Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's personal trainer plans to open an Under Armour-branded gym at historic 10 Light Street by the end of the year, filling most of the first three floors of one of downtown Baltimore's most prominent addresses.
The green-and-gold capped Art Deco building has been undergoing an $80 million renovation since 2013, as owner Metropolitan Partnership converts the former office building into more than 400 apartments.
The Virginia-based firm expects to pull permits within a week to start construction of the roughly 42,000-square-foot Under Armour Performance Center. In addition to the training basics, the gym is to include an Under Armour store, a cafe, salon, spa and sauna, as well as a turf field installed in the soaring lobby of the former bank building.
Metropolitan Partnership President Cary Euwer said he approached FX Studios and Under Armour about filling the retail spot. The developer seeks out big names, such as Tiffany's, for its buildings, and discussions are underway with another national retailer for a small space there, he said.
"We gravitate towards trophy properties and very recognizable, unique brands," Euwer said.
10 Light Street would be the third location for trainer Nate Costa's FX Studios, which started in Hunt Valley and includes the gym on Under Armour's campus, where visiting athletes train.
Costa, 37, a University of Maryland graduate, said he met Plank about 10 years ago when he went to the Hunt Valley location for a haircut and remains his personal trainer. FX Studios has a licensing agreement to use the Under Armour name, he said.
Costa, who quit his job in 2003 to work as a trainer and acquired full ownership of FX Studios in 2005, said he is not scouting for additional real estate, but "it wouldn't surprise" him if the company grows.
The architectural originality of the 10 Light Street building sealed this deal, he said.
"The big thing was when you walk into the 10 Light Street building, the bank hall, to see what it can be," Costa said.
Completed in 1929 as a testament to the power of the Baltimore Trust Co., within a year the building lay largely empty when the business faltered after the stock market crash that precipitated the Great Depression. It later was used as offices, becoming most recently the Bank of America building.
Metropolitan bought the property for $6 million in 2012. In April, the firm also won preliminary design approval for a new tower across the street at 1 Light Street with ground floor retail, a 646-space parking garage, 282,000 square feet of offices and 240 apartments.
Euwer, who is counting on the garage to supply parking for the 10 Light Street apartments, said he hopes to begin "immediately."
Leasing for the apartments, with monthly rents starting at about $1,450, began a few weeks ago. Move-ins are possible next month.
Costa said residents of the new apartments will get discounted memberships, but the gym is open to all.
Howard Libit, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office, said, "This project is a major step forward in delivering on the vision of the Mayor's downtown task force to create a new vitality in the core downtown. The Mayor is pleased that the incentive of her apartment conversion tax credit is able to play a role in helping to make this project possible."
Downtown Partnership President Kirby Fowler said Under Armour's willingness to open on Light Street is confirmation of the way the area is evolving from offices into a mixed-use district.
A supermarket is expected to open in coming months in the former Fresh & Greens location. Smaller stores — like a second Light Street outpost of The Bun Shop from Mount Vernon — are making the move too.
"Just a few years ago, 10 Light stood as a building with a very uncertain future and to think that Under Armour is announcing a new fitness center in this historic bank lobby is tremendous step forward," Fowler said. "We're just so excited to see it's happening."