Curating a Tenant Mix for an Iconic Baltimore Mixed-Use Property
When MCB Real Estate acquired the Rotunda, we identified the opportunity to improve the property through an enhanced consumer experience consisting of placemaking, elevated re-merchandising, and public space activation. Our mission is to create a destination in Northern Baltimore’s Hampden community that:
• Resonates with and attracts users and visitors
• Engages new shoppers and diners while increasing the frequency of existing ones
• Capitalizes on current trends
• Attracts office and residential tenants
• Celebrates the iconic and historic heritage of the property
• Generates increased economic returns for our commercial tenants and investors
To accomplish this mission, MCB developed a multi-pronged strategy to maximize the benefits of the live, work, play nature of the development whose location combines urban metropolitan sophistication with suburban convenience:
1) Refresh the built environment to introduce main entrance retail space, showcase the Rotunda’s businesses, and provide additional outdoor dining and communal spaces
2) Celebrate the many existing outdoor seating and gathering areas with improved lighting, furniture, and public art
3) Incorporate new vehicular and pedestrian wayfinding to improve traffic flow and encourage visitors to use the ample parking available in the structured parking deck
4) Implement seasonal public space activation and event plans that maximize the synergies between retail, office, and residential as well as establishes the Rotunda as a cool meeting spot and fun place to be in North Baltimore
5) Curate a tenant mix in keeping with current retail and dining trends while resonating with our neighbors in Hampden and beyond
This strategy is built on maximizing a multi-building, mixed-used property with podium-level retail anchored by a top-performing, best-in-class organic grocery store. Grocery-anchored properties thrive because they meet the daily needs of consumers and residents and generate high volumes of traffic, cross shopping and dining, and loyalty. Mom’s Organic Market provides the Rotunda with the additional benefit of attracting highly educated, health-conscious customers who will visit the Rotunda multiple times per week.
The Process: Combine market knowledge with a forward-thinking approach
A well-located mixed-use community, the Rotunda has been attracting tenants and customers since it was initially redeveloped. On-site ICON residences (379 luxury for-rent apartments) and 140,000 square feet of offices combine with existing retail and service businesses to draw a wide variety of customers. Unique office tenants, such as the Space Telescope Science Institute, distinguish the property from its competition and create additional interest and visitation.
We applied our experience to detailed analyses of the market, existing tenants, customers (including demographic and lifestyle characteristics), and the competition to determine demand drivers and voids. Our strategic process resulted in a leasing plan that will be both authentic and resilient.
The Rotunda’s Hampden location is within immediate proximity to northern Baltimore’s Roland Park and Wyman Park as well as the bustling Johns Hopkins and Loyola University communities. The property enjoys unparalleled access from the major thoroughfares of I-83, Falls Road, and Cold Spring Lane as well as to public transportation.
Hampden is an eclectic neighborhood that is home to some of Baltimore’s best restaurants, bars, galleries, and indie stores. Retro diners and dives sit adjacent to trendy craft cocktail spots and upscale restaurants. It is important for the Rotunda to feel like a natural extension of The Avenue in Hampden which is only a few blocks away.
People who live and work in Hampden, as well as those who come to the community, are aspirational, individualistic, pragmatic, and take pride in being unique. This customer independence dovetails perfectly with the trend of consumers and diners moving away from chains and toward more local businesses that provide special experiences.
Curating the tenant mix for the Rotunda
Our research led us to seek and lease to restaurants and businesses that:
• Offer new experiences and high quality at an affordable price point
• Are new to Baltimore’s market
• Will adapt their design and menu to this specific location and customer
• Respond to overarching trends
• Complement the Rotunda’s existing tenancy
• Expand the property’s appeal
The optimized tenant mix will welcome new consumer traffic and increase dwell time and visit frequency resulting in increased sales for retailers and a more attractive office and multi-family leasing proposition.
Our analysis showed that there are voids in the market for many uses. Two concepts, Medium Rare and Barn & Lodge, align well with our criteria and are serving as the two initial offerings in MCB’s repositioning of the asset:
• Medium Rare offers a 3-course prix fixe menu that includes bread, salad, award-winning Coulotte steak, and fries (vegan-friendly option available) for $28.95. Brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays with a choice of entrée and bottomless drinks for a fixed price of $31.95.
Medium Rare’s streamlined menu and attractive price point are a perfect fit. The restaurant’s commitment to fight hunger resonates with Gen Z and millennial customers who look for experiential dining, are more likely to order multi-course meals, and visit businesses whose values align with their own.
• Barn & Lodge farm-to-table restaurant will occupy the Rotunda’s unique and high-profile Power Plant Building and the adjacent outdoor seating area. The Barn & Lodge will serve the community every day as well as every special day for family sit down dinners, special occasions, events, happy hours, and business functions. Barn & Lodge at the Rotunda will offer lunch and dinner daily and brunch on the weekends.
The Barn & Lodge space is being designed to complement the Power Plant Building. The restaurant’s constantly changing menu will focus on the freshest, seasonal ingredients from local farmers, watermen, and ranches and reflects its commitment to locality, seasonality, nutrition, and the environment.
The Evolution Continues
We are continuing to energize the Rotunda with new businesses that will increase the property’s appeal and vibrancy.
To be a part of the Rotunda’s evolution, contact Erik Ylitalo, Vice President of Leasing at MCB Real Estate at email@example.com. For more information on the Rotunda, visit https://rotundabaltimore.com/.