A guide to executive suites and office space to rent in Baltimore as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting offices in the city.
History & Geography
One of America’s oldest cities, Baltimore has an aura and a reputation which few other city’s on the nation’s east coast can rival. Located on the Patapsco River, a tributary of Chesapeake Bay, the city is the largest in the state of Maryland. Baltimore was founded in 1729 and was named after Lord Baltimore, the first Governor of Maryland. After it was founded the city grew quickly and became a granary for the sugar-producing colonies of the Caribbean. When the American Revolution broke out the city played a key role, hosting the Second Continental Congress. During the war of 1812 Baltimore was attacked by the British, but they were repulsed by US forces from the nearby Fort McHenry. It was during this battle that the American national anthem was composed by onlooker Francis Scott Key. After the war Baltimore continued to grow rapidly, becoming an important ship-building center as well as a manufacturing hub. During the American Civil War the city was occupied by Union troops to prevent Maryland from seceding, but the city played no other active part in the war. In 1904 much of the city was destroyed in a fire which ended up costing USD 150 million. However Baltimore was quickly rebuilt and new fire safety measures introduced. During the latter half of the 20th century the city’s African American population doubled mostly due to migration from the South. Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in 1968 extensive rioting broke out in the city and Federal troops had to be called in. During the 1980s and 90s the city was extensively redeveloped, with new museums, convention centers and stadiums being constructed. The Inner Harbor area especially benefited from the reconstruction efforts. Today Baltimore is the largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic United States and is the 20th largest city in the country.
In the past Baltimore was a manufacturing center. The city’s prosperity was based on auto manufacturing, steel processing, shipping and transportation. However many of these industries have ceased to exist in the city, at the time leaving tens of thousands of people jobless. The city is still one of the largest industrial centers in the United States though now also has a large service industry. The financial service industry, healthcare and business are now major bulwarks of the local economy. Among the companies headquartered in the city are Constellation Energy, Grace Chemicals, Legg Mason, McCormick & Company and T. Rowe Price. Additionally Adams Express Company, Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, FCI Consulting, Firaxis Games, Prometric, Petroleum & Resources Corporation, Old Mutual Financial Network, DeBaufre Bakeries and Under Armour all have significant operations in the city. Baltimore is also the location of Johns Hopkins Hospital, generally regarded as the best hospital in the country and one of the best hospitals in the world. The Port of Baltimore is still one of the largest of its kind on the East Coast of the United States. It has bulk facilities and is a major center of steel handling. Recently the US Census found that the median income in Baltimore for a family in Baltimore was USD 30,078. Per capita income was found to be at USD 22,885. Almost 20 percent of the population in Baltimore live beneath the poverty line.
Tourism & Culture
Baltimore doesn’t have a major tourism industry to compare to many of the other large cities on the East Coast such as New York, Boston or New Orleans. However due to its long history it does have several popular sites and attractions which are visited fairly often. The Phoenix Shot Tower, which was the tallest building in the US at the time of the Civil War is a popular visitor attraction, as is the Brown Memorial Presbytarian Church, which was built in 1870. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, built in 1876 is another famous site. Baltimore’s most visited site however is not a historical building but the newly built National Aquarium Baltimore. Annually 1.5 million people visit the aquarium, which has a collection of 16,500 specimens which represent 660 species. In 1990 the aquarium opened a marine mammal pavilion which currently houses nine Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Baltimore’s most famous building is another fairly modern construct, the Transamerica tower, which is the tallest in the city.
The city is served by the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, known as BWI. The airport is ten miles to the south of the city in Anne Arundel County and is the 24th busiest airport in the country. The city itself has an extensive bus system as well as a light rail network. A free bus service called the Charm City Circulator is runs seven days a week, every 15 minutes to designated stops. Baltimore is ranked as the 14th most walkable city in the US.
The current vacancy rate in Baltimore’s CBD stands at approximately 18.5 percent. However overall in the city the vacancy rate for Grade A office space is at 20 percent. The city was impacted badly by the financial crisis and the ensuing recession and currently has a rate of employment at almost ten percent. The current rental rate for Grade A office space is USD 27 per square foot. The office market in Baltimore is predicted to recover well however in 2012 and the vacancy rate in the city has already begun to drop. Leasing activity is also expected to increase substantially.