State officials on Wednesday approved leases for three of the 12 state agencies moving to downtown Baltimore from the State Center campus near Midtown.
Maryland’s Board of Public Works has approved the first round of leases as part of a plan to move state workers out of the aging state-owned complex to fill vacancies elsewhere in the city, a said the Ministry of General Services. The leases all come into effect on June 1 for terms of 10 years with renewal options.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said in April 2021 that the state would move 3,500 state employees from a dozen agencies located at the State Center to offices elsewhere in the city. It represented a departure from previous building renovation proposals and was designed to breathe new life into a central business district struggling with vacancies.
The 334 employees of the Office of the Comptroller will move to 7, rue Saint-Paul, where the State will lease 67,586 square feet. The state will pay nearly $1.6 million in annual rent, or $15.9 million over 10 years, with an option to renew for five years. The deal includes a rent reduction for the first six months of the term, a savings of $794,135, officials said.
Comptroller Peter Franchot praised the location in the heart of downtown near public transit and parking. The office is now located at 301 W. Preston Street.
The Board of Public Works, consisting of Hogan, Franchot and State Treasurer Derek E. Davis, also approved a 19,329 square foot lease at 120 E. Baltimore St. for the Department of Planning. The agency employs 67 people.
Under the contract, the state will pay $4.9 million over 10 years, with an option to renew for another five years. A six-month rent reduction represents a savings of $245,478, General Services said.
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“This new location will allow our team to truly live… our mission [to revitalize Maryland communities] not only collaborating with other state agencies and local government, but also being a part of everything the city has to offer in the surrounding area,” Planning Secretary Robert S. McCord said in Wednesday’s announcement.
The third lease approved was for the 60-person aging department, moving to 16,876 square feet at 36 S. Charles Street. The state will pay $394,898.40 in annual rent, or $3.9 million over 10 years, with an option to renew for five years. It includes a six-month rent reduction worth $197,449.
“The new location will allow Department of Aging staff to continue to be accessible to our constituents, as well as the wonderful volunteers who help us serve Maryland’s seniors,” said agency secretary Rona E. Kramer. , in Wednesday’s announcement. .
Earlier this month, the Maryland Department of Health announced plans to move its headquarters to the South Building of the Metro West complex near Lexington Market. The Public Works Board must still approve this deal to pay more than $12 million a year for nearly 500,000 square feet. The contract was to be voted on Wednesday but withdrawn.
General Services reported receiving 58 acceptable proposals from the business community in response to seven requests issued by the state. All new leases were negotiated at below-market rental rates, he said. Each location provides workers with access to amenities such as fitness centers and restaurants.
The state plans to turn the State Center over to the city for future redevelopment, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said in August.
“Once we remove the agencies from the State Center, we intend to deed this property … to the City of Baltimore so that citizens and their elected officials can determine the best use of this site,” Rutherford had said.