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Lifestyle concepts continue to be on the rise

The Rotunda, shown here during construction, features a variety of amenities residents tend to look for when choosing a space in a mixed-use development with retail and residential. (The Daily Record file / Maximilian Franz)

The Rotunda, shown here during construction, features a variety of amenities residents tend to look for when choosing a space in a mixed-use development with retail and residential. (The Daily Record file / Maximilian Franz)

When the temperature reaches the upper-80s, 90s and even 100s, one place Hampden residents flock to is the splash pad fountain at The Rotunda, the recently renovated mixed-use development in Baltimore featuring around 300,000 square feet of retail and office space and 379 luxury apartments.

But there is also the on-site farmer’s market held on the second Tuesday of every warm-weather month. They also hosted a Summer Solstice Gathering in late June featuring a bevy of the area’s best food trucks.

“It’s not just a destination for people who want to live there but has become a gathering place for the entire neighborhood of Hampden,” said Julie A. Schorr, Hekemian and Co. marketing director. “We are really proud of that.”

First built in 1921, The Rotunda is one of several developments in the region that has shifted toward the live, work, play movement.

“There is a recognized need in development to create lifestyle communities for people,” Schorr said. “I think developers are realizing they have got to offer a lot more than a room when it comes to apartment living.”

Developers are finding people want amenity-rich lifestyle conveniences. The Rotunda features a club room, coffee bar, fitness center, pool, courtyard and grilling stations.

Schorr noted there has been a shift in retail due to increasing online sales so developments that are successful are the ones that are more service oriented featuring food and beverages options.

“Retail centers themselves are changing and when you can provide those conveniences to your tenants, it becomes a win-win for everybody,” she said. “You’ve got a community that can thrive in and of itself.”

In June, construction kicked off for the $350 million, five-acre Towson Row development promising 250 residential units, 300 student housing units, a hotel, office space and restaurants. The project was initially set to start in 2015 but was delayed after the demolition of several buildings on the site took place. In December, the Baltimore County Council approved a nearly $43 million assistance package to the land developers over a five year period with $26.5 million to be repaid and the remainder grant funded.

Messages left with the spokesperson for lead developer Greenberg Gibbons were not returned.

Construction began in June on The Met at Metro Centre in Owings Mills – a seven-story, 114-unit luxury apartment project featuring one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 814 to 1,171 square feet of space. Set to be completed in spring 2019, the structure will increase the number of apartments in the development to 350.

Residents will be able to enjoy amenities such as an outdoor pool, dining and grilling areas, a fitness center with a yoga room and a community room with a kitchen and special events area.

The Owings Mills-based Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) features unique touches such as being nestled right by I-795 and hosting a county campus building home to a branch of the Baltimore County Public Library and the Community College of Baltimore County. The development also puts on special events throughout the year including a farmer’s market, free outdoor movie nights including an upcoming July 27 showing of “The Greatest Showman” and food truck and wine festivals.

Howard Brown, chairman of David S. Brown Enterprises which manages the site, notes TODs and live, work, play developments go hand in hand.

“I don’t think you can have what (Metro Centre has) unless you have a TOD attached to it,” he said. “I don’t think you can have a town center without a transit to a connection. That’s really what makes it a town center.”

Brown believes the live, work, play development has been so popular because people are downsizing from suburbia to live in a more urban environment with fewer or no cars.

“I think they’d like to walk downstairs and get a coffee or go eat at Eggspectation or walk down across the street to the library or go take a course at a college,” he said. “I think it is a microcosm of an urban city transplanted in suburbia that is associated with a transit station.”

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