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Greenebaum Enterprises plans downtown Towson office tower overhaul

Greenebaum Enterprises and Caves Valley Partners have teamed up to overhaul a downtown Towson office building surrounded by new development.

The developers plan a $1 million overhaul of a property, previously listed as 29 W. Susquehanna Ave., now rebranded as 215 Washington Avenue. The firms plan to add a new exterior, an upgraded lobby and landscaping improvements for the seven-story, 73,000-square-foot office building.

“As Towson continues to transition into a bustling metropolitan area with major development, more first-class space is needed to support this growth. This property has great potential,” Mark A. Bennett Sr., of Greenebaum Enterprises, said in a statement.

It’s hoped that upgrades to the property will generate a boost in leasing at the building, which is currently 60% leased. Maryland property records show a limited liability corporation named after the property’s previous address purchased the building in May 2018 for $4 million.

Commercial real estate services firm JLL listed Towson among its low-demand markets in its second-quarter market report. The firm’s report found the area producing an asking rent of $24.37 per square foot for Class A properties, with roughly 350,000 square feet available.

Meanwhile, Columbia’s downtown produced an average asking rent of $34.97 per square foot, with roughly the same amount of available space. To the north along Interstate 83, Hunt Valley, with a similar amount of open office space, posted an average asking rent of $25.92.

Towson’s downtown core, however, continues to draw investment in new building.

A short walk from 215 Washington Avenue, Greenberg Gibbons and Caves Valley Partners teamed up on the $350 million Towson Row project that features apartments, hotel space and Baltimore County’s first Whole Foods store.

Towson University also started working with developers in March to overhaul the historic, 21,000-square-foot National Guard Armory building a block north on Washington Avenue.

In recent years, the downtown Towson area has adopted a denser urban style of development. It’s hoped the new spaces will help keep talent from the college in the area to develop new business and to bolster the local economy.

As younger workers continue to express a preference for urban areas over traditional suburban development areas, Towson and Columbia launched efforts to revive their cores to help businesses attract and retain talent. By holding onto those businesses, and by attracting residents to live in the area, jurisdictions hope to boost associated revenues.

Newmark Knight Frank’s recent report on office sales in the Baltimore metro area found investor interest in suburban office properties increasing in recent months. The number of suburban office sales in the area increased 24% in the first six months of 2019 compared to the same six months last year.

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