May 17, 2022
Commercial Observer

#45, MaryAnne Gilmartin, Founder and CEO at MAG Partners

Last year’s rank: 50

Two years into the company’s existence, MAG Partners spent 2021 constructing a massive development empire, a feat that, to founder MaryAnne Gilmartin, shows the company’s strength and resilience.

“We were able to put together a billion-dollar development pipeline, and secure those projects in a way where we have site control,” Gilmartin said. “We will have footings in three of the residential buildings in time for the expiration of [development incentive 421a], and we have capital partners committed to everything included in that pipeline. That’s an extraordinary accomplishment during one of the most challenging times in the history of New York City real estate.”

Two of the already capitalized projects in the pipeline include 335 Eighth Avenue, a 200-unit redevelopment to create an apartment building designed by Cookfox with 30 percent reserved for low- and middle-income residents, plus ground-floor commercial space; and 300 East 50th Street, a 194-unit multifamily building also with 30 percent affordable and with ground-floor retail, designed by BKSK. 

On the commercial side, MAG has raised the equity for a bespoke 200,000-square-foot office in Hudson Square at 122 Varick Street.

“It will be a building of the future, a building that recognizes what’s important for corporate America as we all return to work,” Gilmartin said. “We’re going to capture all the elements of design and operating principles that we learned through the pandemic are important: lots of collaborative spaces, outdoor space, and a beautiful building that’s healthy inside and out.”

In a confirmation of the company’s strength, MAG has doubled its employee roster in recent months, now boasting 10 employees that make the company 50 percent female.

Looking forward, in May MAG made a major announcement regarding a project called Port Covington which is part of Sagamore Ventures and Goldman Sachs’s Port Covington development in Baltimore.

“We will be stepping into a very large master-planned development of 250 acres outside of New York with a blue chip, high-quality sponsor, and a partnership with another developer that together will make us among the largest and most prolific minority development partnerships in the country,” Gilmartin said. “It’s about 14 million square feet of development in partnership with a local municipality, in a city that needs the kind of placemaking we bring.”



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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.”



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