November 15, 2022
Baltimore Business Journal

Port Covington gets new name, rebranding amid leasing push

Farewell Port Covington. Meet “Baltimore Peninsula”.

The new name is part of a glossy rebrand for the area south of Federal Hill, which a development team led by Under Armour Inc. founder Kevin Plank envisions as a new, mini-city on the Middle Branch.

“It will be impactful, inclusive and equitable,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, another partner in the project and principal of New York-based MAG Partners. “The new name is clear, it has a narrative and is authentic and easy to understand. It delivers on the aspiration.”

The rebrand is the latest for the site that has also been known as Cyber Town USA and was once touted by Plank and top city and state officials as the best location for Amazon’s HQ2.

The nearly eight-year-old project is nearing completion of its $650 million first phase this month that will hold 1.1 million square feet of office, residential and retail space — with more building soon to follow in 2023, Gilmartin pledged on Monday. She took over the project as master developer in May as Weller Development was jettisoned from the gig by Plank’s Sagamore Ventures.

More construction could be next. Gilmartin said planning for another office and residential tower could begin in 2023 and be fueled by the sale of another tranche of tax increment financing bonds as part of a record $660 million TIF deal approved by the city in September 2016.

Gilmartin added the project now will hold a large-scale, diagonally shaped park as part of its redrawn master plan that will result in a swath of green space that will extend to the waterfront from the busy ramp of Interstate 95 at the northern rim.

But for now, Gilmartin said she is focused on filling buildings in the $5.5 billion total redevelopment. So far, one tenant, Chambers Co., has signed a lease for 9,000 square feet and CFG Bank is negotiating for 100,000 square feet for its new headquarters in the seven-story 2455 Banner St. tower.

“We are focused on leasing, leasing, leasing,” Gilmartin said, during an interview Monday afternoon. “We plan to go far and wide and from one coast to another. We have a bold national strategy.”

Gilmartin and her partners, who also include Goldman Sachs and San Francisco-based McFarlane Partners, said they decided to reveal the new name Baltimore Peninsula about six weeks earlier than originally predicted. The move will help the development team and brokers from JLL and McDevitt Co. lease office and retail space, respectively.

The first retail tenants could be announced during the first quarter of 2023, Gilmartin said.

The rebranding effort will include a new storyline and narrative and a website that will focus on the location on the Middle Branch waterfront with its natural environment amid a series of modern new towers and retail. The Baltimore Peninsula rebrand was crafted by Ashley C. Cotton, a principal at MAG Partners, who is also based in New York.

The first office tenants are expected to move to the former Port Covington site in March alongside residential tenants as leasing gets underway on the 537 luxury apartment units now getting final touches. Gilmartin said 89 of those units will be affordable apartments and another 81 will be designated as “extended stay” dwellings.

“I believe there are only a handful of projects like it around the country today with its access, land mass and waterfront views,” she said.

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