$800M Baltimore Development Reaches Milestone

The first phase of La Cité Development’s massive Center\West mixed-use project is nearing completion.
Phase one of Center\West Apartments. Image courtesy of La Cité Development

Leasing has begun at Avra and Cirro, the first two apartment buildings at the $800 million Center\West mixed-use development in Baltimore that have a total of 262 units and are part of the first phase of the project from La Cité Development of New York City.

Avra, the larger of the buildings with 176 units, is open and tenants are moving in. Cirro, which will have 86 units, is slated to open in March 2020. Phase one also includes 17,500 square feet of ground floor retail space, parking and a park.

The large-scale redevelopment is being constructed on nearly 33 acres in the Poppleton neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore, adjacent to the Edgar Alan Poe Museum and near the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and its BioPark. The project is expected to bring about 2.3 million square feet of new construction and 30 buildings including 1,800 units of rental and owned housing. Twenty percent of the units are to be reserved for affordable housing.


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The massive development is expected to be built over four phases and will include hotels, retail, parking, office space and parks. Infrastructure improvements, including new roads and utility upgrades, are also part of the master plan. Phase two, which will include 400 more apartments, a grocery store and hotel, are currently in the design phase, according to the Southbmore.com website. Construction could begin next year on a 14-story hotel and a 20-story, 400-unit apartment building with a grocery store on the ground floor, the website reported.

Goldman Sachs, Oppenheimer Funds, BlackRock, Reno and Cavanaugh PLLC, Pavia & Harcourt LLP, McGuire Woods LLP, BRP Development Corp., JDavis Architects, Stifel, STV Inc., the City of Baltimore, Baltimore Housing Authority, Kinsley Construction, Gensler and KeyBank are listed as partners for the project on La Cité Development’s website. KeyBank’s Community Development Lending & Investment (CDLI) team and Commercial Mortgage Group helped finance the construction of phase one in 2017 by providing $56.2 million in FHA-insured 221(d)4 financing.

Move-In Ready

Avra and Cirro, both five-story buildings, were expected to be completed soon after November 2018 when a ribbon-cutting was held but contractor issues stalled the openings, according to the Baltimore Sun. Leasing is now underway for the studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $1,400 to $3,365.

Building and community amenities are being touted on the development website. Unit amenities include chef-style kitchens with granite countertops and islands, GE Energy Star stainless steel appliances, full-size washers and dryers, LATCH smart access system on every front door, oversized windows with city views and upgraded bathroom fixtures and finishes. 

Community amenities include a resort-style swimming pool and sun deck, fitness center, clubroom with catering kitchen and private meeting rooms, courtyards with outdoor grills, a penthouse residents’ lounge with a viewing deck, pet wash area, a dog park and Poe Park featuring outdoor green space.