Port Covington, Metro Centre and other big real estate projects to watch in 2021

Via Baltimore Business Journal

Five years after plans to redevelop Port Covington into Baltimore’s new waterfront gold coast, work on the 213-acre parcel is expected to launch early next year.

The $5.5 billion project is poised to be Baltimore’s marquee development in the coming decade as it unfolds over more than 200 waterfront acres on the Middle Branch. But others are in the works as well as the metro area’s landscape continues to expand and change despite the impact of Covid-19 this year.

Here are some highlights of large-scale projects in the works:

Port Covington — Weller Development is set to begin infrastructure work in South Baltimore to make way for new office space, retail and luxury apartments. The work on this portion of the development’s “Chapter 1” will stretch through 2022 after being stalled this year in the pandemic and a need to sell tax increment financing bonds to help fund the kickoff.

Perkins Somerset Oldtown — Demolition of Perkins Homes is underway as this massive redevelopment of just over 200 acres in East Baltimore north of Harbor East begins to change the mojo in the space between Harbor East and Johns Hopkins Hospital. The decrepit public housing project will be replaced by a series of apartment buildings and a public park, funded in part with a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $105 million tax increment financing package from the city.

Collective at Canton — Tall cranes dot the sky once again in Canton where a 500-unit luxury apartment project by Greystar is going up off Boston and Haven streets. This year, a Sprouts Market opened as the first retailer in a small shopping hub at the site by developer Mark Sapperstein, with more retailers like a Chase Bank branch opening in the new year.

Yard 56 — A new gym and a few restaurants opened at this development off Eastern Avenue across from Johns Hopkins Bayview this year as the mixed-use project by MCB Real Estate gets ready to add its next phase. That will include 225 new market-rate apartments and an 82,000-square-foot medical office building at the former Pemco International industrial site.

Northwood Commons — A new 30,000-square-foot market by German grocer Lidl is going up as part of the centerpiece of the redevelopment of Northwood Plaza near Morgan State University through a partnership of MLR Partners and MCB Real Estate. The ground-up development will also hold a Morgan State-themed Barnes & Noble bookstore, expected to open in early 2022.

Penn Station — Ever wonder what is on the second and third floors of the historic train station? A $90 million redevelopment of the head house in Midtown will kickoff in 2021 to add office space to the long-vacant square footage. Plans for the project were refined in 2020 to add a modern, new station entry off St. Paul and Lanvale streets for better access to new high-speed train tracks being added to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. The Penn Station redevelopment has attracted several new apartment projects in Mount Vernon like the City House Charles, a redevelopment of the Grand Central nightclub that started this fall.

Towson Row — The long-awaited Whole Foods in Towson will open next year at this $350 million project in the Baltimore County seat off York Road. Look for two new hotels to open there in the coming year by Owings Mills-based developer Greenberg Gibbons and another student housing development, The York, which will have 231 units.

The Marriott at Metro Centre — The transit-oriented development in Owings Mills is expanding again with a luxury 224-key hotel in Owings Mills off Interstate 795 expected to open in July by David S. Brown Ltd. The $70 million, 10-story hotel will stretch 225,000-square-feet and have a 400-person ballroom. It will be at the gateway to the 45-acre Metro Centre that also holds a branch of the Baltimore County Public Library and a campus of Baltimore County Community College.

Alongside those ongoing developments, here are two other high-profile projects that will be on the 2021 radar:

Harborplace — New Mayor Brandon Scott could be poised to focus on a new plan for the Inner Harbor landmark. Harborplace has struggled for years with lax management and city oversight and vacancies and remains under a court-ordered receivership. Covid-19 mandatory shutdowns further impacted the development’s existence this year with more vacancies.

The Village at Cross Keys — This 54-year-old North Baltimore retail center sold in July for $27 million to local owners Caves Valley Partners by a subsidiary of Harborplace’s former owner, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. Plans are in the works to renovate and update the development and restock it with new retail and office tenants, including a boutique food market. About 300 new luxury apartments will also be added to the footprint.