Kevin Lynch discussing the investments on Cross Street
Cross St. has been a business and dining corridor in Federal Hill since the 1800s, however recent investment is giving the South Baltimore street a makeover and extending its retail footprint into Sharp-Leadenhall. The $275-million Stadium Square project is reshaping a section of Sharp-Leadenhall and Solo Gibbs Park along Cross St., a redevelopment of the Cross Street Market will bring changes to the heart of Federal Hill, and new business and developments are giving new life to previously-vacant storefronts.
Screenshot courtesy of Google Maps
Here’s an overview of these developments, moving west-east starting at Solo Gibbs Park in Sharp-Leadenhall.
Stadium Square by Caves Valley Partners (CVP) encompasses three blocks of South Baltimore and Sharp-Leadenhall between Cross St. on the north, Race St. on the east, Leadenhall St. on the west, and both sides of Ostend St. to the south. The redevelopment includes approximately 700 apartments, 1,800 parking spaces, 302,000 sq. ft. of office space, and 80,000 sq. ft. of retail.
The properties acquired to make way for this development include the former home of ABC Box Company, which relocated to Carroll-Camden; Furst Bros., which relocated near Cherry Hill; Hillgartner Stone, which relocated to Westport; Vac Pac, which relocated to Middle River; the US Post Office, which will relocate to Hanover St.; and vacant land and warehouses, as well as existing rowhomes. CVP worked on acquiring the properties for almost two years.
At the west end of Cross St. sits Solo Gibbs Park, an area in which CVP is hoping to transform to a “state-of-the-art park and recreation facility.” CVP is working with the Sharp-Leadenhall Improvement Association to determine the desired programming for the park.
Along Cross St. is a new building under construction called Hanover Cross Street with 293 market-rate apartments, 14,000 sq. ft. of retail, and 450 to 500 parking spaces on the 1100 blocks of Leadenhall and Race St. Construction began in March of last year and the structure of the building has been completed. A restaurant is eyed for the retail space. CVP tapped Hanover Co. as the developer and apartment manager for this development, which is expected to open this year.
Construction on a new four- to five-story, 30- to 50-unit affordable apartment building for veterans with 6,000 sq. ft. of retail space is expected to start in the near future. The building will use the facades of five existing rowhomes on 100 W. Cross St. and the 1100 block of Leadenhall St., the same block as Hanover Co.’s new building. CVP has partnered with neighbor The Baltimore Station on this project. The Baltimore Station is “an innovative therapeutic residential treatment program supporting veterans and others who are transitioning through the cycle of poverty, addiction and homelessness to self-sufficiency,” according to its website. With the retail spaces facing Solo Gibbs Park, Arsh Mirmiran of CVP told SouthBMore.com the retail space would be ideal for a restaurant and/or coffee shop.
“From the time we started master planning Stadium Square, then carrying through to our intended redevelopment of Cross Street Market, we have felt that creating a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly corridor from 1111 Light Street all the way to Solo Gibbs Park was easily achievable,” said Mirmiran. “There are already some major highlights along the way like SoBo Café and the bars and restaurants along Cross Street, but once the retail at Hanover Cross Street and the base of the affordable veterans housing project at W. Cross and Leadenhall Streets are activated, this stretch will become one of the best in the city. Ultimately, when Solo Gibbs Park is brought to life, it will complete the full connection and Cross Street will join Light and Charles Streets as a top notch neighborhood retail street.”
Developers Len Bush and John Roe are transforming the former Union Bros. Furniture and Plymouth Wallpaper property at 37 W. Cross St. in Sharp-Leadenhall into a 33,000 sq. ft. office and retail space. This $8 million redevelopment project, which will be called Union Bros., will include three connected buildings surrounding the BP station at the corner of S. Hanover St. and W. Cross St. Union Bros. is a block east of Stadium Square and a block west from Cross Street Market.
The exterior of the buildings will be restored through brick work and the currently boarded-up windows will be reopened. Some existing windows will be restored, and many new windows that fit Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) guidelines will be installed. A facade on S. Hanover St. will also be restored. There will be a 4,500 sq. ft. retail space on Hanover St. and a 6,500 sq. ft. retail space on W. Cross St. The second and third stories will include 21,000 sq. ft. of office space.
The exterior will also include new neon or LED signage on S. Hanover St. and W. Cross St. and a lot of new lighting. “We want the signage to be seen from the former Porter’s (now The Outpost) and Stadium Square,” Bush told SouthBMore.com.
The team hopes to begin selective demolition this spring and have the building ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2018.
Rendering Courtesy of Marks, Thomas Architects
1100 S. Charles St.
A key parcel along Cross St. is 1100 S. Charles St. The large property comprised of a former auto body shop, a rowhome with a storefront and an apartment, and a parking lot has been the site of two restaurant proposals that did not come to fruition. Michael’s Café pulled out of a deal in 2013 to build a new restaurant and event space at the property, and a proposal for Federales fell through around 2010 after the parties failed to reach a lease agreement. A townhome and retail development was also once planned at the site.
The lot is currently used for parking and a sign on the property reads “available.”
Cross Street Market
The redevelopment of Cross Street Market is moving forward again after CVP reversed its decision to walk away from the project. CVP is now moving forward with a modified plan.
The $6.5 million renovation was to include outdoor seating on Cross St., likely eliminating six parking spaces; more natural light including new windows and glass garage doors facing Cross St.; updated utilities; a common seating area with approximately 100 seats; and facade improvements. CVP was aiming for 25 to 30 tenants within the market, with a mix of all the types of vendors that would make up a replacement for a grocery store, plus dine-in and carryout food tenants.
CVP was going to shut down the entire market during the renovation so it could completely dig up the floor, update the plumbing, and change the layout. Now, CVP is aiming to keep the layout mostly the same with the aisle remaining down the middle of the market, as opposed to on the south side of the market as it was proposed in the previous plan. This will allow tenants to remain open during the renovation, but Mirmiran noted most tenants would have to relocate within the market before completion.
The plan will still have a common seating area, most likely on the south side of the market, and will still have improved natural light, though not as much as in the previous plan. Mirmiran told SouthBMore.com he would like to still have outdoor seating, and that exterior improvements will still take place. CVP will continue to aim for the same tenant mix.
CVP does not yet have a new timeline as it works though the details, and with all involved parties, on the new plan. Mirmiran said his leasing team at Cana Development has kept in touch with the new merchants they had commitments from and he believes the project will still be attractive to these tenants, as well as other prospective new tenants.
Mirmiran previously told SouthBMore.com that CVP had existing tenant Pretzel Twist signed to a new deal at the Cross Street Market as well as agreements with a new BBQ vendor, chicken vendor, two Asian-concept vendors, a pie vendor, an ice cream vendor, a doughnut vendor, two breakfast vendors, a New York-style pizza vendor, and a local coffee vendor.
Rendering courtesy of Caves Valley Partners and Brown Craig Turner
New Businesses in Vacant Spaces
Two new businesses recently opened in previously-vacant spaces on Cross St., and one more will be opening soon.
Theresa Cangialosi recently opened SoBotanical Apothecary + Aromatherapy in a newly-renovated building and retail space at 48 E. Cross St. in Federal Hill. SoBotanical sells 100% natural products made by Cangialosi including bath bombs, shave gels, hair products, face washes, soaps, beard balms, perfumes, candles, diffusers, yoga mat sprays, and oils for stress relief, cold relief, skin healing, wound healing, anxiety, headaches, arthritis, smell rendition, and much more.
Theresa Cangialosi and husband Greg Cangialosi, who are longtime Federal Hill residents, said the long-vacant building was “a total mess” and needed a lot of work to get it up to code. This included new floors, a new roof, gas lines, and an entirely new basement. The Cangialosis bought the building, which was last used as an Ethiopian café in the early 2000s, and spent the last year and a half entirely renovating it.
They dug out a new basement for a laboratory and product development, renovated the main floor for the store, built an office on the second floor, and added a rooftop deck. Each floor is approximately 400 sq. ft. The exterior features large new main floor windows, glass doors, trim work, an awning, and a black and grey painted facade. They worked with Robbins Custom Builders and designers Christian Donnelly and The Verve Partnership on the new store.
The Outpost American Tavern opened last month in the former Porter’s Pub at 1032 Riverside Ave. in Federal Hill at the corner of E. Cross St. at the former site of Porter’s, which closed in 2014. The Outpost is two blocks east of Cross Street Market.
The Outpost is owned by neighborhood resident Chris Frisone and Seung Cho, who previously worked at Cross Street Market. Former Top Chef Contestant Jesse Sandlin, who has worked at Petit Louis, Oliver’s Speck, and Jokers & Thieves, leads the kitchen. The team at The Outpost is advised by the owners of Blue Agave and Don’t Know Tavern.
The team describes The Outpost as an American-themed neighborhood restaurant. Entrées on the menu include spaghetti and meatballs, roasted half chicken, and seared scallops; sandwiches include fried chicken, crispy shrimp po’ boy, and blackened tuna wrap; and starters include avocado toast and house-made soft pretzels.
Crossbar Der Biergarten was first proposed at 12-18 E. Cross St. in Federal Hill at the former home of Turner’s/Billabong and Lanasa Produce in April 2013. Now, almost four years later, it is set to open this month. The Crossbar team of Josh Foti, Brian McComas, and Leho Poldmae are putting the finishing touches on a renovation that cost more than $1 million. Foti and McComas are part of the team at Federal Hill’s Ryleigh’s Oyster, which also has two other locations, and Poldmae is an owner at Myth & Moonshine in Canton and Neo in Annapolis.
Crossbar is comprised of four former rowhomes across the street from Cross Street Market, three of which were to be demolished to make way for an indoor beer garden. The beer garden has a clear roof that rises 36 ft. high. Its design uses the same plastic roofing material used by many international soccer stadiums. The beer garden features a lot of natural light coming from the roof, as well as large windows facing Cross St. The concrete floor has a pit which is the home of a large ficus tree.
The menu at Crossbar will focus on German comfort food and it will have 16 beers on tap split between German craft beers and local craft beers. Crossbar will have 50 to 60 employees.
Available Retail Spaces
There are currently three retail spaces available on the unit block of E. Cross St. surrounding Cross Street Market. 15 E. Cross St., which has been vacant for many years, and 46 E. Cross St., which was the former home of Pixilated Federal Hill and Zelda Zen, are both retail available for lease. 35 E. Cross St., which includes one or two retail spaces, is for sale.