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Cornerstone Financial bolts Baltimore for Towson

210 Alleghany Ave. in Towson (Submitted Photo)

210 Alleghany Ave. in Towson (Submitted Photo)

Cornerstone Financial plans to leave Baltimore and has signed a lease for office space in Towson.

The insurance and employee benefit firm signed a 3,290-square-foot lease at a five-story office property at 210 Alleghany Ave., property owner Chesapeake Real Estate Group said on Monday. The move brings occupancy at the property in the suburban central business district to 75%.

“The building’s high-profile location near the Baltimore County Courthouse, and the opportunity to build value in a totally vacant asset, first attracted us to this project. Our continued success in leasing (the property) validates our capital investment and our vision to attract highly-respected professional companies to the building. Cornerstone Financial represents an excellent addition to the tenant mix,” Christopher Murray, vice president at Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC, said in a statement.

Chesapeake has invested $1 million in overhauling the property. Upgrades included installing new windows and flooring, reskinning the building’s exterior, as well as renovating the first-floor lobby.

Cicero Capital Partners and Chesapeake purchased the building, which was delivered in 1978, in the fall of 2016 for roughly $1.07 million, according to state tax records.

During that time the company has signed leases with firms including Black & Decker as well as law firms Forster & LeCompte, which also relocated from Baltimore, and Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall, which leases 3,774 square feet of space.

Cornerstone Financial will relocate its 10 employees from the firm’s current space on East Franklin St. Murray represented the landlord and Rich Thomas of Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant in the deal.

The direct vacancy rate in the Towson office market reached 14.5% in the final quarter of 2019, according to the most recent office market report from Newmark Knight Frank. That’s higher than the metro area average of 12.4% and up from 11.6% in Towson at the same time in 2018.

Asking rents for office space in Towson, according to the same report, were recorded at $21.02 per square foot in the fourth quarter. Overall the average rent in the metro area reached 23.92 at the end of last year. Rents at the end of 2018 in Towson were also slightly higher at $21.09 per square foot .

The property at 210 Allegheny Ave. is in downtown Towson, where county leaders have encouraged developers to build a live, work, and play style projects.

Towson has drawn more than $1 billion in real estate development in recent years, including Retail Properties of America’s $125 million Circle East project and the $350 million Towson Row development, a joint venture between Greenberg Gibbons and Caves Valley Partners.

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