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Baltimore Business Journal: Chasen Companies to develop 272 new apartments, 55k s.f. of retail in Harbor East

BALTIMORE, MD November 4, 2021

A pair of large-scale apartment projects are in the works for a prominent corner of Harbor East in the latest residential expansion of the city's upscale, waterfront neighborhood.

Developer Brandon Chasen on Thursday told a city design panel his company Chasen Cos. is proposing to redevelop two complexes at 1400 Aliceanna St. and 600 S. Caroline St. The work will total $150 million and add 272 apartment units to the landscape with 55,000 square feet of new retail.

The Caroline Street property is a former industrial warehouse where the Meyer Seed Co. has been headquartered for decades. The company still owns and occupies the warehouse there, and would sell it and move to make way for the multi-family project that would stretch the entire city block.

That development would require approval from the city's historic preservation panel, the Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation, because it is located in a historic district.


"We have been looking at those properties since last summer," said Drew Peace, chief business development officer for Chasen. "We saw these projects as a way to be able to take historic features of these buildings and put our touch on them. We're transitioning as a company and growing into bigger projects."

Peace said the other property at 1400 Aliceanna St. is occupied by several tenants. Chasen aims to close on the acquisition of the property by the end of the year and break ground on the five-story development by early 2022.

The large-scale project is the latest for fast-growing Chasen, headquartered in Fells Point where several of its small, boutique multi-family projects are based. The company on Jan. 1 will open its latest development, The Caroline, a 31-unit apartment building at the site of the former Tutti Frutti Ice Cream plant in the 500 block of Caroline St. and next to the property at 600 S. Caroline St.

State records show the 51,000-square-foot Meyer Seed Co. building was built in 1920 originally as a GMC parts distribution center. It will be redeveloped into 100 one-bedroom units and 72 two-bedroom units anchored by 41,000 square feet of commercial space at street level.

The property at 1400 Aliceanna St. was also constructed in 1920 and will be redeveloped to hold 80 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom luxury apartments with 12,200 square feet of retail. Amenities will include a movie theater room, billiards lounge, outdoor courtyard, bike storage and reserved garage parking. The property was once home to Shepherd Electric Co., and today is owned by Vogel Investments LLC, state records show.

Concept designs presented by Chasen Cos. to the city Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel on Thursday showed both developments would be anchored by street-level retail and crowned by five-story apartment towers. The base of both projects would remain and convert to retail space.

Chasen Cos. is less than a decade old, but one of the city's fastest-growing businesses, according to Baltimore Business Journal data. The firm has redeveloped several older and historic structures downtown and in Federal Hill, Fells Point and Mt. Vernon, into market-rate multi-family projects.

The move into Harbor East is the latest expansion for the company.

The ritzy community next to Little Italy was first converted into an upscale residential, commercial, office and retail development in the 1980s by the late H&S Bakery mogul John Paterakis Sr. The Paterakis family still owns and operates the H&S Bakery and Northeast Foods based in Fells Point.

Peace said that Chasen Cos. is dedicated to redeveloping in the city as it continues to grow.

The company in August announced it had acquired 300 Cathedral St. for $6.7 million to convert it into Class A apartments. Last year, Chasen Cos. launched a quest to acquire and redevelop the former Bargain Outlet at Broadway and Eastern Avenue into a five-story apartment project, now underway. Another Fells Point project, The Archer, a 25-unit apartment hub, is located at 1709-1719 Fleet St. in formerly vacant office space.

The company even expanded into luxury yacht rentals in the Bahamas last year.

"We are growing fast and staying in the city," Peace said on Thursday afternoon. "We've had a lot of success here and we know the market and are sticking to what we know best and can do best."

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