Famous Baltimore Marketplace Changes Hands

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The Real Estate Marketing Insider comments on news that Harborplace, Baltimore’s iconic waterfront shopping center, has been sold to a New York real estate investor group.

The Real Estate Marketing Insider released its statement on news in the Baltimore Sun that Harborplace, the famous Baltimore waterfront plaza and tourist destination, had been purchased by a New York investor, saying it was good news for the real estate market as the new owner was well situated to breathe life into the shopping center and the surrounding real estate market.

The 32-year-old shopping center was purchased by Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., a New York real estate investment firm. Ashkenazy is in the process of collecting commercial landmarks around the country; its acquisitions so far include Washington’s Union Station, Boston’s Faneuil Hall and San Antonio’s Rivercenter.

Ashkenazy is buying Harborplace in a fragile state; while its recent addition of exciting new tenants like the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium shows potential for regrowth and repopularization of the complex, the plaza has encountered financial troubles since 2004, the last time Harborplace changed hands. Last year, the iconic tenant of the shopping center, Phillips Seafood, closed its Harborplace location.

Despite the financial woes of the mall, tenants of businesses and restaurants inside the complex note that their business has improved. One manager said that six years ago when his tapas restaurant opened in the plaza, he was serving mostly tourists and seasonal visitors. Now, his business is patronized by mostly locals. This shift in clientele may be due to email marketing for real estate, new mid-range retail offerings, and successful promotion on behalf of the previous owner, General Growth.

Although the mayor’s office has released a statement announcing the sale, neither General Growth nor the Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation have officially acknowledged that the sale is taking place. Rather than being causing skepticism, tenants speculate that Ashkenazy is still tracking down tenants for the empty spaces in Harborplace, and waiting to make its announcement until all spaces are filled. City records indicate that Harborplace is occupied to 93 percent of its 150,000 square feet of leasable space.

A spokesman for Ashkenazy has gone on the record in 2012 as saying AAC intends to invest about $700 million this year in acquisitions. Its earlier purchase of Boston’s Faneuil Hall, a similar commercial landmark, accounts for $136 million in leasing rights.

The Real Estate Marketing Insider commented on the Baltimore Sun’s report that Harborplace, a Baltimore waterfront shopping center and popular tourist destination, is being sold to Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., a New York-based investment firm. AAC is working to collect commercial tourist attractions, having already purchased similar landmarks in Boston, San Antonio, and Washington D.C.

About Real Estate Marketing Insider: Based in La Jolla, CA, REMI keeps real estate professionals up to date on news, trends and marketing/business tips

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