Spike Gjerde and Corey Polyoka to Open the Sandlot in April; For Lease: Vacant Bank of Baltimore; Marco Greenberg Joins COPT

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Rendering of Harbor Point

Get ready to see and hear a great deal about “the Sandlot.”

Port Covington may be building bike paths that glow in the dark, but Harbor Point is getting a waterfront recreational area with volleyball and bocce courts, locally sourced food and drinks and a park-like, family-friendly landscape featuring a vintage Airstream trailer and recycled shipping containers.

The site is part of the 4.5-acre main green space at Harbor Point, the 27-acre, three million-square-foot city-within-a-city taking shape on the old Allied Signal chromium plant property between Harbor East and Fells Point.

The green space is the so-called ‘Sydney Opera House’ site in downtown Baltimore, a peninsula that separates the Inner Harbor basin from the Outer Harbor and features sweeping views in both directions. It was once considered the potential site for an iconic building that could be Baltimore’s equivalent of Sydney’s Opera House.

The Sandlot is expected to open by April on a 12,000-square-foot parcel at the southernmost point of Harbor Point, accessible by car or by walking or biking on the promenade along the water’s edge.

This new waterfront destination will be a joint venture of Beatty Development Group, the master developer of Harbor Point, and Foodshed, the development arm of the Woodberry Kitchen family of restaurants from Spike and Amy Gjerde and Corey Polyoka.

The food component of the Sandlot will be the first downtown and waterfront development for Foodshed, which builds and develops hospitality projects for “people who care about our food system.” Foodshed manages Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact Coffee, Parts & Labor, Bird in Hand, Grand Cru and, soon to open, A Rake’s Progress in the Adams Morgan section of Washington, D.C., as well as Woodberry Kitchen’s butchery, baking and canning operations in Baltimore.

Foodshed has expanded to facilitate the building and development of new projects that contribute to the company’s goal of supporting local food growers and producers. Before Foodshed, Spike Gjerde worked on two close-to-waterfront restaurants: the Joy America Café at the Visionary Arts Museum and The Atlantic in Canton.

Beatty and Foodshed disclosed plans for the Sandlot project last week in the last paragraph of a news release about a new, ongoing collaboration between the two companies, but they didn’t give many specifics. The larger collaboration calls for applying concepts that guide Woodberry Kitchen’s operations, including local food sourcing and an emphasis on sustainability, to the entire Harbor Point neighborhood and the businesses there.

“The first Foodshed/Beatty venture set to open at Harbor Point is the Sandlot, an outdoor space that will utilize more than 12,000 square feet along the edge of Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor by providing locally sourced food and drink, outdoor games, family friendly areas and a pleasant park-like landscape,” the release stated. “The Sandlot is slated to open in April 2017. More information will be announced soon.”

Although plans for different buildings at Harbor Point have been unveiled during meetings of Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel, specific plans for the Sandlot have not been presented to the group. The city’s liquor board also has not disclosed details of any application for a liquor license associated with a new venture at the tip of Harbor Point.

Chris Seiler, the manager of marketing and communications for Beatty, said the Beatty/Foodshed team is not scheduled to present its plans for the Sandlot to UDARP, and no renderings are available at this point to show what the project will look like. He said site work is expected to begin soon to get the property ready by April. He said the Sandlot is envisioned as a temporary use for the land, lasting four to five years.

Seiler said the name Sandlot is meant to evoke a casual place associated with spontaneity and “happy memories of childhood.”  He said the development team intends to use an Airstream trailer and recycled shipping containers to house elements of the project, but much of it will be outdoors on the land itself. Seiler said he did not know exactly how many volleyball and bocce courts will be created, but the idea is that they could supplement the ones at Rash Field and elsewhere in the city. He said the food-and-beverage element would be run by Gjerde and Polyoka.

Given the association with Foodshed, the project promises to get plenty of attention. The property is a photographer’s dream, like Ferry Bar Park at Port Covington. In many ways, the Sandlot project is reminiscent of efforts by the Schaefer administration to hold the City Fair and other festivals on Baltimore’s waterfront to get people accustomed to visiting a part of town that is undergoing redevelopment and show the potential of the site.

Several years ago, Cirque du Soleil set up a tent on Harbor Point for a series of performances, and that drew people to the site. While its name may sound whimsical, the Sandlot is a calculated and logical effort to achieve the same result.

Owner seeks a new use for the former Bank of Baltimore site

The owner of the vacant Bank of Baltimore building, the Greek temple at Baltimore and Charles streets, is looking for a new use for it and is now working with a neighboring property owner to find one.

A large sign went up on the side of the building recently promoting the historic bank as a development opportunity. “For Lease,” it says. “Restaurant. Retail. Office.” It calls the building 1 East Baltimore Street and directs interested parties to contact [email protected].

Metropolitan Partnership is the developer of the apartments at 10 Light Street, just east of the Bank of Baltimore, with the Under Armour Performance Center at its base. Metropolitan is also building offices and residences at One Light Street and has been selected by the city to collaborate with Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) on plans to build retail space at the base of the Transamerica tower.

According to Michael Evitts, vice president of communications for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, the longtime owner of the bank building is now working with Metropolitan to find a new use for his property, which has about 10,000 square feet of space on two levels. Evitts said the bank building has been surrounded by chain link fencing because it was being power washed. The fencing also prevents homeless people from sleeping under the portico at one of the downtown’s key intersections.

Cary Euwer, the head of Metropolitan, has been honored by the Downtown Partnership for his efforts to redevelop key parcels in the heart of downtown. The bank is another historic building that needs a strong vision to guide its redevelopment.

Marco Greenberg leaves Beatty to join COPT

Marco Greenberg, a top officer for the Beatty Development Group, has left that company to join Corporate Office Properties Trust, which has acquired some properties in downtown Baltimore and along the Canton waterfront. Greenberg’s first day with COPT is today.

M&T Bank Stadium renovations approved

Maryland’s Board of Public Works voted 3-to-0 to approve plans for up to $144 million worth of improvements to M&T Bank Stadium in Camden Yards at its meeting on Jan. 25. Changes include new escalators and elevators to the uppermost seats, new video boards and additional club suites. The Ravens are spending $120 million and the Maryland Stadium Authority is providing the rest. The work will take place in phases during 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Crossbar beer garden seeks liquor license

The prospective operators of the Crossbar beer garden in South Baltimore are trying once again to obtain a liquor license so they can open their business at 18 E. Cross Street. The city’s liquor board has scheduled a meeting for Feb. 9 to consider an application from the Crossbar team to transfer a license from another location, Joey B’s Bar and Grille, which was on S. Charles Street but is no longer open.

Groundhog Day celebration at The Elephant restaurant

The Baltimore Architecture Foundation, a nonprofit group that celebrates good design and planning through tours, lectures and other activities, will hold its annual Groundhog Day fundraiser on Feb. 2 at The Elephant restaurant, 924 N. Charles Street. Ticket information is available at 410-625-2585.

David Ritter joins GWWO’s architectural staff

David Ritter has joined GWWO as an architect. He has experience in space planning and design for a variety of building types, including K-12 and higher education facilities.

Kimco Realty lands three new tenants for Wilde Lake in Columbia

Kimco Realty Corp. has signed three new leases, including one for a Starbucks at its Wilde Lake Center in Columbia. Besides Starbucks, which is opening a café and drive-thru in the fall of 2017, other new tenants include Dynamic Dental Care, LLC, which opened last month, and Salons by JC, scheduled to open in the fall.

Three new tenants for Foundry Row in Owings Mills

Greenberg Gibbons and Vanguard have announced three additional tenants, all food-related, for Foundry Row, the $140 million development on Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills. The new businesses are Sarku Japan, occupying 1,930 square feet across from Mission BBQ; Bonchon Chicken, to be located in a 3,060-square-foot space near Smashburger, and Sunset Raw Juice Bar, a 1,482-square-foot business between Panera Bread and Smashburger.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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