Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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BALTIMORE 298 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 Under Armour's Ambitious Undertaking CEO Kevin Plank takes on one of the largest urban renewal projects in America with Port Covington. A pproximately three miles due south from the center of downtown Balti- more's main-and-main is Port Covington. Over the years, this 266-acre parcel of land has lived many lives. During the War of 1812, as Fort Covington, it defended Baltimoreans against the British. In the 1900s, as the Western Maryland Railway Port Covington Coal Field, it became a major coal transportation hub for the East Coast. In more recent years, it was home to a Walmart-and-Sam's-Club-anchored shopping center development that never fully materialized. Now, Under Armour's hometown CEO Kevin Plank has a new plan for this storied South Baltimore peninsula — cen- tered around a 50-acre, 3.9-million-square- foot campus that will be Under Armour's company headquarters. The 15-year, multi-phase, multi-billion-dollar master plan will include 13 million square feet of office, residential, retail and entertainment venues, and over 40 acres of waterfront parks and green space. The site, which sits just south of Interstate 95, will connect to the rest of the city through light rail, bus routes and new water taxi stops, according to the master plan. "This is one of the largest urban renewal projects in America right now," says Marc Weller, president of Sagamore Develop- ment, the private development company Plank formed to develop the Port Covington project. "Our plan will honor the rich heritage of Port Covington while creating a new, exciting and viable neighborhood in South Baltimore. We believe it's a great complement to the revitalization happening downtown." At first glance, it might seem odd that the head of a performance footwear, apparel and accessories retail chain would imagine and then undertake a real estate development of this scale. But, when looking more closely at Plank's history of pushing bound- aries — starting with the way he took the sports world by storm when he introduced the now prolific moisture-repelling Under Armour T-shirt to the football field — it becomes clear that Port Covington is part of his vision to position Under Armour as the leading sportswear brand in the world. Currently, Under Armour employs approximately 1,900 people in the city. With the opening of its headquarters campus at Port Covington, the company expects to eventually have more than 10,000 Baltimore-based employees. "Under Armour needs a new home to accommodate its rapid growth, and we believe that Port Covington will be the perfect site," says Tom Geddes, CEO of Plank Industries, the parent company of Sagamore Development. Though Phase I of the project isn't slated to be fully complete until 2021, progress is already being made. Hundreds of Under Armour employees have begun to work in the former Sam's Club space, which was renovated into a 170,000-square-foot office building earlier this year. Additionally, Sagamore Development has completed a new manufacturing process innovation center, and work is underway on a state-of-the-art whiskey distillery. Port Covington's first phase also will include the full Under Armour campus and 500,000 square feet of waterfront retail space. Part of the retail plans call for a 150,000-square-foot Under Armour flagship store — the largest in the world. "The retail component is not going to look like a typical mall," says Nick Egelanian, founder of SiteWorks Retail Real Estate Services and a retail consultant on the project. "Our concept behind this is if Under Armour is doing something it's never done before, then we should be able to get other retailers to think outside-the-box with their concepts too. Our vision is to do some- thing very special here." And, for Plank and Sagamore Development, that's the overarching theme of the entire Port Covington master plan – to do something very special in a place that's spent much of the last 50 years in disrepair. "We're transforming over 200 acres of underutilized industrial land into a new thriving, active and inclusive economic center and residential area in Baltimore City," Weller says. "The Port Covington redevelopment will create tens of thousands of jobs and have a fundamental and far-reaching positive impact on Baltimore's economic future. We're excited and humbled to be a part of it." — Lindsey Walker Marcec Port Covington will be built over a number of years by Sagamore Development.

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