April 17, 2017

CRC Acquires Baltimore City Waterfront Property Brown’s Wharf for $21M

Browns Wharf

CRC has acquired Brown’s Wharf, a historic mixed-use project situated along the Fells Point waterfront in Baltimore City from Hunt Investment Management for $21 million. The iconic development is located at 1615-1637 Thames Street and is comprised of approximately 104,000 square feet of commercial office, retail and restaurant space. Jay Wellschlager and Andrew Finkelstein of JLL represented the sellers in this transaction.

“We consider Brown’s Wharf a one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable property in Baltimore City given its placement along the waterfront, and central location within an area that has been the recipient of a dramatic shift of energy over the past several years,” explained Ari Abramson, Vice President of Acquisitions of Continental Realty Corporation. “The project brings strong value-add opportunities and an operational upside that we intend to achieve with over $2 million of fresh capital to upgrade the building systems, refresh the interior common areas and add greater street presence.  The presence of Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins affiliate, provides a solid leasing foundation as the primary tenant in Brown’s Wharf, and we appreciate their long-term commitment to the project.”

“We have been closely tracking the renaissance of the eastern portion of Baltimore City, highlighted by corporate headquarters relocations, the opening of new restaurants and residential projects and the overall refocus of energy and vitality,” said JM Schapiro, CEO of Continental Realty Corporation. “With Brown’s Wharf positioned within the heart of Fells Point, our team can build off the vitality of the new developments at Harbor Point, the Sagamore Pendry hotel and the Broadway Square renovation.”

Continental Realty Corporation is joint venturing with Baltimore-based WorkShop Development. Doug Schmidt, Richard Manekin and Neil Tucker will oversee the day-to-day operations and execute the partnership’s redevelopment plans. Birchwood Capital, led by David Strouse, assisted Continental Realty Corporation in the arrangement of acquisition financing through PNC Bank.  Robert Manekin, Tony Gross and Peter Jackson or JLL will provide office leasing brokerage services.

“We are excited to tackle the restoration of another iconic historic property in southeast Baltimore,” explained Doug Schmidt, Principal of WorkShop Development. “Brown’s Wharf 1988 renovation was an important contributor to the revitalization of Fells Point.  We expect our improvements in the next year will be part of the next wave of Fells Point’s growth.”

Originally constructed in the 1800s and renovated and expanded in 1988, Brown’s Wharf consists of a three brick and stone buildings.  It is currently 77% leased to a variety of local and regional businesses; retailers and boutiques; as well as a sit-down restaurant and bar. The project is situated on a 1.37-acre site that includes a 270-foot waterfront promenade.  Construction of a new marina is planned. The largest tenant at Brown’s Wharf is The Johns Hopkins University, including Jhpiego and Cognitive Research. The restaurant anchor is Mexican-themed Barcocina.  The other retailers are CFG Community Bank, 7-11, Fells Point Surf Company and aMuse of Fell’s Point.

Since 2010, Baltimore has been the beneficiary of a wave of corporate and government tenants relocating from the surrounding suburban sub-markets, with entries including Legg Mason, MAIF, Morgan Stanley, Pandora Jewelry, and Comcast Corporation. More than two million square feet of space has been leased in Baltimore City over the past seven years, with the Fells Point district maintaining a 95% occupancy rate. Located within walking distance to the site are Thames Street Wharf, featuring Johns Hopkins University and Morgan Stanley, and Bond Street Wharf which contains additional corporate tenants.

Numerous transportation options connects Brown’s Wharf to all points around metropolitan Baltimore and the adjacent submarkets. Baltimore’s Water Taxi system, which transports business people and visitors to attractions within Inner Harbor, Canton, Federal Hill and Harbor East locations in the City, maintains a dedicated dock adjacent to Brown’s Wharf. Local residents and business people can also utilize the Charm City Circulator and its thirty hybrid buses to travel from the project to the downtown business district of Baltimore City, the Inner Harbor, Harbor East and Penn Station. In addition, the Mass Transit Administration provides regular bus service to and from Brown’s Wharf, and major highways within proximity to the project include Interstates 95, 395 and 83, as well as MD Route 295.

About CRC

Continental Realty Corporation, headquartered in Baltimore and founded in 1960, is a full-service commercial real estate investment and management company. The privately-owned firm owns and manages a diversified portfolio of retail centers consisting of over 3.5 million square feet of space, as well as apartment communities featuring nearly 10,000 apartment homes. Positioned throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, the value of the portfolio exceeds $1.5 billion.

About WorkShop Development

WorkShop Development is a Baltimore based developer focused on value-add commercial real estate development. Projects include retail, industrial, office and adaptive re-use. From award winning and transformative ground-up projects such as The Shops at Canton Crossing to the mixed-use Bagby Building, the company  approaches each with the same objective: to create outstanding environments for people to work, shop and live. www.workshopdev.com

Also Covered By

The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Business Journal
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Baltimore Fishbowl