November 15, 2022
Bisnow

Port Covington Team Rebrands Project ‘Baltimore Peninsula,’ Inks New Partnership

An aerial rendering of the development that the team has rebranded as Baltimore Peninsula.

The development team leading the massive redevelopment of the city’s Port Covington peninsula has rechristened the project Baltimore Peninsula.

The goal of the rebranding, the developers said, is to provide a name reflecting the development’s full impact on the peninsula south of Interstate 95 extending into the Middle Branch. Two leaders of the development team, MAG Partners CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin and MacFarlane Partners CEO Victor MacFarlane, spoke with Bisnow about the project’s status on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s announcement. 

“We’ve created a name that reveals character and personality, all authentic, and above all, it’s a name around which we will deliver a value proposition, which is a call to action,” Gilmartin said. “It’s an opportunity for Baltimore to be trailblazing and be a leader in creating a new kind of development project.”

Along with the rebranding, the development team has unveiled alterations to the master plan and a new partnership with a software company. 

The project has been controversial with some residents since backers first sought more than $500M in public tax increment financing to improve infrastructure on the site in 2016. The team eventually garnered public support for the financing by entering into a community benefits agreement with surrounding neighborhoods that exceeded $100M. 

In May, Sagamore Ventures and Goldman Sachs announced that MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners would take over from Weller Development Co. as the project’s lead developers.

In September, Gilmartin said during Bisnow’s Baltimore State of the Market event that she planned to rebrand the site and update its master plan.

Bisnow/Adam Bednar
MAG Partners CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin speaks at Bisnow’s Baltimore State of Market event at Port Covington Sept. 22, 2022.

Since taking over the project, she said the primary focus for the development team has been “leasing, leasing, leasing,” as buildings in the second phase of construction, dubbed 1B, are expected to start delivering in a matter of weeks and months. 

The five buildings in Phase 1B of development include 1.1M SF of office, retail and residential space. Developers expect construction will finish on those assets between the end of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. 

Those properties include Rye Market, which comprises 228K SF of office and 45K SF of market space. H. Chambers Co., a 123-year-old interior design business, has already inked a 10-year lease for nearly 8K SF in Rye Market.   

Peninsula Baltimore’s most significant office building, 2455 House St., has two potential tenants that would fully occupy its 212K SF of office space, Gilmartin said. 

She said the development team hopes to announce an unnamed tenant at 2455 House St. by the end of the year. CFG Bank’s executive has already publicly expressed interest in relocating its headquarters to the property.

“[CFG CEO] Jack Dwyer has openly spoke about his hope to be part of our project, and we feel the same way. We love the company, we love the CEO and founder, we love their commitment to workforce development,” Gilmartin said. 

In addition to the rebranding, the developers revealed alterations to the site’s master plan that guides building on the site. 

The most significant change is the inclusion of a boulevard running northwest to southeast across the peninsula. Designers hope the boulevard will better connect the peninsula, which is cut off from the rest of the city by I-95. 

The shifts in the plan, she said, will also better connect the development with the new Under Armour headquarters, which the athletic apparel firm is building on the 250-acre Port Covington peninsula. 

The Under Armour campus is building its new headquarters independent of the Baltimore Peninsula development. However, Kevin Plank, the athletic brand’s founder, is a major financial backer of the redevelopment via his investment firm Sagamore Ventures.  

Developers have already held conversations about the changes to the site plans with the city, Gilmartin said. Those changes, she said, will not require additional approval from city officials who started reviewing site plans for the project more than five years ago.     

The Baltimore Peninsula team also said it has partnered with software company Sweeten Enterprises to deliver what the developers bill as an “unparalleled level of transparency, innovation, and inclusiveness to local minority and women-owned business participation in Baltimore development projects.” 

Through the partnership, Sweeten will provide any interested developer with its platform so they can measure their progress in hiring minority- and women-owned businesses.

So far, the Baltimore Peninsula team said it has committed over $132M in contracts to city-certified minority- and women-owned enterprises. So far the developers have exceeded goals set for such businesses participation in building the development. 

The firm reported a 35% participation for minority-owned firms and 13% for women-owned enterprises.

Contact Adam Bednar at [email protected]



View Source
November 15, 2022
The Baltimore Banner

Port Covington has a new name: Baltimore Peninsula

The developers of Port Covington have announced a new name for the 235-acre project: Baltimore Peninsula. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

Starting Tuesday, Port Covington, the 235-acre waterfront development in South Baltimore, will go by a new name: Baltimore Peninsula.

The change, made public this week, is an attempt by new developers at the New York-based MAG Partners and the San Francisco-based MacFarlane Partners to turn a page on a contentious project that has faced delays, turnover and public criticism, particularly for its heavy reliance on subsidies at the expense of Baltimore’s other needs. Supporters of the effort argue that the finished product will add jobs, stimulate economic growth, and attract visitors and more residents to Baltimore.

MAG Partners CEO and founder MaryAnne Gilmartin and her team also have revised the project’s master plan and expect the final layout of the project to look different from what developers pitched in 2016. For example, they want to stretch the original Founders Park into a linear, diagonal “green artery” that connects the center of the new neighborhood and waterfront with the rest of the city. They also want to better connect to the rest of South Baltimore and Interstate 95 and have proposed adding a “connection” above the CSX tracks at Hanover and McComas Streets.

Gilmartin, in a Monday interview, said the change in name reflects a shift from “a place on a map” to a living, breathing community. She described Baltimore Peninsula’s vision as inclusive, mission-oriented and dynamic.

“All our actions need to reflect that vision,” she said.

Victor MacFarlane, chairman and CEO of MacFarlane Partners, added: “We’re here because we believe in Baltimore’s growth.”

Gilmartin and MacFarlane highlighted their commitment to minority and women business participation in the development as well as affordable housing; the first two residential buildings — to be called Rye House and 250 Mission, with more than 400 units between them — are expected to open this March and will have 20% of the units below market rate, they said. On Monday, they also announced a partnership with Sweeten, a software company that publicly tracks their minority- and women-owned business participation goals.

Attached to one of the largest public subsidies in the country, the $5.5 billion, multi-phase waterfront development in South Baltimore spans more than 200 acres and will feature three direct access points to I-95. Under Armour founder and Executive Chairman Kevin Plank and those affiliated with his Sagamore Ventures development firm spent more than $100 million since they began buying up Port Covington land about a decade ago.

A current goal is to build the once-dominant apparel company a new corporate headquarters surrounded by a “mini-city” akin to the existing Harbor East and Harbor Point sites.

The Baltimore City Council approved the city’s largest tax increment financing deal — $660 million — in 2016 to help fund the project. The project has also qualified for federal Enterprise Zone tax breaks.

Since then, Under Armour’s corporate image has soured amid company scandals, high-profile departures and declining sales, forcing the company to tone down its plans for the new offices. Meanwhile, several iterations of plans for what Port Covington could become — including a hub for technology companies called Cyber Town USA — have not come to pass.

Gilmartin, though, told The Baltimore Banner in an interview earlier this month that the project will be successful, so long as it rebrands and commits to sharing a more positive story.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the City will continue to benefit from the momentum and energy that has resulted from the creation of this new waterfront neighborhood,” Plank said in a Tuesday statement. “The impact is undeniable.”

[email protected]



View Source
July 21, 2022
Baltimore Sun

Port Covington developers announce $2.5 million in grants to South Baltimore community groups

Developers of the Port Covington waterfront community in South Baltimore have provided $2.5 million in grants and other funds to help revitalize neighborhoods near the site where offices, shops and apartments are under construction.

The distribution over the past year was announced Thursday morning and marks the latest round of investments through a Community Benefits Agreement between the developers and neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Curtis Bay, Lakeland, Mount Winans and Westport.The funds are designed to boost economic development, education and transportation.

The mix of macrogrants, microgrants and capacity-building funds from developers MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners were selected and distributed by the South Baltimore 7 Coalition, made up of neighborhood representatives. The developers, each of which has worked on high-profile urban projects in major U.S. cities, joined Sagamore Ventures’ development efforts in May and will lead the next phase.

Five buildings have neared completion on the 235-acre site along Cromwell Street south of Interstate 95 that is planned for up to 14 million square feet of shops, restaurants, office space and housing, plus 40 acres of parks, across 45 new city blocks. The Baltimore Sun leases its office in the Port Covington development.

Funds for nearby neighborhoods include $815,000 in macrogrants to 12 organizations, $262,000 in microgrants to 25 organizations, and $250,000 to each of the six surrounding communities, totaling $1.5 million.

MaryAnne Gilmartin, founder and CEO of MAG Partners, said in Thursday’s announcement that the funds will help community groups provide services across South Baltimore.

“Port Covington has been designed to uplift our neighboring communities — and all of Baltimore,” Gilmartin said.

Victor MacFarlane, chairman and CEO of MacFarlane Partners, said his company has been working to empower underserved communities in its many development projects on the East and West coasts.

A $125,000 grant went to the South Baltimore Community Land Trust and the Cherry Hill Development Corp. to develop 15 new or renovated affordable homes in Cherry Hill and Curtis Bay for residents who earn 50% of median income, said Meleny Thomas, the land trust’s executive director.

“With development on the rise, we want to make sure we have homes that our residents can stay in and increase the homeowners in the community,” Thomas said.

She said she hopes the ongoing partnership with the South Baltimore 7 Coalition will help “thousands of people facing displacement in South Baltimore have an opportunity to stay.”

Community leaders in the coalition are working to enhance quality of life, prevent displacement of residents and attract new ones by improving education, housing, public health, public safety and economic development. The group’s board is made up of leaders from the six communities and members of the Port Covington development team.

The community coalition evaluated macrogrant proposals from community groups for initiatives that will have an impact in at least two neighborhoods. The board looked for ideas that would have potential to grow and attract partnerships.

Microgrants were awarded for smaller community projects that need operating or capital funds to develop or complete specific projects that benefit the community.

A grant of $170,000 went to City of Refuge Baltimore and two nonprofit partners to fund a workforce training and placement program for adults and youth, said Pastor Billy Humphrey, founder and CEO of Brooklyn-based City of Refuge. The partners, including Grow Home and Action Baybrook, have worked to create a database of employers and jobs in South Baltimore, train workers and assist with job placement.

“Our goal is to put people back to work,” said Humphrey, adding that the newly launched program has trained more than 111 adults and youth and placed 11 so far in living-wage jobs. The initiative, he said, hopes to “address systemic poverty by getting people back to work in full-time, living-wage jobs.”

Developers already have provided $19 million through the community benefits agreement to city and South Baltimore neighborhoods.

This article has been updated to clarify that while the Port Covington developers provided the funds, the grants were awarded by the South Baltimore 7 Coalition.



View Source
May 25, 2022
SouthBaltimore.com

AN INTERVIEW WITH NEW PORT COVINGTON DEVELOPER MARYANNE GILMARTIN OF MAG PARTNERS

Earlier this month, The Port Covington Development Team announced MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners will take over as the development partners of the Port Covington Development. Weller Development will exit the project at the completion of the 1.1 million sq. ft. Chapter 1B phase in Fall 2023.

The Port Covington Development Team is owned by Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Ventures and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners will lead the development, as well as invest in the project.

SouthBMore.com spoke with MaryAnne Gilmartin, founder and CEO of MAG Partners, to learn more about what attracted her to the project and her vision for Port Covington.

Gilmartin told SouthBMore.com she met Plank in February 2021 through friend Jody Clark, who is the chief of real estate for Sagamore Ventures, and then started to look at the Port Covington project.

“My team started to look at it, made some recommendations, and somewhere along the way I fell in love with it,” she said. “There is no greater spokesperson for Baltimore I’ve come across than Kevin Plank.” 

“I think I can leverage Kevin to be an essential part of the project,” said Gilmartin. “The quid pro quo for me was that Kevin is involved.”

Gilmartin compared Plank’s dedication to Baltimore to the way Dan Gilbert has “lifted up” Detroit. Gilbert is the co-founder of Quicken Loans, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and founder of Rock Ventures, which is co-owner of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.

After her interest grew in the Port Covington Development, Gilmartin called her friend Victor MacFarlane of MacFarlane Partners.

“He only works on things with purpose and only works in cities,” she said, noting how she told MacFarlane, “If I do it, I want to do it with someone like you.”

The two formed a partnership and then not only agreed to join the project, they invested in it as well.

Gilmartin said MacFarlane is “probably one of the largest Black developers in the country.”

Gilmartin started MAG Partners in 2020. She has worked on projects such as The New York Times building in Manhattan, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the 14-building Pacific Park Brooklyn mixed-use project. This is Gilmartin’s first project outside of the New York City metro area.

She said it’s “incredible what Weller Development has put in place.”

“We view Chapter 1B as proof of concept,” said Gilmartin. “Weller will finish up the construction and we will take over from there.”

She said she has been working closely with the leasing team that includes JLL, but noted “we need results.”

Gilmartin said there are “infinite possibilities” for Port Covington. She noted uses such as residential, entertainment, commercial, education, and hospitals, and said she sees a lot of possibilities for life sciences.

“When I think about Johns Hopkins and the unbelievable institutions in Baltimore, the compelling campaign is life sciences. Everyone wants it, there isn’t enough of it, and there is so much money backing it,” she said. 

“We shouldn’t be cannibalizing the CBD [Central Business District] and Inner Harbor, this project needs to be bigger than just moving companies around,” she added.

When asked about the idea of a new arena or soccer stadium for Port Covington, Gilmartin said, “I’m absolutely open to the opportunity and know what sports can do for a community.”

Gilmartin worked on the Barclays Center project that brought the Nets to Brooklyn.

She specifically noted that soccer comes up as “high possibility.” She added “very few other places amass the type of land needed for soccer” and that a team would “attract people from all parts of the city.”

When asked about the business climate in Baltimore and Maryland, which never rank high as the best places to do business, she noted her vast experience working in the New York market. “New York is downright hostile, we are challenged every day,” said Gilmartin.

She also said, however, “I have this love affair with New York. People want to be in New York for a reason – for the culture, the food, the people, the opportunity, and the spirit. If a place has a magic fairy dust, it counterbalances what’s not great.”

“I spend a lot of time in Brooklyn. Baltimore has the kind of grit and possibility Brooklyn has. I love the underdog status, ” said Gilmartin.

She said it wasn’t easy to lure companies to Brooklyn but said they were able to create a “sense of place” which led to the momentum Brooklyn is seeing now.

MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners will take over Weller Development’s office at City Garage in Port Covington which includes a “beautiful” leasing space, according to Weller Development.



View Source
May 10, 2022

Sagamore Ventures and Goldman Sachs Asset Management Announce Expansion of the Port Covington Development Team

Unique partnership between leading national woman-owned and Black-owned development firms, MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners, will bring new investment to the Port Covington development and focus on the development of future phases

Weller Development Company will continue driving construction of the first phase, which is already delivering promised benefits to MBE/WBE businesses, the SB6 communities and the City of Baltimore

Sagamore Ventures and the Urban Investment Group within Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs) today announced an addition to the development and investment team for Port Covington that brings together two of the leading woman-owned and Black-owned development firms in the country, MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners. The addition of the MAG and MacFarlane team brings national experience that will focus on leasing, marketing and placemaking campaigns. Weller Development Company (WDC) will continue to focus on the construction of Chapter 1B, the 1.1 million- square-foot phase currently underway.

The MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners team will lead the future development efforts outside of Chapter 1B and continue with the vision and transformation of the 177-acre South Baltimore project, with an approved master plan consisting of up to 14 million square feet of mixed-use development and 40 acres of open space across 45 new city blocks. The new development teams are direct investors leading all leasing, as well as  future development and construction.

“With a dynamic and unsurpassed waterfront location, including direct access to I95 and unparalleled corporate branding opportunities, Port Covington is perfectly positioned for brands looking for more than a headquarters location, and are instead focused on community and impact. As the first phase of Port Covington springs from the ground, we are thrilled to grow our development team with the national, proven experience and scale of MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners who will support the ambition and vision we have for the project. Getting the project to this point has been nothing short of herculean by Weller Development Company and the entire Port Covington Development Team,” said Kevin Plank, Principal and CEO of Sagamore Ventures. “With the support of Goldman Sachs, a catalytic anchor in Under Armour, and additional, innovative development partners in place, Port Covington is poised to attract top-tier commercial tenants and fulfill its potential for Baltimore and continue creating a new model for equitable and impactful urban development.”

“Port Covington is a transformational project that will help define and advance our renaissance by generating thousands of jobs and economic opportunities for the City and our residents for generations to come,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “I am encouraged by the latest, premier additions to the development and investment teams and look forward to working with them to ensure that this project continues to benefit the South Baltimore community, especially its residents, equitably and inclusively. I am grateful to Sagamore for their demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion that they have achieved to date.”

MAG Partners and MacFarlane bring national experience and acknowledge the growth opportunities in Baltimore, having delivered some of the most complex mixed-use developments across the country, with a shared mission of bringing architecturally significant, equitable and sustainable development to America’s urban centers. Led by MaryAnne Gilmartin who has decades of experience leading complicated organizations to deliver impactful projects, the MAG Partners team has successfully designed, built, leased, and operated over seven million square feet of office, residential and mixed-use projects. MacFarlane Partners is led by Victor MacFarlane, a pioneer in urban development with a 40-year track record of investments that promote smart growth, urban revitalization, and sustainability in urban and high-density suburban submarkets. Both developers have also created and implemented innovative plans around community engagement, workforce development and local hiring, and affordable housing, and will bring that experience to Port Covington.

“Community and purpose are at the core of everything we do. Coupled with the vision and stewardship of Kevin and his team at Sagamore Ventures and Weller Development Company, we are excited to join the great work already underway which is uniquely focused on impact,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, Founder and CEO of MAG Partners. “We are grateful to have had the opportunity to ground our team in the long-term vision for Port Covington and are looking forward to implementing new strategies to bring innovators to Baltimore City and ensure the neighborhood is built for all its constituents – particularly local residents.”

“Our business is focused on high-impact investments in key gateway cities and Port Covington perfectly aligns with our vision of smart, urban growth,” said Victor MacFarlane, Chairman and CEO of MacFarlane Partners. “Port Covington is a model of sustainability, inclusivity and forward-thinking development that is vital to the lasting success of our urban communities nationally. We are excited to partner with MAG Partners and Sagamore Ventures to advance the next chapter of Port Covington’s story.”

“Goldman Sachs invested in Port Covington because we have great confidence in the vision, and the opportunity to create something that delivers true community benefits for the city of Baltimore. As such, the Sagamore Ventures and Goldman Sachs teams proactively sought the support of nationally-experienced development partners that are uniquely qualified to enhance our mission,” said Michael Lohr, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “The growing development team reflects both our ambition for Port Covington and commitment to delivering a world-class project that will drive renewed community investment and revitalize South Baltimore’s waterfront. Building on the achievements of the talented team at WDC, we are poised to deliver on this commitment.”

“We are so thankful to Goldman Sachs and Sagamore Ventures for their commitment to Baltimore; together, we exceeded expectations and delivered on the promises and commitments made to the community and the City. As the project evolves, we are excited to pass the reins to MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners to develop future phases,” said Marc Weller, Founding Partner, Weller Development Company.  “Building on the momentum of the project and the ongoing efforts with the City’s community partners will be an important priority for the Weller Development Company construction team.”

Port Covington is expected to deliver robust community benefits, including $19 million already funded to support Baltimore City and South Baltimore communities. To date, Port Covington has committed more than $110 million in contracts to MBE/WBE firms, exceeding its initial goals with 35 percent participation for MBEs and 12 percent for WBEs, and 500 Youthworks positions have been funded for Baltimore City youth.

Mike Middleton, Chair of the South Baltimore Seven (SB7) Coalition said, “From the onset, the community partnered with the Port Covington Development Team to ensure that the project will have a long-lasting, positive impact on South Baltimore and the City as whole.  The collaboration between the community and Sagamore Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and Weller Development has been unprecedented.  They have lived up to their promises and delivered as they said they would.  The progress we are seeing and this latest milestone gets us one step closer to reaching our goals and realizing a brighter future for our communities.”

Last March, Port Covington celebrated the start of vertical construction and more than 1.1 million square feet of development is underway. This phase includes 586,000 square feet of residential, 440,000 square feet of office,116,000 square feet of retail, over 1,000 parking spaces, and ten acres of parks and public space.

About Port Covington

Port Covington is a 235-acre redevelopment project located on Baltimore City’s prime waterfront, featuring investments from Sagamore Ventures and the Urban Investment Group within Goldman Sachs Asset Management. As one of the largest urban revitalization efforts in the United States, the neighborhood of Port Covington will have a fundamental and far-reaching impact on Baltimore’s future. At completion, this transformative project will include: up to 14 million square feet of new, mixed-use development; 2.5 miles of restored waterfront; and 40 acres of parks and green space. The Port Covington redevelopment is expected to generate fresh opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship for Baltimore City residents and its local workforce.

For more information on Port Covington, visit www.pc.city.

May 10, 2022
Baltimore Sun

Two high-profile developers join Port Covington team to take over next phase of development

Two developers of high-profile urban projects in major U.S. cities have joined Sagamore Ventures’ effort to create a mini-city in South Baltimore’s Port Covington and will lead the next phase of development.

As five buildings near completion in the waterfront neighborhood south of Interstate 95, Sagamore and investment partner Goldman Sachs on Tuesday announced new partner firms, both of which invested undisclosed amounts in the project.

MAG Partners, a New York-based woman-owned firm, and MacFarlane Partners, a San Francisco-based Black-owned development and institutional investment firm, will leverage decades each of national experience in taking the reins from Weller Development Co. for leasing, marketing and “placemaking” campaigns for the current $500 million, 1.1 million-square-foot phase, Sagamore said.

MAG and MacFarlane will lead all future development outside that initial phase. The vision for the massive project, which spans 235 acres along Cromwell Street, includes up to 14 million square feet of shops, restaurants, office space and housing, plus 40 acres of parks, across 45 new city blocks.

Weller, which has led development thus far, will complete the construction of the current buildings, which include the centerpiece Rye Street Market with a food market, restaurants, retail, office space and a rentable events venue, as well as four additional buildings for apartments, offices, parking and retail.

Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, whose private investment firm, Sagamore Ventures, began carving out and acquiring parcels for Port Covington in 2014, touted the new development team members’ proven national experience and scale.

“Getting the project to this point has been nothing short of herculean by Weller Development Company and the entire Port Covington Development Team,” Plank said in the announcement. Now, “Port Covington is poised to attract top-tier commercial tenants and fulfill its potential for Baltimore and continue creating a new model for equitable and impactful urban development.”

Construction, which began on Port Covington in 2019, was temporarily suspended in April 2020 shortly after the coronavirus pandemic hit but since resumed.

Buildings are sprouting amid existing businesses, including Sagamore-owned Rye Street Distillery and The Baltimore Sun, which recently shut down its printing plant there.

No leases have been signed yet for any of the first phase buildings but tenant negotiations are underway, officials said.

Sagamore and Goldman sought out nationally-experienced developers to direct future phases, said Michael Lohr, managing director of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which includes the investment bank’s urban investment group.

“The growing development team reflects both our ambition for Port Covington and commitment to delivering a world-class project that will drive renewed community investment and revitalize South Baltimore’s waterfront,” Lohr said in Tuesday’s announcement.

The heads of both MAG and MacFarlane, neither of whom has worked in Baltimore before, said in an interview that they were attracted to the project through personal ties and because of a belief in the untapped potential of U.S. cities and Baltimore in particular.

MaryAnne Gilmartin, founder and CEO of MAG Partners, and Victor MacFarlane, chairman and CEO of MacFarlane Partners, said they each found a niche pursuing against-all-odds types of development work.

The developers acknowledged Baltimore’s challenges but said they were impressed with accessibility along I-95, a strong labor pool, relative affordability for an East Coast city and expansive undeveloped waterfront land, all in an urban setting. That’s a recipe to draw companies, small businesses, residents and visitors, they said.

Key benefits, they said, include Under Armour’s commitment to build a five-story global headquarters for 1,700 employees on 50 acres it owns across Cromwell Street in Port Covington, along with a track and field facility and a flagship retail store. Port Covington also has buy-in from the city and the community after it funded a community benefits agreement that has funneled $19 million to South Baltimore neighborhoods.

“When we thought about all these ingredients, we thought there’s real possibilities here,” Gilmartin said. “We believe in cities as a company. … We started MAG partners so we that could demonstrate that you could build beautiful buildings and create value not just for partners and investors but for the communities in which we build.”

The Port Covington project, valued at an estimated $5.5 billion, is backed by $660 million in tax increment financing, which means property taxes generated by the project will repay city bonds sold to pay for its infrastructure. It is Baltimore’s largest such deal in history.

MacFarlane, who first went into business as an institutional investment manager in 1987, said his company looks for high-impact investments in key gateway cities. He is considered a pioneer in urban development for investments in inner-city Los Angeles after the 1992 riots and has led urban revitalization projects both in urban and high-density suburban submarkets.

“Port Covington perfectly aligns with our vision of smart, urban growth,” said MacFarlane, calling it a “model of sustainability, inclusivity and forward-thinking development that is vital to the lasting success of our urban communities nationally.”

His firm was a development partner in the mixed-use Time Warner Center along Central Park in New York. MacFarlane is partnering with another developer on a $2 billion, twin-tower luxury hotel project in downtown Los Angeles. Over the past decade, he said, he has focused on large urban projects “that can make an impact.”

“I’ve never really had an opportunity to do much in Baltimore, and the attributes that MaryAnne discussed about this project are very compelling,” he said during an interview. “We think with Port Covington we can place-make, which will not just cannibalize, as a lot of these projects are doing to themselves, but create an expansion of the employment base in Baltimore and make it more attractive overall.”

Gilmartin started her career as an economic developer under former New York Mayor Ed Koch and worked as an executive for Forest City Ratner Cos. before founding her own firm in 2020. She said she was brought into the Port Covington project by Jody Clark, Sagamore’s chief real estate officer, and first met with Plank just over a year ago at his Sagamore Farm in Baltimore County, site of Plank’s former thoroughbred racing operation.

While at Forest City, Gilmartin spearheaded the development of some high-profile New York City projects, including theBarclays Centerin Brooklyn. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks, Gilmartin worked on the New York Times building in Times Square.

“We built a very safe, beautiful building we designed before 9/11,” she said. “We took some precautionary steps but we did not build a fortress, and it was really a vote on the future of New York City.”

Gilmartin said her first step after signing on to Port Covington was to reach out to MacFarlane, who she met years ago while doing work in San Francisco for Forest City.

The developers say they intend to capitalize on Plank’s talent for brand building with Under Armour and promise he will be a “strong voice” in selling the Baltimore story and re-branding the project.

“It was super important to us that we be able to call on Kevin,” Gilmartin said. “He is such a believer in Baltimore. He is very much going to be an active part of this endeavor.”

Port Covington is a “canvas,” she said, and the construction so far “really allows us now to start talking about Port Covington as a place to be, a place to go, a place to have fun, a place to raise a family, a place to grow your business. Yes the city has challenges … but it’s a very affordable alternative to some expensive bigger cities.”

Future development will be market driven, with design of office and residential buildings influenced by new ways of working that emerged during the pandemic, the developers said. They see Baltimore’s multi-family, for-rent market as healthy, with demand for both market-rate and affordable housing. Residential leasing is expected to start by the end of this year when model apartments will be available.

And commercial leasing, after a disruption during the pandemic, is getting back on track, with about 100,000 square feet of office space and 60,000 square feet of retail under negotiation and buildings expected to be ready for occupancy later this year and into early 2023. Developers said they expect the project to appeal to a diverse sector of businesses and will cast a wide net for tenants.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said in the announcement that he was encouraged by news of the latest partners. Port Covington is expected to be transformational, he said, generating “thousands of jobs and economic opportunities for the city and our residents for generations to come.”

Marc Weller, founding partner of Weller Development, said the work to date on the site has “exceeded expectations.”

“As the project evolves,” Weller said in Tuesday’s announcement, “we are excited to pass the reins to MAG Partners and MacFarlane Partners to develop future phases.”



View Source