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Phillips shuts Locust Point headquarters

Another one bites the dust.

The massive “World Headquarters” of Phillips Seafood in Locust Point is the latest prime piece of real estate in Baltimore to be put on the block, sources say.

Phillips family members have been selectively seeking new owners for the 11-acre property located next door to the new and yuppified McHenry Row development in South Baltimore at 1215 E. Fort Ave.

The seafood empire formally known as Phillips Foods Inc. shuttered the plant in late June, laying off about 100 employees. It packed up and moved out of the processing and distribution plant that was recently upgraded into a state-of-the-art refrigerated building at a cost some say was around $15 million.

That has left a giant — pardon the pun — shell of a building at the site and there is no sign of crabs or crab picking left there except for some painted crustacean stencils on the outer walls.

Phillips Vice President for Marketing Caroline Tippett did not return a call for comment Thursday.

NAI KLNB’s leasing agents Dave Fritz and Brad Berzins, whose names are listed on a sign out front offering Class A office space for rent inside the old Phillips plant, also did not return calls.

Phillips is operating 17 other seafood processing plants around the world, including a 1,400-person crab picking operation in Singapore, far from the humble roots of the operation’s Eastern Shore founders, who started as a carry-out joint, working from a tiny kitchen table.

The future ownership of the Locust Point plant remains uncertain, as representatives of some of the area’s top developers including David Cordish and Ed St. John have been escorted through its vacant hallways on the ultimate fishing expedition, sources say.

“I don’t suspect for one second that that property will sit on the market for long,” said William H. Cole IV, the City Council member whose district includes the site.

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In Highlandtown, agents from MacKenzie Retail LLC are seeking to lease space in an exciting new restaurant location.

A 3,000-square foot project in the Highlandtown Mainstreet area is available near the Highlandtown Library redevelopment project, developed by the Southeast Community Development Corp. The new digs, at the corner of Eastern and Highland avenues, will be available early next year and are large enough to hold up to 90 diners.

The lease has the added potential of a liquor license, said MacKenzie’s Henry A. Deford, and about 40 parking spaces nearby on Highland Avenue.

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This week, St. John Properties, Inc. said it had purchased 18 additional acres within Baltimore Crossroads @95, the 1,000-acre mixed-use development on the eastern side of Baltimore County. Over the last eight years, St. John has developed 16 buildings there totaling 500,000 square feet of commercial office, R&D flex and retail space.

The latest acquisition will allow St. John to connect two parcels to form a contiguous 60-acre building plot. Road and infrastructure construction is expected to begin there next month. When completed, the Baltimore Crossroads @95 project will hold more than 5 million square feet of mixed-use space, including two hotels and 450,000 square feet of retail space.