Baltimore Squashwise has begun construction on squash courts and other recreational spaces in the former Greyhound bus station on Howard Street. Rendering courtesy of Baltimore Squashwise.

Fourteen months after buying the former Greyhound bus station on Howard Street, Baltimore Squashwise has begun construction and is unveiling its renovation plans.

Squashwise is holding three briefing sessions this week to share details about its plans to convert the 1941 bus terminal at 601 N. Howard St. to the Squashwise Center for Youth Partnership.

The renovated building will be the permanent home for Squashwise’s programs and a community center. Plans call for six squash courts, a multipurpose fitness space, classrooms and a rec room. It will be a place that “bridges communities through a shared love of squash and sport, and it will expand the reach of squash beyond its traditional settings,” according to Squashwise’s website.

The first two briefing sessions are virtual: Wednesday, July 13, from 6 to 7 p.m., and Thursday, July 14, from noon to 1 p.m. An in-person open house will be held on Saturday, July 16, starting at 9:30 a.m. Registration for the virtual meetings is at https://linktr.ee/squashwise.

Squashwise “partners with Baltimore City student-athletes to play, learn and grow in all aspects of their lives, using the racquet sport of squash as an opportunity generator,” its website states. Its program offers a combination of “tutoring, squash coaching and competition, fitness and college and career readiness” with 80% of its students going on to college.

The Howard Street building served as Greyhound’s Baltimore bus station from 1941 to 1987. It later became part of the Maryland Center for History and Culture campus. Squashwise acquired it in May 2021.

The renovated facility will replace Squashwise’s longtime home at Meadow Mill Athletic Club, where it was based since 2008 and which closed last July. The organization is currently operating from interim facilities at 2801 Sisson St. in Remington.

Last spring, Squashwise’s leaders gave hardhat tours that showed much of the bus station interior has been cleared out to make way for squash courts and other spaces. PI.KL Studio is the project architect. The target completion date is late 2023.

401 E. Pratt Street (AKA The World Trade Center) gets new brokers, more than $1 million in upgrades

The Maryland Port Administration has selected MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, LLC, and Harrington Commercial Real Estate Services to complete leasing of 401 E. Pratt Street, also known as the World Trade Center Baltimore.

Built in 1977, known as the world’s tallest pentagon, the 31-story office tower is about 71% occupied, with about 87,000 square feet of space available.

The real estate brokers are touting the availability of “turn-key suites,” starting at 500 square feet of space, that offer immediate move-in and shorter leasing terms. They also say more than $1 million has been spent recently to update the on-site conference facilities, fitness center and food amenity known as The Marketplace. Office spaces up to 11,000 square feet of space are currently available, with small office footprints ranging between 500 and 1,500 square feet of space.

“As employees begin their steady migration back to the traditional workplace, 401 E. Pratt Street offers compelling advantages for companies seeking to right-size [their] space requirements, take advantage of move-in ready suites with shorter terms and have access to hotels, business amenities and restaurants within walking distance,” said real estate executive Terri Harrington, in a statement.

“Recent improvements to 401 E. Pratt Street have returned the asset to its best-in-class status and it remains an iconic landmark in the Baltimore City marketplace,” she said. “The turn-key suites are especially suitable for companies which have recently won contracts and need to ramp up quickly, as well as for out-of-town entities looking to establish a physical presence in Baltimore.”

Rash Field meeting to explore ideas for Phase 2

The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore is hosting a public meeting and ice cream social to discuss ideas for the next phase of Rash Field Park, the public space on the south shore of the Inner Harbor.

The meeting will be held at the park, 300 Key Highway, on July 27 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To register: rashfield.org.

Lidl opens at Northwood Commons

The German grocer Lidl opened its first Baltimore City-based grocery store Wednesday at 1500 Havenwood Road. It’s the latest addition to Northwood Commons, the retail center that MCB Real Estate and MLR Partners are developing near the Morgan State University campus.

Moody Nolan selected to design $250 million Morgan State science center

Moody Nolan Inc., one of the nation’s largest African American design firms, has been chosen to design a new science complex for Morgan State University. Maryland’s Board of Public Works this month approved a $20.1 million contract that calls for the firm to design the $250 million, 246,435-square-foot project, which is expected to open in 2027. Core Studio Design, headed by Betsy Boykin, is the landscape architect.

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Ed Gunts

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