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Project Highlight - Case Study


The Avenue Market - Baltimore, Maryland

METROVENTURES provided real estate advisory and development management services to create the new Avenue Market in the West Baltimore Empowerment Zone. This venture involved redeveloping the former 35,000-square-foot Lafayette Market. Once a part of Baltimore City's public market system, this site had deteriorated over the last decade resulting in very low occupancy and sales productivity.

METROVENTURES implemented a comprehensive redevelopment plan that included preparing a design program translated into architectural design concepts and a detailed construction budget. Additionally, we conducted existing conditions analysis of the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor, and market demand and supply analysis, and developed and managed a detailed merchandising plan and leasing strategy, generated proforma income/expense projections, facilitated tenant financing, and conducted operations planning.

METROVENTURES assisted The Avenue Market Corporation, a nonprofit organization, in securing funding for the $4 million project. The funding included a Community Development Block Grant, funds from the City of Baltimore, a capital grant from the State of Maryland, and funding from private foundations. Accomplishments of the Project Team, which incorporated architects Brown & Craig, Inc., and construction managers Barton Malow Company included:

  • Fast-track schedule: Schematic/design development drawings and construction documents were completed within an eight-week timeframe.
  • On time and within budget: The base building renovation was expedited on a design-build basis. Substantial completion was achieved and a Certificate of Occupancy was issued as planned within a nine-month construction schedule. Construction also was completed within the programmed Guaranteed Maximum Price of $2.75 million.
  • Project financing: The $4 million financing goal for the project was not only met, but exceeded by $115,000. Eleven financing sources were successfully solicited along with relationships important to developing Loan/Grant Agreements and disbursing funding.
  • Leasing commitments: Commitments were achieved for approximately 70 percent of the leasable area by Grand Opening. We also fulfilled The Avenue Market Corporation's objective of a cultural tenant base, which is currently 60 percent African-American and 30 percent Korean. The team solicited and interviewed more than 150 minority tenant prospects to achieve this goal.
  • Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE / WBE): More than 50 percent of the total project expenditures were made to Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. The team successfully used small minority subcontractors in the construction phase achieving a 55 percent MBE utilization for the project, which exceeded the City's requirement by 25 percent.
  • Merchant Development Program: Established with assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this program facilitated the training of 20 Avenue Market small minority merchants in critical areas of business operations, including personnel management, accounting and financial management.
  • Tenant Finance Program: Established with assistance from the Council for Economic Business Opportunity, this program facilitated loan funding to small, minority merchants with limited resources, enabling many smaller, less experienced merchants to open businesses in the Market.