Under Armour Reveals Plans for New 4 Million Sq. Ft. Port Covington Campus

| January 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

On Wednesday, Under Armour previewed the master plan for its new Port Covington campus and global world headquarters. Taking the place of the recently closed Port Covington Shopping Center, Under Armour is proposing a multi-billion dollar, 50-acre campus along a mile of the Patapsco River waterfront with approximately 4 million sq. ft. of campus buildings, 5,000 parking spaces, and room for up to 10,000 employees. It recently converted the former Sam’s Club into a new 170,000 sq. ft. office building and amenity space and has plans for four additional stages of development.

The project is led by Neil Jurgens, vice president of corporate real estate at Under Armour, as well as the design team of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, BuroHappold Engineering, Nelson Byrd Woltz, STV, and Biohabitats. Whiting Turner will be the construction manager.

“Under Armour’s proposed high-performance campus will not only redefine the urban workspace and how teammates interact with each other to improve performance and efficiency, but it will also help transform our hometown of Baltimore,” said Jurgens in a press release. “Baltimore is our home and we are going to build something great here.”

Jurgens joined Under Armour in 2013 and previously worked with the Walt Disney Company, managing its 18 million sq. ft. real estate portfolio and overseeing more than a billion dollars in construction and development.

“Under Armour will be the pioneering model of the new urban campus,” said Frank Grauman, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Principal and Chief Architect, in a press release. “We are developing a destination and landmark for which Baltimore will be recognized and admired around the world. We are thrilled to be part of a project that is at the forefront of innovation and will forever change the way the world perceives urban development and the City of Baltimore.”

As the lead planners working with Under Armour, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is known most notably for the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York, as well as corporate campuses for Disney, Pixar, Square, and Expedia.

Under Armour is currently headquartered at Tide Point in Locust Point and decided it wasn’t a location it could get its growing workforce into safely and effectively, though it has a 600,000 sq. ft. planned unit development remaining at the property. Under Armour currently has 1800-1900 Baltimore employees and is adding approximately 300 per year. Sagamore Development, which Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank is a partner, purchased the shopping center property in 2014, followed by additional land acquisitions totaling 161 acres of property. It recently proposed a master plan for the 266 acres that make up Port Covington on the South Baltimore Peninsula.

Though the new campus will be a private space outside of sporting and community events, the perimeter of the campus will be open to the public. The perimeter will include a promenade utilizing the existing concrete wharf on the shoreline moving southeast, as well as a boardwalk, piers, and a variety of surfaces. Under Armour plans a future expansion of Ferry Bar Park with additional fishing piers in Phase 2 of the project and Sagamore is proposing three water taxi stops along the promenade

Looking to recreate an estuary that once existed at Port Covington, Under Armour will be creating a lake on the northern end of its campus in Phase I. It will be connected with East Waterfront Park near Sagamore Spirit. Two pedestrian-focused bridges will cross the lake with one large and strong enough for fire emergencies. The lake will be filtered and also push filtered water back into the Patapsco River. Water from the river will also be used as part of a cooling technology for the buildings and portions of the water will run throughout the campus as part of a stormwater management plan. Under Armour is hoping for 80% water savings on its campus. Along with water filtration, it will undertake the improvement of the shoreline condition and install oyster beds along many pilings on the promenade. Under Armour shares the city’s goal of seeing a swimmable and fishable Patapsco River in the future.

Two large recreation facilities will be constructed on the campus. On the northern side of the campus adjacent to the lake, a field house will be constructed that will be similar to an athletic complex at many universities. It will feature an indoor practice facility as well as basketball courts and training equipment. The field house, which will be part of Phase 2, will host community athletic groups.

Under Armour is also planning a stadium at the southeastern tip of the property. The field will have a football, soccer, and lacrosse alignment with a surrounding running track. Under Armour originally eyed 5,00o as a capacity for the stadium, but noted that it keeps growing and could go up to 12,000 (for comparison, Towson’s Johnny Unitas Stadium has a capacity of 11,198). Jurgens said they are looking to host local high school sporting events and tournaments at the facility. The stadium is proposed for future phases of the development and currently sits at the site of the recently-closed Walmart.

Under Armour noted the boundary between the public and private spaces will be divided mostly through the use of topography and landscaping such as berms. “The last thing we want is this huge visual barrier,” said Jurgens.

The square footage on the campus will be broken down as 3 million sq. ft. of office space, 529,000 sq. ft. of amenity space, 100,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing, 331,875 sq. ft. of service space, and a 5,000-car parking structure. Along with the field house and stadium, many green spaces will be located throughout the campus designed for various activities. A large glass structure with an Under Armour logo will stand between the stadium and a large grass area. The entire campus is designed with natural light and sight lines to water views in mind.

The first step in the new campus, which is described as Phase 0, was already completed with the conversion of the former Sam’s Club into a new office building called Building 37, which can accommodate up to 600 employees. The Sam’s Club had a 130,000 sq. ft. footprint and Under Armour constructed an additional 40,000 sq. ft. mezzanine level in building. Building 37 includes a 350-person auditorium; 29 conference rooms with audiovisual technology, 14 of which have video conferencing capabilities; its IT help desk; open stairwells; collaborative workspaces; and, “double-height perimeter spaces,” which can also be used for events. It also features the Humble & Hungry Café; The Bank Shot, a local family-owned company serving freshly brewed coffees, lattes, and teas (opening in spring); and, an Under Armour Performance Center fitness venue which opens up to an outdoor basketball court.

Phase 1 is expected to take four to five years. It will include a 1,500-car parking garage, which will be expanded in the future, as well as two office buildings and additional studio spaces. Also in the early stages will be the first of three “tall and slender” towers Under Armour will be constructing. Grauman said they could be up to 450 ft. tall and will have “iconic” architecture that will be visible from I-95 which cuts through Port Covington just north of the campus. For reference, Baltimore’s tallest building, the Transamerica Tower is 528 ft. tall.

With 10,000 employees coming to the campus, Under Armour doesn’t want to bring 10,000 new cars so it is working with the city and state on a transportation plan. Sagamore’s Master Plan calls for water taxi stops, additional bus routes, light rail stops, bike share stations, and a circulating bus route around Port Covington. Under Armour’s parking structures will be along the western edge of the campus, so pedestrian activity will take place throughout the rest of the campus.

Under Armour expects all four phases to take 15-20 years to complete, the same approximate timeline of Sagamore’s Master Plan. Under Armour will not be asking for any public money or tax financing for the construction or the infrastructure of its campus, but Sagamore is reaching out to federal, state, and city government for help on the infrastructure of the Port Covington Master Plan which includes 114 acres of public realm between parks, infrastructure, and open space. Under Armour currently leases the space for its campus from Sagamore, but could consider buying it in the future according to Jurgens.

Regarding Under Armour’s Tide Point Headquarters, a property the company owns, they said they have no plans at this point to vacate the property. Under Armour also leases a four-building distribution house in Curtis Bay and said that all operations will remain at the site.

Under Armour is excited to move forward and sees this project as not only transformational for Under Armour, but also for Baltimore City. With 40% of Under Armour employees living in the city, it is projected that Under Armour employees support 12,000 additional Baltimore jobs as well as construction jobs during the development of the campus. Jurgens also noted Under Armour’s growth and campus will generate real tax revenue for the city and believes their investment will attract other investment to Baltimore. It was also noted that Under Armour has contributed 26,000 volunteer hours to Baltimore since 2012.

Under Armour’s campus master plan was presented today at the Baltimore City Planning Department’s Urban Design & Architecture Review Panel (UDARP).

Renderings courtesy of Under Armour

Campus Plan

Entry View

Campus Quad

View from Water

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Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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