Developers marked the start of construction of the long-planned Northwood Commons in Northeast Baltimore with an event Thursday.
Morgan State will lease 11,000 square feet for the Barnes & Noble store that will serve students, faculty and visitors and include a Starbucks Coffee shop. The existing McDonald’s restaurant will move to a site along Loch Raven Boulevard. Other tenants will be Wing Stop and Sunny’s Subs.
A grocery store is expected in the second phase of development.
The redeveloped center, surrounded by the Hillen, Original Northwood and New Northwood neighborhoods, will include more than 100,000 square feet of shops and restaurants plus offices for Morgan State’s public safety department. It will be built in two phases, with the first portion expected to open toward the end of 2020.
The center at 1500 Havenwood Road has long been an eyesore and a hub for crime.
“For far too many years, this Baltimore city neighborhood lagged behind other sections, which received wholesale makeovers and the investment of significant resources,” said P. David Bramble, managing partner of MCB Real Estate, part of a joint venture partnership heading the project with MLR Partners and the center’s owner, Northwood Shopping Center Partnership. “The future is now for this area of Northeast Baltimore.”
The center is designed as an amenity for both the university and the neighborhood and to capitalize on new development at Morgan State, said Mark Renbaum, managing partner of MLR Partners.
It is adjacent to Morgan’s Northwood Campus, which includes the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management and The Martin D. Jenkins Behavioral and Social Sciences Center. Nearly 63,000 people live within a 1.5-mile radius of the center, including nearly 24,000 households with an average household income of more than $63,000.