With the decline of manufacturing jobs, office workers from Tide Point and Under Armour have helped business, Macatee said. By 5 p.m. on a recent weeknight, several employees of a nearby architectural firm were settling in at the bar for happy-hour drink specials, while others headed to the cafe's nautical-theme dining area, where crab cakes and shrimp dishes are served.
Some of the area's newer residents have moved into condominiums at Silo Point, a redeveloped grain elevator at one end of Beason Street. Nearly two-thirds of the condos have been sold, including a few to Under Armour employees who wanted to live within walking distance of work, said the project's developer,Patrick Turner.
Those Under Armour workers are among about 80 who now live in the neighborhood and more than 100 others who live in the South Baltimore area, the company says.
Turner has leased all of Silo Point's retail space, and he expects the final tenant, a gourmet deli, to open soon.
Another new project, McHenry Row at the former Chesapeake Paperboard site on Fort Avenue, is nearly complete, with fully occupied office and retail space. Tenants include banks, restaurants and — coming in December — a Harris Teeter grocery store. Residents have begun moving into a 250-unit apartment building.
Turner said such developments and the proposed Under Armour expansion are good for the area.
Development "strengthens the neighborhood and makes it desirable for people to want to live down here," he said. "The more amenities you bring, the more people will want to live in a neighborhood."
Under Armour — which bought the Tide Point complex this summer after renting space there for years — has long anticipated the growth of its headquarters.
In 2008, the company projected that it would outgrow its headquarters in about five years. At the time, the company was considering a move to West Covington, an industrial swath of the Middle Branch that city officials had hoped to transform into a mixed-use development. But business and property owners in that area successfully fought the effort.
The latest plan has been welcomed by city and elected officials.
"Except for Domino Sugar and a few others, we don't have that much manufacturing," said City Councilman Edward L. Reisinger, whose district includes Locust Point. "For Under Armour, it's a campus and that's what they've been wanting for years. Now they're going to create jobs, they're growing, and that's good for the city. That's healthy."
Still, he acknowledges that Locust Point residents have legitimate concerns about what expansion could mean for the neighborhood.
Plank said Under Armour wants to stay put and grow, and he envisions greater recreational use of the Locust Point waterfront. Under Armour, he said, has begun talking to a neighboring company that leases storage tanks about the possibility of using that land, combined with property donated by Under Armour, to create athletic fields.
"We're extraordinarily proud to say we're adding new jobs," Plank said. "We're extraordinarily proud to say we're building new buildings. The easiest thing is to continue to expand where we are."