Downtown Towson office building to get makeover

Towson Times

The former Venable building in downtown Towson will undergo $1 million in renovations by the fall.

Chesapeake Real Estate Group, LLC, together with partner Cicero Capital Partners, is renovating the five-story, 28,000-square-foot commercial office building after purchasing it last fall for slightly more than $1 million.

The building, at 210 Allegheny Avenue, has been vacant since the Venable LLP law firm left the Towson office space in 2008, said Christopher Murray, vice president of Chesapeake Real Estate Group, a Hanover, Md. based company that specializes in industrial and office projects in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas.

"We're optimistic, with all the development that's going on in Towson, that we should be able to lease this up pretty quickly," Murray said.

He cited the construction of Towson Row, a mixed-use development proposed for the corner of York Road and Towsontown Boulevard, and other residential and commercial projects as a reason for choosing the area.

Murray said the renovation will attract new tenants and modernize the building at the corner of Allegheny and Bosley Avenues.

"People want to be and work in areas where they can get out and walk to restaurants and have that urban experience," Murray said. "Towson is unique in that it's one of the few areas outside of downtown Baltimore where you can have that without the traffic."

Exterior renovations have begun with new windows set to be installed on the Bosley Avenue side of the building in the next few weeks. The brick façade will get a new, flat surface and paint with recessed ledges added for dimension, Murray said.

The interior will be completely remodeled, with new flooring, carpeting, light fixtures, bathrooms and elevator design. The building will also get a new HVAC system, Murray said.

Though the partners have no confirmed tenants at the moment, Murray said they expect a mix of single-floor and multi-floor tenants with as many as 12 tenants in the building when fully leased.

The renovation, which is one of several ongoing in the Towson area, is a sign that developers believe that business and residential properties in the area are wise investments, said Towson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Hafford.

"They realize that Towson has welcomed good developers, and it's prudent to update their buildings, too," Hafford said.

The project will repurpose a large, important commercial building in the heart of downtown Towson, said Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents Towson. The renovation is one of many "signs of rebirth and redevelopment" in Towson, Marks added.

In a statement, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said he is pleased with the ongoing, job-creating private investment in Towson, including the renovation of the former Venable building.

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