A group led by Baltimore-based boutique commercial real estate and investment company Byrnes & Associates, Inc. has acquired 207. E. Redwood Street which, after its conversion from an office building to a hotel in 2015, has operated as Hotel RL Baltimore Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore City. Byrnes & Associates plans to immediately commence with an $18.5 million redevelopment strategy to transform the 10-story hospitality asset into an apartment use, featuring 130 studio, junior one-bedroom and one-bedroom units. The development team includes Brad Byrnes and Kemp Byrnes of Byrnes & Associates; investors Jay Litke and Moe Krohn of Kove Group LLC who will be the general contractors performing all construction activities; and investor/asset manager Brendan Ferrara of Carm Capital LLC. The former owner was RL Baltimore LLC.
This redevelopment activity follows Byrnes & Associates’ November 2020 acquisition of the adjacent 225 E. Redwood Street and 233 E. Redwood Street, as well as a comprehensive $5 million repositioning strategy and rebranding of the assets to Vickers Exchange and Redwood Exchange respectively. The acquisition of these two buildings, which include approximately 90,000 square feet of office and retail space, was completed in partnership with Dave Gupta, a local entrepreneur. Since late 2020, subsequent to the completion of the repositioning program from a single tenant to multi-tenant, Byrnes & Associates has signed 60 office and retail leases at the buildings, to elevate occupancy of the spaces to 65 percent from 5 percent at acquisition. Among the highlights of this activity was the courtship of the owner of Pete’s Grill to reopen Werner’s Restaurant, an iconic dining establishment which first opened in 1950, within 225 E. Redwood Street and rebrand the concept to Werner’s Diner and Pub after a meticulous restoration.
The acquisition of 207 E. Redwood Street increases Byrnes & Associates’ led investments into Historic Redwood Street to approximately $25 million. Brad Byrnes said that “this acquisition brings our vision for making Historic Redwood Street the new Main Street of Downtown Baltimore one step closer to reality.”
“A renaissance has taken place along E. Redwood Street over the past few years as business owners, office workers and consumers alike have rediscovered the magic of this section of Downtown Baltimore which was known as the ‘Wall Street of the South’ in the early 1900s. Our planned conversion to apartment units represents the next natural evolution of our long-term reinvigoration strategy,” explained Brad Byrnes. “Apartment renters inject much-needed energy into downtown areas, with residents also significantly impacting area retailers, restaurants, entertainment and sports venues and downtown attractions. We expect a great portion of the residents to also work in downtown office buildings, which also has a cumulatively positive effect on the liveliness and vigor of the greater area.”
Units with modern furnishings will offer 400 to 800 square feet of living space
According to Byrnes & Associates, the move to a multifamily configuration will be facilitated by the asset’s former use as a hotel with “minimal construction needed beyond adding kitchens and washers and dryers to the units, as well as transforming the lobby café into a 3,300 square foot restaurant that will be located at the intersection of Redwood and Calvert Street.” Amenities already incorporated into the project include a fitness center, banquet room and conference rooms, with the new ownership group planning to also install a game room and storage space.
The existing rooms include high ceilings, large windows and bathrooms with glass showers. They will be upgraded with kitchen areas, wood and tile flooring, modern fixtures and dressing room-sized closets.
Byrnes & Associates expects to completely lease the apartment building and achieve 100 percent occupancy within 18 months.
Area amenities and event programming will add to the allure of residential experience
“We have incredible neighbors and, within the next six to 12 months, Redwood Place at 207 E. Redwood Street will be the centerpiece of an amazing block that is a microcosm of everything that is great about Downtown Baltimore,” Byrnes added. He lists these assets as multifamily projects, commercial office space, event space, Goodwill’s Excel Academy, Chesapeake Shakespeare Theatre, restaurant and retail choices including Werner’s Diner and Pub, Prim & Proper Cocktail & Wine Bar, Zander’s Restaurant, The Empanada Lady, Clock Restoration Bar & Kitchen, Parlour75 Barber Co. and additional restaurants and a coffee & bakery location to be named at a later date.
Beginning later this fall, the ownership group along with Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and other stakeholders will sponsor monthly festivals that will involve the closing of the entire block, stringing of festoon lighting throughout the area, addition of valet parking and the assignment of a dedicated security detail to the area.
Report cites potential for nearly 8,000 new residents in Baltimore City annually
In its Downtown Baltimore Outlook 2027: Market Rate Housing Demand report, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore suggested that “an average of 7,962 younger singles and couples, empty nesters and retirees, and small families represent the annual market for new market-rate rental apartments, condominiums, and rowhouse in the Downtown Study Area.” The report states that “from 2017 to 2022, 4,634 new units were built, compared to the forecast absorption of 6685 to 7025 over five years.”
“A vibrant and growing downtown is central to the economic health of the greater metropolitan region and among the most important elements to achieve this is to attract residents,” Byrnes said. “We see tremendous signs of progress in many different sections of downtown and believe a true renaissance is already underway for Baltimore City. Within a one-mile radius of our properties there is $6.5 billion of development and investment activity that has either been completed, is under construction or already planned during the 2018-2028 timeframe. The substantial investment we are making on Historic Redwood Street is the perfect complement to the $250 million redevelopment of CFG Bank Arena, the new $45 million Lexington Market and the pending multi-billion-dollar investment going into the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards, M&T Bank, MD BioPark, UMMC, UMB and the surrounding areas.”
“There are both opportunities and challenges at every street corner, but the first step needed is hope and a fresh start. We encourage other investors to join the many leaders already involved and explore ways to improve all aspects of Baltimore City. Success is within our grasp and we have never felt more optimistic.”
Nearly 155,000 people reside within a two-mile radius of the buildings, including more than 68,000 households with an average household income approaching $90,000. The daytime population within two miles is nearly 290,000.
About Byrnes & Associates, Inc.
Byrnes & Associates, Inc. is a boutique real estate company providing a comprehensive array of commercial real estate brokerage, leasing, redevelopment and asset management services to institutional and private investors, companies and other owners. Since 1981, the company has been involved in a number of historical redevelopment projects including The Professional Building, The Latrobe, The McDowell, The Vickers Exchange and The Redwood Exchange. Over the past three years, Byrnes & Associates has also brokered the sale of several high-profile projects in Baltimore City including The Munsey Apartment Building, the Lanahan Building on 22 Light Street, the F&D Building and the recent 120,000 square foot multifamily conversion at 300 W. Fayette St.
The company continues to be involved in numerous charities and business organizations throughout the City. Several years ago, the company relocated its corporate headquarters to The Redwood Exchange Building in anticipation of expected growth of its brokerage and development business.