altimore took a blow this past Friday when Patrick “Scunny” McCusker, one of Canton’s most beloved restauranteurs, passed away after his bicycle collided with a bus in Ocean City. McCusker was best known as the owner of Nacho Mama’s and its sister restaurant Mama’s on the Half Shell, both located on O’Donnell Street in Canton Square. He was 49.
I’ve known Scunny for over a decade. No matter how busy he was in the restaurant, he always had time to come by and hassle me about my affinity for the Redskins. He was like this with everyone. I grew up being taught it was good to be a character, and Scunny was definitely a larger than life character. I used to see him ride around in his Natty Boh car with his son. And he combined his love of Elvis with his love for Baltimore sports when he wore a purple Elvis costume to the Super Bowl when the Ravens beat the Giants.
My funniest memory of Scunny, though, is a sign he hung at Nacho Mama’s in the early days, which noted the remarks of friend Neil Tabor (I believe) who helped convince Scunny to open the restaurant: “It takes a Jewish guy to convince an Irishman to open a Mexican restaurant in a Polish neighborhood.”
He was much more than just a restaurant owner in Baltimore. Some have even called him the unofficial mayor of Canton. He was a real friend to the community, and a true philanthropist, whether it was taking pizzas to a local senior center once a month, or his involvement with Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that provides hospital and housing services to critically ill children and their families. Scunny, you will be missed.
owntown Salisbury can expect a new mixed-use development at the site of the former Feldman’s Building in early 2013. The property, recently acquired by River View Commons, LLC, will have open sight lines to the river front and on-site parking. Four different buildings comprise the 40,000 square foot structure, the most notably being a main 3-story building dating back to the 1800s and first used by wholesale grocers.
Demolition will begin in the Fall of 2012 with renovations occurring thereafter. The new owners have named the project River View Commons, and are looking to create office, retail and restaurant space. They also hope for city approval to construct a riverwalk along the Wicomico River and Mill Street.
ince 1999, Towson’s Loch Raven Plaza has been without a grocery store, following Superfresh’s move to the Towson MarketPlace. This Fall, however, discount grocery store Aldi has decided to lease 25,000 SF of space to help fill that gap. Superfresh currently sublets its former space to a number of retailers, including Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. Additionally, rent-to-own retailer Aaron’s Inc. will occupy 7,566 SF in the Fall as well.
Loch Raven Plaza is located at the intersection of Taylor Avenue and Loch Raven Blvd in Towson. The new leases bring the center to 91 percent occupancy, with other stores including Dollar Tree, Mattress Discounters, Radio Shack and Subway.
ilene’s Basement closed its doors to its Lockwood Place location on Pratt Street back in January, along with all of their stores early this year. But lease terms are currently being negotiated with another retailer to take over the space, though no details yet on specifics. Baltimore City Community College owns the building, while David S. Brown Enterprises manages it and handles leasing. Other tenants include P.F. Chang’s, Fogo de Chão, Panera Bread, and, until May 12, Best Buy…
Best Buy announced it would be closing 50 of its stores this year as part of a “transformation strategy”. Though closing, they still have four years left on their lease at the 37,000 sq ft space. During that time, they have control over what happens to it, whether to sublet it or not. But Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, is “confident Brown will work out a solution for the site.”
ack in March we reported on “Open Walls Baltimore” getting underway in the city’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District. The event brought artists from all over to paint large murals on buildings throughout the area. Not long after, we mentioned another other good news for the cultural district: news that the Baltimore Design School would be moving into the old Lebow Brothers Building after a $25M restoration.
And recently, The Baltimore Sun posted pictures of some notable MICA alumni along with their work, including recent alum Gaia, a street artist who led a significant role in Open Walls Baltimore.
And with our brokerage looking to lease great studio space at 1539 N Calvert Street, not far from the new Baltimore Design School, we think it might make a great use for MICA, who’s also not far. Located at the corner of Calvert & Federal Streets, it sits just 1 block from Penn Station, with great views of the city. It was originally used as the McShane Bell Foundry, and coincidentally was also recently painted for Open Walls Baltimore.
s we reported in a post in February, it was April of last year that CoStar announced it intended to purchase LoopNet, one of the few existing competitors in the commercial real estate listings industry. Now, as CityBiz Real Estate reports, an agreement’s been reached on a mutually acceptable consent order between CoStar, LoopNet, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Based on this brief interview with CoStar founder and CEO Andrew Florance nearly a year ago, the merger makes sense as a consolidation of the two Internet companies, one that’s “#1 for marketing commercial real estate” and one that’s “#1 for researching and analyzing commercial real estate”:
The consent order is still subject to review by the FTC commissioners and other customary closing conditions. This would all have to occur before the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.
CoStar said they believed the proposed consent order will not affect its ability to realize the material benefits of the merger. Which leaves us to wonder, exactly what kind of benefits does CoStar anticipate with the acquisition of LoopNet?
arbor East may not be ready to call itself a “shopping district” just yet, but gaining four new big-name retailers this summer should make it one step closer. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Lululemon Athletica and MAC Cosmetics all plan to open locations there by the end of summer.
Anthropologie will take, 9,581 sq ft on the ground floor of the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel at 280 International Drive. J. Crew will occupy 7,188 sq ft at the Legg Mason building on 701 Aliceanna St. Lululemon Athletica will take 2,775 sq ft of space at 820 Aliceanna St. And MAC Cosmetics will replace Benjamin Lovell Shoes at 618 S Exeter St with 1,347 sq ft. This will be the first Baltimore City location for all four retailers.
Aside from the city’s tourist-y Harborplace and The Gallery, the closest true shopping destination has remained “The Avenue” in Hampden, a Baltimore melting pot that’s looking trendier by the day. But these four new additions should help solidify Harbor East as a popular daytime and nighttime hotspot for Baltimore. They join a growing list of shops and restaurants already in place, as well as the uniquely chic Landmark Theatres. As development manager for Harbor East Christopher Janian puts it, “The neighborhood is redefining urban life in Baltimore City.”
To learn more about what Harbor East has to offer, visit its website here.
altimore skateboarders can look forward to a new skatepark in Hampden’s Roosevelt Park in the not-too-distant future. That is, if Skatepark of Baltimore, the non-profit behind the project, can raise $75,000 by the end of May. If they do, the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks will give them a matching grant. It’s no small number, but grew considerably smaller when the Tony Hawk Foundation chipped in, donating $25,000 towards the cause.
Recreation and Parks spent $60,000 back in 2005 on an 11,000 sq ft fenced-in asphalt lot in Roosevelt Park. After local youth created their own makeshift objects to skate on, the site was locked off and sat dormant until Skatepark of Baltimore installed three metal skateable structures at the request of the Roosevelt Recreation Center. Since then, the park has been used by local skaters on a daily basis, with Skatepark of Baltimore continuing to improve the pad with ramps and rails since.
Skatepark of Baltimore’s mission is “to facilitate the construction of a public, custom, concrete, destination skatepark in the city of Baltimore”. Its many volunteers accomplish this through planning, fundraising, educating and advocating. They were one of 12 organizations to receive a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation this spring. Visit their site here if you’d like to donate and help their cause.
hen was the last time you stepped into a local pharmacy? By local I don’t just mean the closest. I’m talking about a home grown, community-oriented, “mom and pop” pharmacy. Today they’re few and far between, with “mega pharmacies” like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens opening in more locations all the time. But in a similar vein to our January post on Baltimore’s growing market for smaller, more accessible restaurant/dry goods stores, city residents would also embrace a pharmacy that caters to the community instead of a national brand it operates under.
In addition to sprouting new locations on a regular basis, these national brands are buying up the little guys simultaneously. Two of JBL Real Estate’s listings, 801 W 36th Street in Hampden and 8500 Harford Road in Parkville, were previous locations for locally-owned Burke’s Pharmacy, recently acquired by Rite Aid.
Urban retail is lacking the true local pharmacy, where service is unmistakably better and the person behind the counter isn’t a gum-chewing, ipod-listening college student with an attitude. And having your pharmacy nestled nearby among your other local stops is what living in the city is all about.
Big-name pharmacies have their place in modern-day America (try any major thoroughfare). But maybe we’d rather go to a pharmacy…some other place.
t has to be a curious process: determining the market value of a historic landmark. Assuming Baltimore’s Board of Estimates approves the contract today, that’s just what the Department of General Services will pay appraisal firm Westholm & Associates to do. For $46,500, the Annapolis-based company will analyze 15 city landmarks deemed “underutilized” by City Hall.
The city is hoping that leasing or selling the buildings will earn them revenue they’re not seeing now, with offices as a potential use for developers. Preservationists are of course worried that such transactions could jeopardize the state and status of such landmarks. But the city hopes that historic tax credits would encourage developers to protect the sites that now sit vacant, uncared for, and in some cases even vandalized.
Sites include (click to enlarge):
Thomas Stosur, Baltimore’s director of planning, previously stated, “I don’t know that every single one of them is officially a designated landmark.” Determining such bears much importance on the matter, as only those that are would be protected under laws governing historic properties. It was announced today that 12 of the 15 are in fact protected by historic landmark designation.
Whatever the turnout, a result that sees these landmarks put to better use for their communities, while also ensuring their continued protection, has my vote.