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REAL ESTATE INSIDER

Lion Brothers building starts new life

8a REI Lion Brothers Rendering

The Lions Brothers building.

Wednesday evening marked a big night in the renovation of the Lion Brothers building in southwest Baltimore.

Real estate developer Cross Street Partners agreed to purchase the building last year and announced plans to convert the building, at 875 Hollins St., into “cool, funky” office space.

The firm announced it has signed three tenants to leases on Wednesday. Enterprise Community Partners will lease 8,318 square feet, Baltimore Community Lending, has agreed to take 3,449 square feet and the University of Maryland Baltimore County Intermedia and Digital Arts graduate program will occupy 5,935 square feet. Those leases represent 67 percent of the available space in the building.

“Each of our tenants took a risk by signing onto Lion Brothers when it was still in the development phase, and we are grateful to them for playing an instrumental role in making this project a reality,” John Renner, development director at Cross Street Partners, said in a news release.

Cross Street Partners also secured financing for the project with $11.7 million structured through Neighborhood BusinessWorks, The Southwest Partnership through the State’s Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. and City First Bank of DC.

Cross Street Partners held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Wednesday night. Tenants are expected to move into the building in December.

“It’s not totally unique in Baltimore, but it has the classic look of a former manufacturing facility, like the big industrial windows. It has gigantic roof monitors, which are like skylights, there’s actually six of them all over the second level. So I think the ability to bring in a ton of natural light will be kind of a character-defining feature of the property,” Renner said about the property in October of last year.

A portion of the 37,500-square-foot building dates back to 1886, when it was initially used as a stable. Eventually, embroidered emblem maker Lion Brothers Co. took over the property following the great fire of 1904 and expanded it over the years.

Lion Brothers left the building in 1958, and it has sat vacant for about the past 15 years.

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