As if it hasn't had enough troubles already, the Brokerage at the Inner Harbor office and retail complex is losing some of its key office tenants.
Four programs from the state's Department of Licensing and Regulation, including the Office of the Bank Commissioner and the Savings and Loan Division, will move from the eighth floor of the Brokerage to the department headquarters at 501 St. Paul Place within 90 days, according to William A. Fogle Jr., secretary of licensing and regulation.
Also moving from the Brokerage at 34 Market Place will be the Financial Audit Services Team and the Office of the Commissioner of Consumer Credit, two more programs from the Division of Financial Regulation in the state's Department of Licensing and Regulation. About 60 state employees are affected by the move.
The move will create a vacancy of about 12,000 square feet of office space in the Brokerage, which has a total of 146,000 square feet of office space on floors three to eight, with 116,000 square feet now occupied.
Wednesday, Gov. William Donald Schaefer expressed concern about the fate of Market Place and the eastern section of the Inner Harbor, where the Fishmarket and Power Plant are dormant, and suggested that the city, state and private sector launch a joint planning effort to find ways to rejuvenate it.
Mr. Fogle said his department's planned pullout from the Brokerage was not related to the governor's remarks. He said the move is part of an effort by his department to consolidate its employees and trim expenses in light of the state's budget deficit. Once the move is complete, the entire agency will be housed under one roof with the exception of several smaller field offices that are scheduled to close, he said.
The owners of the Brokerage complex filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code earlier this year, and their property is scheduled for sale at an auction Jan. 8. In addition, several of the tenants have filed individually for bankruptcy, including the owners of Dominique's restaurant. Others have closed altogether, saying that the area did not draw enough people and that subway construction on Baltimore Street was not hurting their efforts to draw customers.
Another state agency based in the Brokerage is reducing the space in occupies there. The offices of the Governor's Office of Art and Culture will shrink from 2,000 square feet to about 1,200 square feet as a cost-saving measure, said director Jody Albright. "We're doubling up and tripling up," she said. "Everybody's agreed that they have to do their part and share."