January 6, 2023
Baltimore Business Journal

Faces to Watch 2023: MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO of MAG Partners

The coming year at the Baltimore Peninsula will bring more feet on the street, a likely demolition of The Sun’s former headquarters and a new wave of hope at the large project for MaryAnne Gilmartin.

The first residents will move into luxury apartments in two towers at the emerging community off of Hanover Street by March. Razing Sun Park may occur to clear the way for a new public green space off Interstate 95. Nearby, design firm Chambers Co. will unpack in its new office space at Rye Street Market and serve as the pioneer tenant for the project there.

And if Gilmartin has her way, her pen will sign a bevy of other lease deals.

All told, she predicted 2023 is go time for the $5.5 billion project envisioned by Under Armour (NYSE: UA) founder Kevin Plank. A deal for CFG Bank to move its headquarters into 97,000 square feet was finalized Wednesday after months of talks, a move that will add a second tenant with local gravitas.

“We are hoping that by the end of this year there will be one or two commercial leases signed,” she said in early December. “This is a pretty big moment for the project.”

The 58-year-old founder of MAG Partners came to Baltimore last spring after she was tapped by Plank to take over as master developer from Weller Development. She and partner, San Francisco-based McFarlane Partners, invested an undisclosed amount in Port Covington, and in November, Gilmartin led a rebranding push and renamed the area “Baltimore Peninsula.” It was a change complete with red and white swag bags and a catered party.

The coming 12 months will bring her hometown New York-style of can-do energy to the 235 acres adjacent to the Hanover Street Bridge, south of Federal Hill. With five buildings built by Weller opening this year, she admitted that MAG and its brokers must remain nimble to fill the commercial and retail space because of headwinds from an economic downturn and still-morphing corporate workplace needs.

Nevertheless, she remains positive enough to forge ahead with plans to break ground on another one or two commercial buildings with a vision to begin design phases in 2023.

“It’s a challenge. But if we have proof of concept and show that people came to Baltimore Peninsula to live and work and we sign leases with rents that justify putting another building together, it allows us to put it together,” she said. “I think it’s doable.”

Gilmartin splits her time between MAG Partners’ New York office and Baltimore and is planning to move into residential digs in one of several short-term stay apartments designated in Baltimore Peninsula’s multifamily towers. Her plans also include moving MAG’s offices from City Garage to Port Covington by the third quarter of the year and she is aggressively seeking to land a large corporate anchor tenant with a national search now underway.

What about the rest of the city? Gilmartin says MAG’s portfolio could expand off the peninsula.

“I would like to do more business in Baltimore,” Gilmartin said. “I want to contribute to the city. While Baltimore Peninsula is massive, I think there are opportunities outside the Peninsula that we can look at. Rising tides lift all boats.”

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