The Bozzuto Group has unveiled plans for a 275-unit apartment and retail project that company President Toby Bozzuto said will transform the entrance to Locust Point.
The nine-story, $80 million project will rise from the former General Electric Service Center site at 900 E. Fort Ave., across the street from Southside Marketplace, and will include a rooftop lounge, 15,000 square feet of first-floor retail space and a restaurant.
Amenities will include a third-floor yoga studio that opens onto a meditative courtyard lined with trees and stones and a fully landscaped fourth-floor pool that includes details such as boardwalks constructed using Black Locust lumber.
The building’s design is the most ambitious the company has yet pursued in Baltimore, Bozzuto President Toby Bozzuto said. The two most recent projects the company has delivered, the Fitzgerald in Mount Vernon and Union Wharf in Fells Point, were both met with acclaim for attention to design details and amenities.
“We want to build a legacy of beautiful projects and we’re constantly trying to up the ante,” Bozzuto said. “[Under Armour CEO] Kevin Plank said he wants to make Baltimore the coolest city in the world, and I agree. You can either laugh at a comment like that or you can actually try. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you build projects like this, you help reach that goal.”
In fact, much of the design at 900 E. Fort Ave. is a nod to Under Armour’s nearby campus in Locust Point. The central theme of the project is wellness, Bozzuto said, and amenities such as running paths and the yoga studio are aimed at attracting fitness enthusiasts who either work at Under Armour or are drawn to be near the company’s campus.
Rohit Anand of KTGY Group Inc. and the lead architect on the project, said a top goal from the start was to provide pedestrian and bicycle access to the nearby waterfront. Richard Jones of Mahan Rykiel Associates Inc. is the project’s landscape architect.
The views of the Inner Harbor, he said, will be key to drawing tenants who see the connection to the Inner Harbor as part of their everyday active life.
“For a project like this you have to pick the neighborhood, and in D.C., it would be like an H Street or a U Street neighborhood,” Anand said. “I think Locust Point is perfect for it because it’s a renter who wants to enjoy the city and what restaurants and retail and bike trails have to offer, and in this case, the water.”
That’s why the developer decided to include a rooftop lounge in the design, Bozzuto said. The project will have the first outdoor restaurant and bar offering 360-degree views of the city and Inner Harbor.
Part of the lounge will include a top-floor indoor space that will allow the lounge to remain open year-round.
On the first floor, a separate restaurant will be situated at the corner of Fort Avenue and Lawrence Street that will include outdoor seating. The restaurant was placed on that corner to help generate activity on a key corner that drivers see when they enter Locust Point, Anand said.
There will also be foot traffic generated around the 15,000 square feet of retail, but it’s not clear what type of uses Bozzuto plans to draw to the project.
Bozzuto’s partners in the project include Locust Point-based Solstice Partners LLC, who are aligned with former Under Armour executive Scott Plank’s city-based War Horse LLC real estate development firm. Solstice Partners has worked extensively with neighbors during the planning process, said Terri Harrington, a commercial real estate broker and a member of the Locust Point Civic Association.
Neighbors remain concerned about the traffic the complex will generate, and whether the 2 1/2 levels of indoor parking and surface parking will be enough. Bozzuto said the project provides more parking than zoning regulations require, but he acknowledged the concerns and said the company will work with neighbors throughout the course of the project.