Marc D. Weller first made his name in Baltimore as the mystery buyer of dozens of acres in Port Covington.
But he literally was a front man for Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and any remaining mystery disappeared last week when plans for a massive mixed-use development there were shared publicly for the first time.
Weller, 44, is president of Sagamore Development Co., the real estate firm owned by Plank, who has charged the firm with turning the city into a hot spot for talent through the redevelopment of land he has acquired in South Baltimore.
He oversees a team of 22 people, who made their first public presentation to the city this week, kicking off a process expected to lead to billions of dollars of new development in the next 20 years. Anchored by a new headquarters campus for Under Armour, the Port Covington project would transform the peninsula with up to 13 million square feet of offices, retail and residences with new transit options and entertainment and, of course, athletic amenities.
Weller cut his teeth in Washington area real estate, starting with small landscaping and construction jobs, before striking out on his own in 1999. Projects include Fort Totten Square, a mixed-use development with apartments and a Wal-Mart near a Metro stop in northeast Washington that has helped spur new investment in the area.
"People said we couldn't do it … because the market wasn't there," Weller said. "Myself and my partners always thought anything near Metro would be valuable."
When Plank called in 2012, it was "kind of out of the blue," Weller said.
Weller had known the founder of the athletic brand since they were teenagers, introduced by their mutual friend Bill McDermond, an early Under Armour executive. But they kept in touch sporadically, talking or seeing each other at social events every few months.
Now Plank wanted to discuss his plans to invest in Baltimore.
"I was completely sold," Weller said. "I wanted to sign up immediately."
Weller, who grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., before the family relocated to Maryland for his father's job at Marriott, said he sees similarities between his hometown and Baltimore, both of which are dealing with the aftershocks of the decline of manufacturing and industry.
"This was a chance to do something, not where I grew up, but instead a town very similar," he said. "The difference is that Baltimore has an incredible opportunity, sitting between all these cities, right on the east coast."
Marc D. Weller
Title: President and partner of Sagamore Development Co.
Previous position: Founder of Denning LLC
Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y., moved to Maryland at 16
Residence: Chevy Chase
Education: Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I., 1995, business
Family: Wife Eileen and five children, four boys ages 7-11 and a 4-year-old daughter
Hobbies: Spending time with family, coaching boys' hockey teams, travel, hockey with friends.
"I spend the rest of my time thinking about Port Covington."