I wasn’t one of those kids that loved legos or other types of building blocks when I was growing up. In fact, I was more interested in puzzles and how things go together, or how they create a whole. Problem-solving and creating were more my bent. So it is no surprise to me that my favorite part of the real estate business is development. I love the idea of finding a piece of land, figuring out how all the pieces will go together, why it will work and how to create a space that thrives with and for people.
My tour of the Port Covington Development yesterday, hosted by Weller Development, was an extraordinary opportunity to see first-hand the development process and vision that go hand-in-hand with creating community. Formerly a desolate, overgrown industrial area in a prime location on waterfront property, Weller Development has taken the land and created a master plan that includes office, entertainment, restaurants, innovation and incubation. It’s a magnificent strategy to revive the area and create a new and unique community.
I was honored to take this tour with CREWBaltimore members Karen Pecoraro, ATC Group Services, Lisa Goodwin, MRP Industrial, Katherine Pinkard, Pinkard Properties as well as Karen Deeley, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services. Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for the State of Maryland Kelly Schulz joined us along with Michael Harrison, Policy Director for the department.
I truly appreciate how Weller Development is approaching this initiative in that they are retaining the best historic aspects of existing structures and land, while building a unique modern community. They are committed to leveraging the waterfront as a place to enjoy and relax integrated into the overall plan with 40 acres of green spaces! And it’s not just about buildings and the green space, it’s about experience. It’s about hospitality. It’s about placemaking. They will activate the space with entertainment and events. This new development seeks to be a singular waterfront experience for those looking to find a new way to appreciate Baltimore; a different vantage point for enjoying a meal and a exceptional place to live/work/play.
CREW Network CEO Wendy Mann with fellow tour participants at the Under Armour Project Lighthouse.
Our tour included stops at the incubator space called City Garage, which was formerly the repair shop for city vehicles. The space boasts companies in robotics, skateboards, augmented/virtual reality and Hungry Harvest. There is co-working space available, too. We stopped by for a visit to Under Armour Project Lighthouse, an innovation center where they are developing cutting edge technologies for manufacturing. We also stopped by the Foundry, a massive workshop area where craftsmen/women can reserve time to use equipment for welding, woodworking and other crafts. The aspect that I liked most about this space is that they are using it for workforce training to help get more individuals trained in the trades to support construction. Matt Rienzo, vice president of operations, our tour guide, estimated that Weller Development will need 50,000 construction workers over the life of the project.
The final stop was the Sagamore Spirit Distillery. Sagamore Rye is distilled right on property and the tour was very educational. As a non-whiskey drinker, I learned a great deal including the fact that I still do not enjoy drinking whiskey. But it was a great experience—I recommend!
Thanks to our partners at Weller Development and CREWBaltimore. This was a great way to experience development on the front end. I look forward to watching Port Covington grow and transform.
Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.
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