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Local development group acquires Baltimore’s F&D Building

An artist’s rendering of a completed 210 N. Charles St., to be renovated into a multifamily use containing approximately 220 apartment units. (Submitted photo)

210 N. Charles Owner LLC, a joint venture partnership formed by residential developer Trademark Properties and local investor Prab Thangarajah, announced Tuesday it acquired the Fidelity & Deposit Building, a 232,000-square-foot commercial office tower in the Charles Center section of downtown Baltimore.

The building at 210 North Charles St., was bought for an undisclosed amount from PGA 210 North Charles Street LLC.

Originally delivered in 1894 as an eight-story structure, the new ownership group intends to convert the building into a multifamily use containing approximately 220 apartment units. Brad Byrnes of Byrnes & Associates Inc., a Baltimore-based boutique commercial real estate and investment company, represented the buyer in this sales transaction.

The local ownership group intends to initiate the conversion process next month with plans to deliver a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom designs ranging from 500 to 2,000 square feet of livable space by spring 2024. The adaptation will also feature the creation of a street-level restaurant component, featuring a corner vault room, complete with an outdoor seating area that overlooks Center Plaza.

In addition, two or three retail spaces will be carved out of the street-level and leased to end-users. The partnership has also signed an agreement to provide resident parking for approximately 180 residents within the underground facility at 222 North Charles St.

According to data compiled by Delta Associates, the vacancy rate for luxury multifamily units in the greater Baltimore area, comprising approximately 12,000 luxury units, stood at 2.4% earlier this year. The average monthly rental rate is approaching $2000 which represents a nearly 14% rise from the start of 2020 and nearly 70,000 jobs were added to the Baltimore metropolitan market last year.

Population growth has been especially profound in Census Tract 401, Baltimore as defined by the area that encapsulates Charles Center and is bounded by S. Paca Street to the west and W. Franklin Street to the north. The number of housing units has increased by nearly 97% over the past 10 years, with population rising nearly 70%.

The multifamily sector was among the most prolific performers during the pandemic over the past two years as residents retreated to their homes and apartments to establish home offices during the mandated lockdown period and beyond. Many of these employees are expected to shift to hybrid work situations as employees continue to relax workplace guidelines and provide increased flexibility to its employee base.

Baltimore maintains numerous downtown employers in the financial services, health care, business and life sciences industries and, despite the new mixed-use developments rising along the eastern and southern edges of the city, there remains an extremely healthy demand for high-quality residential housing across the region. Local and out-of-town investment groups are recognizing and responding to this trend as evidenced by recent multifamily community sales in Baltimore’s central business district, with an emphasis in Mt. Vernon, Federal Hill and the central business district.

Additional indications of economic development vibrancy within one block of 210 N. Charles St. include last year’s sale of 10 N. Charles St., another long-term vacant building, to Alertus Technologies who is bringing 120 employees and repositioning the building as a technology lab and commercial office building. BGE is also increasing the size of its Baltimore footprint with its purchase of the nearly vacant 170,000-square-foot building at 120 W. Fayette St. located next to its headquarters.