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New look for 100 Light Street to be unveiled

After Legg Mason moved out, the owners of 100 Light Street spent $44 million for renovations, which include new landscaping and a 550-car parking garage.

After Legg Mason moved out, the owners of 100 Light Street spent $44 million for renovations, which include new landscaping and a 550-car parking garage.

Owners of one of the signature towers in the inner harbor will unveil a new look Thursday complete with open green space where stately pink granite once decorated a plaza as well as a new lobby, cafeteria and parking garage.

The 35-story tower at 100 Light Street, considered one of Baltimore’s premiere addresses that used to be home to Legg Mason Inc. before the investment house moved out last summer, had not undergone any major renovations since it opened in 1973.

Today, with just under 50 percent of the tower leased after Legg moved its 700 employees about a mile east to new digs, owners and leasing agents are eager to show off the upgrades to attract more tenants.

“The new plaza, lobby, parking garage and mechanical upgrades bring it into the 21st century,” said David Downey, senior vice president for Cassidy Turley, the leasing company for the tower. “This building was categorized as cold, and now with the upgrades to the plaza and the lobby, it’s just totally welcoming. It’s warm and pleasant.”

Turley said leasing rates at 100 Light Street average close to $30 per square foot, with the higher floors leasing for a higher rate. That is lower than the city’s most expensive commercial real estate, located in Harbor East, which leases for an average of around $45 per square foot.

The renovations began in early 2009 and total $44 million and were ordered by Lexington Realty Trust, a New York-based firm that owns the building and has offices there. They included construction of a new 550-car parking garage, located across the street from the tower, on Lombard Street.

Roughly 44 percent of the 35-story building is leased. The building, with panoramic views of downtown Baltimore that stretch outward the suburbs, has a total of 600,634 rentable square feet.

In early April, the law firm Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver announced it would begin to move into six floors of 100 Light Street, occupying roughly 94,000 square feet of the building. Other tenants include an office of the national commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley and the posh, members-only Center Club, located on the tower’s two top floors.

Renovations included eliminating a large part of the granite plaza on the street level and replacing it with a green plaza, resplendent with flowering trees, shrubs and a lawn.

Restorations to the outer ledges of the tower included maintaining nesting space for the generations of peregrine falcons that have called the urban landmark home for decades. Designers worked with the state Department of Natural Resources to ensure the link between architecture and nature.

Granite and other materials from the renovation will be recycled and reused as part of the new landscape architecture, forming retaining walls for new planters and benches outside in the plaza, which will also hold outdoor seating, dining tables and bike racks.