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Multifamily Executive: Baltimore Development a Labor of Love for Local Team

Nov 9, 2017

When War Horse Cities and The Bozzuto Group decided to transform a vacant industrial site in Baltimore’s Locust Point neighborhood, they had their work cut out for them with the necessary environmental remediation. But the two developers, who were joined by The Solstice Partners, recognized the advantages of the 2.5-acre–plus parcel’s panoramic views of the Inner Harbor and proximity to I-95. From the time ground was broken in February 2015 until work was completed in July 2017, the goal was to help trigger change in the community. “This is a place we all care about,” says Toby Bozzuto, president and CEO of Greenbelt, Md.–based Bozzuto Group. Attract a Mixed Crowd Because the condo market in Baltimore was still iffy when the developers purchased the site, they decided to develop a high-quality, mixed-use rental building instead of a for-sale property. The area, long ago a hub for cargo deliveries, was becoming a residential destination as locally based sporting goods manufacturer Under Armour pumped in money. The developers didn’t envision attracting just millennial residents; they also anticipated downsizing boomers and CEOs relocating their companies to take advantage of Baltimore’s changes. “We tend not to target a demographic but more a mind-set that wants an urban location and active lifestyle,” says Tess Guinn, Bozzuto’s development manager. The nine-story building was named Anthem House as a nod to Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner and Locust Point’s Fort McHenry, as well as representing a personal anthem or mission statement, says Plank. Ramp Up Fitness Inspired by Plank’s interest in fitness and wellness, the developers made them critical building components. Working with KTGY Architecture + Planning’s Tysons, Va., office, the team gave the best views to (1) an outdoor infinity-edge pool and pergola-plus-staircase that leads to a running path along the Harbor; and (2) a 4,000-square-foot fitness room that opens to the outside through glass garage doors so that yoga classes can be taken in fresh air. The property also includes upscale shower/changing rooms adjacent to the gym and a large courtyard for games, cooking, and dining. The prevalence of glass offers transparency through the building, says KTGY principal Rohit Anand. Go for the Wow Scale became one way to introduce a “wow” factor to Anthem House, from the 20-foot ceiling in the entrance with bookshelves rising to the top, to the enormous mural of native Billie Holiday by local artist Jeff Huntington in another shared area, to big barn doors that open yet another lounge to an adjacent restaurant/bar. Other impressive features include an open staircase that connects the amenity levels, and oversized furniture and light fixtures. To personalize the spaces, designer Rebecca Jones of RD Jones in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., chose updated variations of industrial brick, steel, wood, and exposed concrete. “This is a sophisticated design that has legs and will still feel good in 10 years,” she says. Scale Back Size The size of the units might have been minimized because of the oversized shared spaces, but not the choice of materials, finishes, and features. The plans range from 540 square feet for a studio, priced at $1,900 a month, to 2,107 square feet for the largest two-bedroom with den, which lease for $8,000 monthly and include perks of wall ovens, undercabinet lighting, and wine refrigerators. The building is awaiting LEED Silver certification, helped by its reclaimed materials, masonry and fiber-cement exterior, native plantings, bicycle storage, and a stormwater system designed to capture 90% of the site’s rainfall.