All asset classes outperforming the competition
The flight to quality office space, strong retail sector, tight industrial market and new multifamily developments are creating positive momentum for all asset classes in the greater Hunt Valley and north I-83 submarket.
Office tenants seek amenity-rich buildings
With employees finding it so easy to work remotely, companies need to work extra hard to position their office space as an attractive destination, a place that they look forward to commuting to and an environment that supports collaboration and mentoring, according to Lizzy Sweeney, Senior Director, Cushman & Wakefield. When it comes time to initiate the search for new office space, amenity-rich buildings are best suited to capture the attention of employees and increase productivity, she adds.
Sweeney explained that the Executive Plaza complex in Hunt Valley is a shining example of this. The underground city beneath the Executive Plaza complex is generally regarded as the first of its kind in the Baltimore metropolitan region and the concept has not been successfully replicated by others because it is constantly evolving. Amenities include several food options, a full-service fitness center, a childcare center, a convenience store, a dry cleaner, laundry service, an underground parking garage with a car detail shop, and a post office.
“While the average vacancy rate in Baltimore County is not pretty at nearly 20 percent, that is a bit deceiving because activity has spiked in recent weeks and we feel extremely optimistic about the short- and long-term. Timonium and Hunt Valley are getting the most amount of attention,” she said.
The vacancy rate in the I-83 Corridor currently stands at 13.6 percent, which is a drop from the reported second-quarter vacancy rate of 14.1 percent. In Hunt Valley, the rate rose slightly to 15.2 percent from the previous quarter’s 14 percent.
4 North Park, a 130,000-square-foot office building in Hunt Valley, recently attracted RCM&D and its 24,904-square-foot lease from Towson, as well as Jacob William Advisory from Lutherville.
“The leasing activity is an example of two professional services groups taking a space-efficiency approach to their commercial real estate needs,” explained Joe Bradley of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services. “As leases expire in the post-pandemic era, companies are placing greater importance on finding buildings that accommodate their hybrid employee workforce, match their corporate image, and provide an advantage to recruit and retain talent.”
Office to warehouse/industrial conversions
Owners of 222-224 Schilling Circle and 14600 York Road as well as several other commercial office buildings in the Hunt Valley/I-83 market are considering converting to a warehouse/industrial format in response to the current 7.6-percent vacancy rate and the lack of new development, according to Patrick Smith, Vice President, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services
The 110,000 square feet of flex/R&D space being developed by St. John Properties on a 17-acre parcel fronting York Road, known as Hunt Valley Exchange, will help alleviate the problem.
The high demand for indoor pickleball facilities has produced several leases, led by the 12,000-square-foot lease signed by the Baltimore Pickleball Club at Timonium Exchange.
Prominent recent leasing activity includes the 26,000-square-foot lease by Delta Utility Services at 10840 Oak Lane, Leister Ventures’ 23,000-square-foot lease at 11100 Gilroy Road, BW Papersystems’ 22,000-square-foot lease at 10947 Golden West Road and Remco’s 17,000-square-foot lease at 10942 Beaver Dam Road.
Recent sales were led by the $17.3-million sale of 11126 McCormick Road, the $2.7-million sale of 109 Cockeysville Road, and the nearly $2.5-million sale of 335 Clubhouse.
More residential coming to Hunt Valley Towne Centre
More than 6.8 million consumers visited Hunt Valley Towne Centre over the past 12 months, which ranks it as the third most-visited lifestyle center in Maryland, says Eric Walter, President, Greenberg Gibbons. Now 20 years after transforming it from Hunt Valley Mall – where it was prominently listed on the Dead Malls website – the mixed-used lifestyle center is entering its 3.0 phase
Adding the first Wegmans Food Markets in greater Baltimore, as well as nearly 60 complementary retailers, was version 1.0. The next phase incorporated multifamily products around the perimeter and converted some retail space into offices.
Version 3.0 will “further densify Hunt Valley Towne Centre with the addition of new multifamily units, and the under-construction Brightview Senior Living and its independent, assisted living and memory care product,” Walter said.
Despite the closing of many Regal Cinemas around the country, Greenberg Gibbons still believes in the theatre concept and expects the operator to remain a long-term tenant. Walter said Regal Cinemas recently experienced “the highest growth in sales in the post-pandemic area, thanks to movies such as Barbie and Oppenheimer.”
The retail vacancy for the current quarter is 6.8 percent, which is a slight drop from the previous 6.9 percent.
Note: Remarks from Smith, Sweeney, and Walter were gathered at the recent Commercial Real Estate Symposium, sponsored by The Hunt Valley Business Forum. All market data is according to CoStar Group.