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Middle River’s Martin’s East to close after 40 years, citing coronavirus pandemic

Martin’s East has hosted its last party.

The three-ballroom event space in Middle River shut down permanently after last weekend, said Wayne Resnick, executive vice president of Martin’s Caterers.

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“It’s not a rumor, it’s true,” Resnick said Friday.

The Pulaski Highway facility has hosted high school proms, weddings, political luncheons and St. Baldrick’s head shaving events in the 40 years since it opened. But the pandemic delivered a fatal blow, said Resnick.

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“It’s been a very good place for us, it’s just with COVID and the economy, there’s too many rooms in the area. Some of our competition has closed up for good,” he said. Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie shut down in December.

“We’re sad,” Resnick said. “Fortunately we’re not going out of business.”

The company has five other locations in Maryland, including two in Baltimore County and one in Westminster. Most of the employees from Martin’s East have been relocated to Martin’s Valley Mansion in Cockeysville. Since the pandemic, the company’s staff has shrunk from 600 employees to 150.

Resnick said that nearly one year after the state’s first mandated lockdown, “people are still afraid” to host large-scale gatherings. “It used to be on a Saturday, we’d do 40 parties. We’re lucky today if we do four or five.” Event planners have scaled down head counts.

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Resnick said the Middle River building, which was constructed in the 1960s, has a new buyer, whom he declined to identify.

“It won’t be a caterer or food service establishment,” he said. “I wouldn’t be closing it down to create more competition for ourselves.”

The property was listed for sale on the $4.95 million by Transwestern Real Estate Services, The Baltimore Business Journal reported in August. The property includes more than 27,400 square feet with 5 acres of land.

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