December 14, 2017
Ari Abramson Speaks to The Future of Downtown Baltimore at Bisnow Event
Speaking before an audience attending Bisnow’s “The Future of Downtown Baltimore” seminar at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, Ari Abramson, Vice President, Acquisitions for CRC explained that the continued existence of barriers will preserve the vibrancy of the multifamily sector, both locally and nationally. These barriers include: high levels of student debt, the decline in housing affordability, and limited availability of mortgage credit.
Regarding trends impacting the Baltimore City multifamily industry, Abramson added that “lifestyle choices increasingly favor renting for many young professionals and empty nester households staying or returning to Baltimore City. Many younger adults in Baltimore prefer the flexibility which renting offers for geographic mobility, which present options for new job opportunities and to be close to work and nightlife attractions.”
Abramson also discussed CRC’s acquisition of the mixed-use Brown’s Wharf in Fells Point earlier this year. “This area that encompasses Harbor Point and Harbor East is the recipient of a dramatic shift of energy,” he said. “Retailers and the business community are responding to the new activity along the eastern section of Baltimore City and we are seeing a continued migration of residents and employers,” Abramson added. CRC is currently making a significant investment into the physical plant upgrade of Brown’s Wharf to add greater street presence and improve the interior environment. A small marina will also be integrated into the project.
“As new Class “A” apartments come on-line and new upscale developments continue in the urban core, we expect to see value-add multifamily opportunities emerge in slightly older vintage assets where rent and amenity gap exists,” Abramson added.
Other comments from the Bisnow presentation included:
“Outside investors are detecting a big upside by investing in Baltimore City,” explained Donald Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “The renaissance occurring in downtown is driving job growth among both millennials and empty-nesters.”
“We are seeing activity in the 3,000 to 5,000 square foot range,” answered Terri Harrington, Senior Vice President of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, when asked about the size of companies looking for commercial office space downtown currently. In the Central Business District, the composition of these companies are defense contractors, non-profits, agencies and general businesses. While we are experiencing migration from the neighboring counties, out-of-state movement is not occurring. Obviously, this is something we need to work on.”
Mike Heslin, Market Manager for Lyft, revealed the downtown restaurant that experienced the highest volume of drop-offs according to a company survey. The winner was R. House in the Remington section of the city.
Continental Realty Corporation (CRC), headquartered in Baltimore and founded in 1960, is a full-service commercial real estate investment and management company. The privately-owned firm owns and manages a diversified portfolio of retail centers consisting of over 3.5 million square feet of space, as well as apartment communities featuring nearly 10,000 apartment homes. Positioned throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, the value of the portfolio exceeds $1.5 billion.
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