MetLife signs lease for Canton site

100 on staff in Linthicum, White Marsh to move to new Brewers Hill project

October 08, 2004|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

MetLife Inc., the financial and insurance services company, plans to move more than 100 workers from its White Marsh and Linthicum offices to one of the city's newest redevelopment projects in Canton, project brokers and developers said yesterday.

MetLife signed a 10-year lease for about 20,000 square feet in Brewers Hill, a collection of buildings in a popular waterfront neighborhood that will become offices, shops and residences, according to developers Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse and Obrecht Commercial Real Estate.

The buildings once were used by Gunther Brewery and National Brewery, makers of National Bohemian or "Natty Boh."

Struever Bros., which specializes in historic rehabilitation, also developed the Can Company in Canton and Tide Point in Locust Point. Those projects and others that ring the harbor have pulled office tenants from the suburbs and traditional central business district in recent years.

Brewers Hill, Struever Bros.' latest project, is a $100 million rehab project that will offer 750,000 square feet of space at Conkling and O'Donnell streets.

"After considering a number of urban and suburban sites for our new offices, Brewers Hill offers an attractive combination of amenities in a unique downtown setting in a vibrant and energetic atmosphere," said Scott Phillips, MetLife's managing director.

The company will move in December and is the second to commit to the project, according to Doug Schmidt and Gail Chrzan, brokers for CB Richard Ellis, who represent Struever Bros. Elder Health has leased 42,000 square feet and plans to move in October.

Scott Manhoff, a broker for Grubb & Ellis, who represented MetLife, said that when the company was looking to consolidate offices, "they looked at a map and Canton became the central point. It's also a thriving area and they thought it would be fun to be a part of it."

In a time when there is excess office space available in Baltimore, the developers also offered incentives, such as free parking and some free rent and moving expenses, Manhoff said

Asking rent for the project is about $19 a square foot, Manhoff said, which is several dollars less than the typical rents in the traditional central business district.

CB's Schmidt said the Brewers Hill development will appeal to all kinds of tenants because it offers "the advantages of a suburban environment with a distinctly urban character."

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