Greysteel's Ari Azarbarzin Talks Baltimore State of the Market
Greysteel's Ari Azarbarzin was featured in the September 2018 issue of the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal to discuss the Baltimore State of the Market.
Baltimore seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. Depending on whom you ask or what news sources you consume, you could de-rive two very different conclusions about Maryland’s largest city. For example, in January 2018, Baltimore was named amongst The New York Times “52 Best Places to Visit” while the very next month, USA today labelled it “America’s Most Dangerous City.”
Despite the mixed reviews, Charm City has much to be optimistic about as we enter the fourth quarter of 2018. Historically a second tier market relative to its neighbors Philadelphia and Washington D.C., Baltimore has been lifted by its affordable housing stock and robust employment strength powered by a plethora of institutions of higher learning and medical facilities, more colloquially known as The “Meds” and “Eds” Market. Most readers will be surprised to learn that in the most recent U.S. News Report of “Best Hospitals in Maryland”, all ten of the top ten hospitals were in the Baltimore Region and the top three were located in Baltimore City. These hidden assets create a “brain gain” rather than brain drain, and stimulate significant job growth which in turn expands other sectors such as the financial services and retail. Baltimore has recently enjoyed a number of key economic wins, both in bringing new jobs to the city, while also retaining notable employers. Below are job updates of note.
- Buffalo, NY- based M&T Bank, the largest corporate sponsor of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and owner of the team’s stadium naming rights, has signed a 15-year lease at 25 S. Charles St. with two additional five-year renewal options. M&T Bank will occupy six full floors at the glass building, encompassing a total of 155,000 s/f of office space.
- Medifast has left its former office in Owings Mills, and moving to the elegant downtown neighborhood of Harbor East. The publicly traded nutritional and weight loss company has more than 160 employees and will occupy 51,000 s/f in its new home.
- T. Rowe Price announced it will remain at its current Downtown Headquarters located 100 E. Pratt St., through 2027, demonstrating the investment firm’s renewed commitment to Baltimore.
- America’s 4th Largest Investment Bank, Morgan Stanley will lease 57,000 s/f at the Bank of America Building at 100 S. Charles St., which will bring an additional 800 jobs to Downtown Baltimore.
- Denmark-based Pandora Jewelry has chosen to move its American Headquarters from suburban Howard County to 250 W. Pratt St. in Downtown Baltimore. The building is undergoing a $6 Million renovation to the lobby, second floor, and public outdoor space as part of the migration. Promoting Baltimore is not solely a private sector undertaking. The City’s Mayor, Catherine Pugh has been a tireless advocate for Baltimore meeting not only with business leaders, but also most recently, touring 15 other mayors through the City. She in conjunction with Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan worked extremely hard, albeit in a failed to attempt to woo Amazon and land HQ2. With the Amazon pursuit firmly in the rearview mirror, this renewed union of private and public cooperation bodes well for the economic future of Baltimore.