Historic Baltimore Office Tower to be Converted to Apartments

New ownership plans to invest $34 million to transform the onetime home of The Fidelity & Deposit Co.

210 N. Charles St. Image courtesy of Byrnes & Associates Inc.

A historic 15-story, 232,000-square-foot former office building in downtown Baltimore, located at 210 N. Charles St., will be converted to 220 units of multifamily housing under new ownership.

The new owners, 210 N. Charles Owner LLC, a joint venture partnership formed by residential developer Trademark Properties and local investor Prab Thangarajah, acquired the former Fidelity & Deposit Building from PGA 210 North Charles Street LLC, an entity headed by Baltimore Orioles owner, attorney Peter Angelos. The Angelos group had owned the building at the corner of Charles and Lexington streets since 1999, when it was purchased for $3 million. The Baltimore Business Journal reported the building, which has not been used in about 20 years, was sold for $6 million.

Brad Byrnes of Byrnes & Associates Inc., a commercial real estate and investment company, represented the buyer in the transaction.

Project Details

The new owners are expected to spend about $34 million to convert the space to a mix of apartments and retail, according to the journal. The conversion is expected to begin next month and be completed by spring 2024. The owners plan to create a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom layouts ranging from 500 to 2,000 square feet. The transformation will also include new street-level restaurant space with a corner vault room and outdoor seating area that will overlook Center Plaza. Two or three retail spaces will also be carved out of the street-level space. Parking for approximately 180 residents will also available within the underground facility at 222 North Charles St.

Located in the Charles Center section of downtown Baltimore, the building was designed in a Romanesque Revival style with a façade of grey, rough-cut granite and eventually served as the headquarters for The Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Baltimore. The building was enlarged by seven stories between 1912 and 1915. A three-story annex was added to the building in 1968 on the north and west sides. The first-floor lobby is finished with polished granite flooring, marble veneer wall panels and a decorative vaulted ceiling.

The building survived the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, which decimated most of the city’s downtown. After the building changed hands in 1999, much of the building was gutted, which should make it easier for conversion plans by the new ownership to being shortly.

Growing Demand

Byrnes said in a prepared statement numerous economic fundamentals are driving the interest among multifamily and commercial office buyers in downtown Baltimore, including a significantly lower cost of living compared to many East Coast cities, less congestion, access to Washington, D.C., and multiple beach resort cities. He said conditions are improving in the city and more entities are making significant investments there including the upcoming opening of the new $44 million Lexington Market renovation and $155 million in improvements set for the Royal Farms Arena.

Population has been growing in the Charles Center area with the number of housing units increasing by nearly 97 percent over 10 years in the area bounded by South Paca Street to west and West Franklin Street to the north. Nearly 70,000 jobs have been added to the Baltimore metropolitan market in the past year mainly in the industrial, shipping and logistics sectors. Yardi Matrix reports jobs have also been added in professional and business sector, including in the rapidly growing trade, transportation and life sciences industries.

The vacancy rate for luxury multifamily units in the greater Baltimore city area was 2.4 percent earlier this year, according Delta Associates. The average monthly rent is up nearly 14 percent from early 2020, Delta Associates reported. Development has slowed, with 4,300 units under construction as of October, Yardi Matrix noted in its fall Baltimore Multifamily Report.

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