A collection of buildings in Upper Fells Point formerly occupied by Martin Seafood Co. are to be converted to apartments, the new owners said Thursday.

Two Baltimore-based firms, Poverni Ventures LLC and Sheikh Development LLC, plan to turn the 18,000-square-foot property, formerly used for offices and seafood processing, into 20 apartments, with on site parking and storage for tenants.  

The companies closed on the 1618 Bank Street deal May 19, purchasing the site for $400,000, said spokeswoman Roxana Bardan. The project is expected to cost $2.5 million, including acquisition.

The buildings, located at the corner of Broadway and Bank Street and and once marketed for more than $500,000, have been empty for at least five years, since the previous owners, Martin Seafood Co., relocated. 

“We are very excited to have closed on 1618 Bank, and we are well on our way to bring this great historic asset back into the community as a new residential apartment building,” Greg Kostrikin, Poverni's vice president, said in a statement.

In a news release the new owners, touted the location, close to the redevelopment occurring in Harbor East and farther south on Broadway. The properties sit north of the new Marketplace at Fells Point apartments and retail and across from Fells Point Station, a 47-unit residential project with mixed income workforce housing and retail space that celebrated its ribbon-cutting in April.

The developers, which are also working on the Heath Lofts historic conversion project in South Baltimore, said they intend to start construction in January 2015, opening to tenants in 2016.

Ibrahim Sheikh, principal of Sheikh Development, a real estate development and general contracting company, said the redevelopment will preserve the "historic integrity" of the buildings.