Mark Sapperstein (center) of 28 Walker Development and the lead developer for numerous Baltimore City real estate projects including Canton Crossing and McHenry Row, addressed a sold-out audience of NAIOP Maryland Developing Leaders at Farmstead Grill in Canton Crossing. Pictured with Sapperstein are the Co-Chairmen of the NAIOP Maryland Developing Leaders committee including Alex Kopicki (left) of Solstice Partners and Kinglet, and Christopher Murray of Mid-Atlantic Properties.

Sapperstein traced the timeline of his career in the commercial real estate industry, which began with the rehabilitation and sale of houses in Baltimore City, and the construction of cell tower sites along the Eastern Shore. “When I first started, I was basically learning the business from scratch and improved by correcting my mistakes. The most important thing is to become a good listener. Find out what the customer wants and deliver these products in a big way,” he explained.

Sapperstein explained the challenges his team faced in the development of Canton Crossing, including attracting first-time retailers to Baltimore City. “Harris Teeter had confidence in our concept based on the tremendous success of their first location in the City at McHenry Row. For the others, including Target, we had to explain the strong demographics that existed in the Canton area and demonstrate that the region was under-retailed. This amounted to thirty separate presentations to the eventual retail mix. Canton Crossing’s large and free customer parking lot was a significant sales point, as was its position so close to Interstate 95. The recent announcement by Corporate Office Properties Trust to bring new commercial office space means nothing but great news for our tenants, as it will increase day-time traffic,” he explained. Sapperstein added that the development team is adding approximately 90,000 square feet of additional space to Canton Crossing. He also outlined his plans for the Phillips Food warehouse in Locust Point, which will complement the concept at McHenry Row. “You can never under-estimate the importance of watching, learning and listening to others as the path to overcoming hurdles,” he added.

The NAIOP Maryland Developing Leaders targets commercial real estate professionals 35 years of age and under with various educational and networking events, including presentations from recognized veterans of the local commercial real estate industry.