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Port Covington team releases names of tenants committed to opening at Impact Village

The Port Covington development team released a list Thursday of future tenants that have committed to opening at or relocating to Impact Village, a renovated office building located at the sprawling, mixed-use waterfront campus currently underway.

Impact Village is envisioned as a business development effort by the developers. Its tenants won’t pay rent and are given free Wi-Fi, security, mail services and conference rooms, lowering overhead costs and other expenses for small businesses, according to a news release from the developers.

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Marc Weller, whose Weller Development Co. is leading the 235-acre redevelopment effort, said Impact Village separates Port Covington from any other similar neighborhood nationwide.

“The cost-free offices in Impact Village allow tenants to maximize efficiency and further their businesses,” Weller said in a statement. “We help them and in turn, they help the city — which is what Port Covington is all about.”

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Committed tenants include:

  • Choice Jobs, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County program that connects young people with resources and holistic support
  • MOM Cares, a foundation that supports people after childbirth and NICU experiences
  • Murphy Enterprises, a workforce development firm focused on Baltimore
  • Reveille Grounds, a coffee shop that gives back to veterans and “military-affiliated individuals”
  • Sandtown Millworks, a furniture maker that uses reclaimed wood and local materials
  • Stanley Snacks for School Kids, a nonprofit that supplies snacks to Baltimore public schools
  • The Arts Project Inc., a nonprofit that introduces young people to the arts
  • Wolf Professional Security, a private security and investigations firm
  • Sharp Dressed Man, a workforce development and styling service for men seeking jobs
  • Suited to Succeed-Dress for Success Greater Baltimore, a workforce development and styling service for women seeking jobs
  • Port Covington Workforce Opportunity Center, a job placement service for those interested in working on the development of Port Covington

The developers previously announced that Conscious Venture Lab, a business accelerator that works with entrepreneurs focused on social issues, would locate in Impact Village.

Impact Village is located in a building on West Dickman Street behind City Garage, a former municipal garage that the developers converted to office, meeting and light industrial space.

The development team, composed of Weller Development as well as lead investors Sagamore Ventures and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, did not include details about additional Port Covington campus tenants. The team previously envisioned creating a cybersecurity and technology hub that would resemble an East Coast version of Silicon Valley.

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But at least three previously committed tenants walked back their plans last year, citing the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on office culture and public health.

Port Covington officials said last month that discussions with other tech and cyber firms were ongoing, and that the “Cyber Town USA” idea still had traction.

The ambitious revitalization effort, with an eventual price tag estimated to be close to $5.5 billion, is backed by $660 million in tax increment financing, which means property taxes generated by the project will repay city bonds sold to pay for its infrastructure. It is Baltimore’s largest such deal in history.

Construction began in 2019 but was temporarily suspended in April 2020 shortly after the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Under Armour founder Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Ventures development firm originally purchased much of the land. Plank tapped Weller to lead the vision as the Baltimore apparel brand faced declining sales and internal turmoil.

Plank’s athletic apparel company, which had plans to build out an updated headquarters at the site to fit some 5,000 workers, has since scaled back the vision. Plans for glassy office buildings and a sports stadium were scrapped for a proposed five-story office building and using the former Sam’s Club and Walmart stores there as offices, to fit some 1,700 employees. A multiuse sports field will complement the office park.

The current phase of construction, an estimated $500 million, 1 million-square-foot effort, includes Rye Street Market, the so-called crown jewel of the project. It will feature a food market as well as restaurants, retail, office space and a rentable events venue overlooking the waterfront for weddings and other occasions.

Other buildings in the works include apartment blocks and parking garages. A pedestrian bridge connecting Port Covington and the Westport neighborhood also is in progress.

The neighborhood is home to Plank’s Sagamore Spirit whiskey distillery and tavern, which closed indefinitely during the pandemic, as well as Nick’s Fish House, City Garage and Baltimore Sun Media, which has a long-term lease with the developer for its newsroom, business offices and printing plant.

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