursday afternoon. The company is the second-largest interior design firm in the region with nearly $95 million in 2021 billings and 14 interior designers in the Baltimore area as of August, according to BBJ research.

Gilmartin announced the lease deal during a Bisnow real estate forum as the first signed at Port Covington. The news drew a round of applause from the about 200 brokers and developers who had gathered on the fourth floor of 2455 Banner St., an office tower still in the works.

Chambers soon may have company at the emerging development in South Baltimore.

CFG Bank officials said Wednesday they were in final negotiations to sign a lease for 100,000 square feet of office space at Port Covington. Gilmartin declined to comment on that deal but did say JLL brokers hired by MAG and its partner McFarlane Partners were busy with ongoing lease negotiations this month.

The Chambers deal was signed on Thursday morning, Gilmartin said. She added that the 123-year-old firm will begin to build out its office space next month and move in by January.

“The leasing has begun,” Gilmartin said. “This is the first lease.”

Of the push to lasso other new office and commercial tenants for Port Covington’s first group of office buildings that total 1.1 million square feet, Gilmartin told the group: “Our money is green. Bring us a pulse and we’ll make a deal.”

Weller Development exited the massive project in May as New York-based MAG Partners and San Francisco-based McFarlane Partners struck a deal with Under Armour (NYSE: UAA) founder Kevin Plank to take over.

Plank is the lead visionary for Port Covington and he secretly acquired more than 200 acres there nearly a decade ago for the project. He unveiled plans for the development about eight years ago with designs that have since been scaled back and recreated. Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group is also an investor.

Today, the master plan for the project states it could hold up to 14 million square feet of mixed-use development on 45 new city blocks.

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