Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank has stopped work on the nearly 35,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom mansion he was building on the ridge of a historic estate in a rural part of Baltimore County.
Plans for what might be the biggest house in the state had raised concerns among conservationists and residents who want to protect the Green Spring Valley area from development.
County building officials said Wednesday they expect to issue a partial occupancy permit in the near future for a portion of the Brooklandville estate that has been built so far, a guest house and gym.
But “the main portion of the house has not been constructed at this time, with no time frame to construct according to the contractor,” the county’s chief inspector, Matt Gawel, wrote in an email to Arnold Jablon, county director of permits, approvals and inspections.
Plank could not be reached through Under Armour, which referred calls to Tom Geddes, managing partner of Plank Industries, which oversees Plank’s non-Under Armour investments. Geddes did not respond to a request for comment.
The Baltimore Business Journal first reported Tuesday that Plank had halted construction.
After Under Armour faltered in the past two years, Plank has taken steps to demonstrate his focus on the Baltimore athletic apparel brand, including stepping back from his outside investments and distractions. He sold a stake in the massive Port Covington project, where The Baltimore Sun is a tenant, to Goldman Sachs. He also shifted the project’s leadership to Weller Development.
Earlier this year, Plank and his wife listed their home in Georgetown in Washington, D.C., for sale.
Plank’s building permit for the Greenspring Valley house is valid until January and can be extended for a year, county officials said. They said the site is stable, a grading permit is valid and all sediment and erosion controls are being maintained. Because construction is on hold, workers have refilled and covered land that was excavated for the project several years ago, a practice required under the county’s building code, a county official said.
Plank's new residence was designed with eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, four powder rooms, an indoor pool, an elevator and a four-car garage, according to a permit application filed with the county in November 2015. The project was expected to cost $6.6 million, the Sun reported in December 2015.
Since then, however, Under Armour ran into significant headwinds. The athletic apparel maker has been working for the two years to reverse losses, stagnant sales and a steep slide in its stock price sparked by intense competition, closures of key retailers and changing consumer tastes. In the most recent phase of a restructuring, the company announced plans last month to slash its global workforce by 400 workers by early next year as it tries to rejuvenate sales.
Kevin Plank and his wife bought the 65-acre Greenspring Valley Road property for $2.8 million using limited liability company Three Diamond Land in 2011. An 1898 mansion on the property, last occupied by the Bunting family, descendants of the founder of Noxzema Chemical Corp., had been razed to clear the way for construction. By the end of 2015, excavation was nearly complete, the Sun had reported.
One neighbor and longtime preservationist, Douglas Carroll, had told the Sun he was worried about the impact of such a large project in a rural setting.
“What are the limits of one person’s ability to impact a community that’s tried to orient itself around preservation and open land?” he had said.
Geddes had told the Sun the Planks planned to place an easement on the land to maintain open space and that the house would occupy only a small part of the property.