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New York firm buys 100 S. Charles for $45 million, plans overhaul

With a $20 million overhaul, could 100 S. Charles Street become Pratt Plaza?

Carlyle Development Group, the New York firm that recently purchased 100 S. Charles Street for $45 million, has a new name for the complex: Pratt Plaza — never mind its official address.

The name is part of a plan for a major overhaul designed to rebrand the building as part of Pratt Street — a bustling submarket in Baltimore real estate, known for its north of 90 percent occupancy rates, said Thomas Fear, Carlyle's director of acquisitions.

The firm is working with Baltimore's BCT Architects and has budgeted more than $20 million for the renovation, which would include a new entrance from Pratt Street and update to the lobby, stripping away the old chocolate brick to introduce new lighting and glass walls, Fear said.

The firm also hopes to bump out the building's footprint, adding perhaps 25,000-square-feet of retail space similar to a recent addition down the street which now houses Shake Shack and CVS, he said.

"We feel that the property is in need of a significant repositioning," Fear said. "It's a strong value-add proposition."

Carlyle's goal is to improve the property and boost occupancy rates — which may slip below 70 percent as some tenants are slated to leave — then resell in four to five years once it's worth more, Fear said.

The CBRE brokerage firm started marketing the roughly 500,000-square-foot south tower, which comes with a 550-space parking garage, on behalf of Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers this summer, said CBRE senior vice president Jonathan Beard, who worked on the deal, which closed Nov. 13.

Connecticut-based Cornerstone got the property as part of a larger portfolio and the building has not received capital investments for several years, he said.

"We don't see why that building wouldn't do as well as other buildings on Pratt Street," Beard said. But "it's time for it to get a refresh."

Land records show the property, located at the corner of Lombard and Charles streets, last traded in 2011 for $34.6 million. It is assessed for tax purposes at about $34.5 million.

Another, smaller building on the property sold this summer for about $12 million.

nsherman@baltsun.com

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