April 23, 2018

As reported by  on April 13th, 2018  – Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal

The first phase of an $80 million redevelopment of a former industrial site in East Baltimore is set to open in a year, the developer said this week.

The project is renamed Yard 56 and will be a conversion of the former Pemco International headquarters at 5601 Eastern Ave. into a 2.2-million-square-foot mixed-use development.

It launched a couple of months ago with demolition of a portion of the decayed and vacant buildings to make way for a 34,000-square-food LA Fitness gymthat will open next spring, said P. David Bramble, managing partner for MCB Real Estate, which purchased the property four years ago for $3 million.

Bramble said the gym’s opening will kickoff the “retail phase” of the project that will total 106,000 square feet including a 17,000-square-foot “upscale grocery store,” several restaurants and 286 parking spaces. Yard 56 will also hold 100,000 square feet of office space and two hotels with a total of 150 rooms. The site is located across the street from the sprawling Johns Hopkins Hospital Bayview campus and near Interstate 95.

“It’s a major transformational project that comes along once in a lifetime,” Bramble said of the redevelopment that has been in the planning stages for three years.

The property requires an intense environmental cleanup estimated to cost $15 million because of its former use as an industrial plant that manufactured compounds used to make enamel and ceramic glaze, he said. The cleanup will be supervised by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Bramble said the site work at the Pemco site will continue through the end of the year and then “buildings will start to go vertical by early 2019.”

Another phase of the project will add 200 apartment units to the site. That is still in the planning phase, Bramble said, without a timeline at this point.