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Tremont Plaza to become Embassy Suites

The Hilton-owned Embassy Suites Hotels chain will soon hoist its logo on a downtown Baltimore landmark: The Tremont Plaza Hotel.

Sources say the changeover at the 45-year-old hotel will occur this month.

The 390-suite Tremont Plaza was to be converted into apartments, its owner William C. Smith + Co. of Washington, D.C. said in January. But those plans fizzled for reasons unknown.

Officials of the William C. Smith + Co. did not return repeated calls for comment. It was also unclear whether the company would continue to own the historic and elaborate Tremont Grand banquet hall and meeting space that is located in the 200 block of North Charles Street.

The hotel’s rooms have undergone extensive renovations and expansions into an all-suite property over the past couple of years. Other changes to the property include the closure this week of the Grand Café, also in the 200 block of North Charles Street.

The Embassy Suites has another hotel near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.


A joint venture partnership of St. John Properties Inc. and Petrie Ross Ventures has purchased the 61-acre Harrisburg Mall Thursday from TD Bank.

The 1-million square foot mall located just an hour from Baltimore is 70 percent leased with stores that include Macy’s, Bass Pro Shops and Great Escape Theatre. It is the initial foray into Pennsylvania by St. John, which holds about 17 million square feet of office, R&D-flex, retail and warehouse space in Maryland, Colorado, Louisiana, Virginia and Wisconsin. Annapolis-based Petrie Ross Ventures is also making its first push into Pennsylvania with the purchase. The 12-year-old company manages malls, shopping centers and mixed-used projects in suburban Maryland including City Place Mall in Silver Spring and Woodmore Towne Centre at Glenarden in Lanham.

The Harrisburg Mall is located off of Interstate 83 and was built in 1969. Five years ago, it got a $60 million exterior and interior facelift.

“This purchase increases the retail share of St. John Properties’ portfolio,” said Ed St. John, chairman and founder of St. John Properties. “We previously focused on providing necessity and convenience retail that supported our existing business communities, but this acquisition brings our company into the regional mall arena. We are adding staff to ensure the success of this project and we continue to seek retail opportunities across the country. The Harrisburg Mall acquisition further illustrates our team’s strength in recognizing opportunities for distressed or under-valued assets available in the mid-Atlantic marketplace.”


Two bidders sought to purchase a 5.2-acre waterfront parcel at Port Covington Thursday during a foreclosure auction at a downtown law office. The property at 301. E. Cromwell St. was sold for $2 million, and the buyer was not identified. The parcel was owned by the struggling development firm Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc., which defaulted on a $10.7 million loan for the site where the company had once envisioned a residential, office and retail project. The sale was first reported on the Baltimore Business Journal’s website.


NAI KLNB recently brokered the sale of a two-story warehouse and office space in Halethorpe near Arbutus to cell phone tower company D&H Builders for $750,000.

The building is located at 2606 Willow Ave. and features 3,900 square feet of office space and 2,200 square feet of warehouse space. NAI KLNB’s principal James V. Caronna, represented the seller, Andrew and Nancy Bassler.

D&H Builders will relocate its headquarters to the new space from Laurel.


This week, Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Community Development announced it would remove a series of “iconic figures” from the McCulloh Homes housing project for upgrades.

The statues represent the community’s greatest hopes and portray a boy and girl playing, a press release said. They had been outside for more than 70 years before being removed and taken to the Steve Tatti Fine Arts Conservator studio for the facelift.

“The replication of these historic statues will help restore the beauty of McCulloh Homes and provide residents with museum quality art that they can enjoy for many years to come,” said city housing commissioner Paul T. Graziano.

The $80,000 restoration was funded in part from the city’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. The work will take six months to complete.


TIDBITS: The 375-unit luxury market-rate rental apartment home community in Owings Mills called View at Mill Run recently received $55 million in mortgage insurance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The complex opened last fall and was developed by Sidney Emmer Builders Inc. It is 70 percent leased … The Stanley Halle Companies, builders of waterfront and unique properties in Maryland and Delaware, was recently awarded the 2011 Max Award from The Home Builders Association of Maryland. The company snagged the award in the Custom Home over $1 million category … Enterprise Homes and Capital One Bank recently broke ground for the 100-unit senior housing development called The Greens at Irvington Mews. The development is located across from Mt. St. Joseph High School in West Baltimore and will feature more than 5,000 square feet of common area space including a fitness room, computer center, lounge, community room and hospitality suite as well as 18 two-bedroom units and 82 one-bedroom units. Capital One has provided $13 million in low income housing tax credit equity through Enterprise Community Investment Inc., $600,000 in permanent financing and $8.4 million in construction financing, to be paid off when the development is complete.