Bravo Health Plans Expansion To Fit 200 More Workers

July 11, 2009|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

Baltimore-based Bravo Health Inc. will expand its Brewers Hill headquarters with room to grow by more than 200 jobs, company officials said Friday.

The company now employs 570 people in the office and retail complex on O'Donnell Street in Southeast Baltimore, a redevelopment of two former breweries.

Bravo signed a 10-year lease with owner Obrecht Commercial Real Estate for more than 117,000 square feet, said Wells Obrecht, president of Obrecht Commercial. That space includes the current headquarters and operations center in three buildings and 30,000 square feet in the Gunther Bottle Building, which now has stores such as Five Guys fronting Boston Street.

Bravo, which offers Medicare Advantage plans to more than 250,000 members in Washington, D.C., and four states including Maryland, has seen steady growth during the past three years, and has expanded from fewer than 300 employees. And that pace is expected to continue, company spokeswoman Lisa Trapani said.

"This [Brewers Hill] expansion is bringing in much-needed space for the current staff and also allows for growth," Trapani said.

Besides retaining a key tenant on Friday, Brewers Hill also underwent a change in ownership, with Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse selling its share of the project to partner Obrecht Commercial, Wells Obrecht said. He did not say how much of a share his company acquired or the purchase price.

As partners, the developers had transformed four key buildings in the former Gunther and National brewery complexes into 450,000 square feet of office and retail space that is now 99 percent leased and part of a $120 million multiphase project.

Struever, which has struggled with mounting debt, has been focusing on completing or selling interests in projects. The developer had put its Tide Point headquarters complex in Locust Point up for sale and in May was replaced as a lead developer on the $1.4 billion State Center in Midtown Baltimore.

The ownership change at Brewers Hill will not affect plans for the 27-acre site east of South Conkling Street, Wells Obrecht said Friday. His company plans to start renovating an additional building, the main Gunther Brewery on Conkling Street, in January for use as offices, shops and apartments.

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