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WATERFRONT CONDOS PITCHED TO LOCAL, WASHINGTON BUYERS

4.11.2006
The Examiner

The new condominium developments in Baltimore are high-end, sophisticated and pricey. But whether these developments with price tags well into the millions residents remains the open question.

“The question will be the absorption,” said Tracy Gosson, executive director of Live Baltimore, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of city living. “How many units come on line at once and how much the market can bear.”

Local real estate developers, however; are betting on the willingness of potential residents to shell out the cash for the ambiance of city living.

Currently under construction, the 5.6-acre Ritz-Carlton Residence development, a $250 million venture headed by Midtown Baltimore LLC features condo units ranging from $1.2 million to $5 million. Located alongside the harbor, the development is slated for completion in mid-2007 and more than 50 percent are already pre-sold, according to Jack Cayre, principal of Midtown Baltimore.

He added that about a third of the buyers are from the Washington market, while others are people who own homes elsewhere in the country and spend a portion of the year in Baltimore.

Developers of Silo Point, a condominium project just minutes away under construction in Locust Point, are hoping the waterfront views and the dynamic nature of the port will lure residents, despite some units topping $2 million.

“What I see going on here is a lot of empty nesters coming back to the urban market… it’s a strong market all over the country,” said Patrick Turner; principal of Henrietta Development Corp, the firm heading up the project.

“It’s all about providing the right neighborhood for them and this is one of the best neighborhoods in the city.”

Live Baltimore’s Gosson agreed with Turner, saying that Baltimore is actually behind the times in terms of residential development on it’s waterfront, and she expects the new condo properties to be occupied by young up-and-coming CEO types as well as empty nesters moving back downtown from the suburbs.

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