After sitting empty for months, prime space on the ground floor of the landmark One Charles Center building in downtown Baltimore has signed its first tenant.
Office Depot, the world's second-largest office supply chain, will move into the 22-story office tower at 100 N. Charles St. in May or June. Orioles majority owner and attorney Peter G. Angelos bought the building, designed by the famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in 1996.
The Florida-based retailer will occupy more than 16,000 square feet of the 26,000 square feet of retail space in the building.
City development officials greeted the news as a positive sign for the retail economy downtown. Office Depot also opened a store in Little Italy at Pratt and President streets late last year.
"The space has been vacant for quite awhile, so it will be good to have something in there to help boost retail downtown," said Nan Rohrer, director for retail development at the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, a local business group.
Rohrer and others said they hope new businesses will entice other retailers to look downtown. Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries, a regional restaurant, will soon move to the 500 block of Charles St., she said.
"It helps the whole area," said Tom Marudas, vice president of Artemis Properties Inc., the development company owned by Angelos. "It's going to be an anchor for the area."
The Charles Street location is part of an expansion plan by Office Depot to open 40 new stores in the Northeast.
Marudas said the new location is ideal because it is in a heavy business area. "You can get a lot of foot traffic," Marudas said. "There's office buildings all around. It's a logical location."