Hallie Miller | December 14, 2023 | The Baltimore Banner
Ravens fans can soon sample the suite experience at Baltimore Peninsula while the sports franchise takes on extensive, state-funded renovations at the team’s stadium.
The Ravens have signed a lease for a “preview center” in the high-profile South Baltimore development that will show off models of the suites coming to M&T Bank Stadium, the project’s developers announced Thursday. The preview center is expected to open in February.
The lease is one of several new transactions made public Thursday in Baltimore Peninsula, the 235-acre redevelopment project spearheaded by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank in the Port Covington neighborhood. The 15 latest lease agreements will fill more than 65,000 square feet of retail and office space at the site, according to a news release.
“Our progress this quarter reflects the power and importance of place when companies and businesses grow,” said MAG Partners CEO and founder MaryAnne Gilmartin, the lead developer. The newly announced addition of Pinky Cole’s Slutty Vegan and Bar Vegan to the site has helped build momentum, she said.
In an interview, Gilmartin said the new leases reflect the project’s “proof of concept.”
“You’ve got food, ice cream, spirits, sports. I just love the diversity and the sense that this project has something for everyone,” she said.
MAG Partners and co-developersMacFarlane Partners took the reins of the project a year ago as the massive, mixed-use waterfront site struggled to land commercial tenants. With more than 1 million square feet of residential, office and retail space, Baltimore Peninsula has since rebranded, pitching itself nationally as a socially conscious local investment in a new neighborhood within arm’s reach of Interstate 95.
Its latest tenants include:
- Disaronno, the spirits company that acquired Plank’s Sagamore Spirit rye whiskey brand and distillery
- Volo Sports, which will create a more than four-acre sports venue at the site and have an office for its philanthropy arm
- The Learning Care Group, a child care and early-childhood education company
- Jersey Mike’s, a sub shop, to open at Rye Street Market
- Ben and Jerry’s, to open at Rye House
- BK Lobster, a fast-casual seafood restaurant, to open at Rye Street Market
MAG Partners and Plank’s Sagamore Ventures investment company also will open offices at the site.
The competition for commercial tenants has been fierce, especially with much of the first phase of Baltimore Peninsula happening during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The project was previously marketed as a hub for cyber and technology firms, only to have that plan upended as companies shifted to remote work. Its history also has been marred with high-profile debate over its funding sources, including the largest tax increment financing package passed in Baltimore history.
When MAG Partners took over last year, Gilmartin told The Baltimore Banner that new leadership and a name change would help the project find its footing again. On Thursday, she said 30% of the retail space is leased, and she hopes to reach 50% of the office and retail spaces leased by next year.
“We’re hoping higher, actually,” she said. “But, given where the macroeconomic headwinds are, it’s an extraordinary validation of the mission.”
Gilmartin also said Thursday that the residential buildings are approaching being 50% leased, but she expects traction to pick up in the spring, when more people typically look for housing. Demand for the project’s affordable units has exceeded supply, she added.
The Ravens’ space will total 2,715 square feet, according to the release. “The combination of modern, Class-A office space and an increasingly exciting neighborhood is a win-win for our entire off-the-field team,” the franchise’s chief sales officer, Kevin Rochlitz, said in a statement. The stadium renovation, which will be done in phases from 2024 to 2026, will include a tailgate and concert venue, field-level seating and infrastructure investments.
Developers this quarter have made efforts to draw more visitors to the peninsula with special events programming, including a Ravens fan watch party for the game against the Los Angeles Rams, a pop-up roller skating rink and a Taylor Swift cover band concert for kids.
Last month, the development team unveiled the city’s next marketplace, The Exchange, to be opened with help from the designers behind the newly reopened Lexington Market in downtown Baltimore. Slutty Vegan’s Cole, a Baltimore native, will help curate the vendors at the marketplace.
Gilmartin said she hopes all 15 new tenants will move into their new spaces next year, with the exception of the child care operator, which may need more time due to its size. She said Thursday it has claimed 10,000 square feet at the site.