Harbor East, formerly called Inner Harbor East, is an up-and-coming mixed-use development in Baltimore, Maryland. The district used to be full of abandoned warehouses left over from the 19th-century industrial boom, but well-placed investments and strategic developments have turned it into the ideal location for modern-day business, upscale hotels, fancy boutiques, and unique residences. Key tenants in Harbor East include the Four Seasons Hotel, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, and the Legg Mason Tower, a 24-story office building that houses asset management firm Legg Mason and the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
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Harbor East makes up the Southeastern portion of the city of Baltimore. Commercial real estate pricing in this area is significantly higher than the overall Baltimore average—the average asking rent hovers around $34 per square foot, while the Baltimore City average is around $24 per square foot. However, the vacancy rates in this area are lower than the Baltimore average—8.5%, compared to the city’s overall 14% average—which showcases the relative demand for office space in this new submarket. Class A spaces are slightly pricier at $35 per square foot, while asking rents for Class B space are much more affordable at $25.50 per square foot. By the end of 2018, the Southeastern district was home to all of Baltimore’s new real estate under construction—just over 377,000 square feet of space.
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What Our Brokers Say About Harbor East Office Space
Harbor East is located just east of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, next to the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River. Harbor East streets and walkways provide easy access to Inner Harbor, and visitors and residents alike can enjoy beautiful views of both the waterfront and the city. Nearby neighborhoods include Fells Point and Little Italy. “The development of Inner Harbor East maximizes the existing history, culture, tradition, and economic health of the Inner Harbor,” an article by the American Institute of Architects says. “The dense urban development uses less land, is more pedestrian-oriented, and creates more value for the existing area.”
Harbor East serves as an ideal location for both big corporations and small businesses. One corporation based here is the Atlas Restaurant Group. The corporation’s director of marketing noted that Harbor East has become an impressive destination for fine dining because of the high concentration of shops and restaurants in the area, the sophisticated locals, and the district’s many community events. John Moore, general manager of the small restaurant the James Joyce Pub, also sings Harbor East’s praises as a great place to do business. “Harbor East is a fabulous place to be,” he said. “It’s developed into an area where we have an incredible selection of hotels, so it’s a big attraction for conventions coming into the city.”
Harbor East is also one of the most accessible neighborhoods in the state; it’s not only easy to navigate but also very pedestrian-friendly. One of the most recent efforts to further increase Harbor East’s connectivity was the opening of the Central Avenue Bridge that provides a pathway to Harbor Point, a neighborhood that’s even newer than Harbor East. Lots of people here get around by car. Interstates 83 and 95 are located conveniently nearby. Additionally, Harbor East has very impressive parking options for a metropolitan area. Choose from parking garages that are open 24/7, metered parking, and valet services. Three of the top public transportation options in Harbor East are the Charm City Circulator, Zipcar, and the Water Taxi. The Charm City Circulator is a free bus service that delivers passengers anywhere in the city. Zipcar is a simple rental car service. The Water Taxi offers a unique and scenic way to travel via the Harbor. Those who need to fly can use the nearby Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Harbor East offers excellent amenities for locals and visitors. Whether lunch-goers are looking for a quick bite to eat or something more sophisticated, this district has plenty of offerings. Charleston is widely considered the best restaurant in Baltimore. Other great restaurants include Ouzo Back Green Kouzina, Grill 700 at Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, and Wit & Wisdom. In 2011, the Four Seasons Baltimore came to Harbor East, and it’s probably the best place to stay in the district. Other fine options include the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites Baltimore. When it comes to shopping, Shopping Row on Aliceanna Street is the best place to go. Find not only well-known brands like White House Black Market and South Moon Under but also boutiques like Handbags in the City, Sassanova, and Urban Chic.
Harbor East History
Baltimore is named for Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert) in the Irish House of Lords. The area was settled as early as the 17th century. Baltimore was just a town until 1779, when it finally became a city.
The Baltimore Waterfront has an interesting history of its own. The area’s proximity to the water unsurprisingly led to its success in shipbuilding and steel industries in the 18th century. The Port of Baltimore became an important center of commerce, and oyster canning grew in popularity as well. An influx of settlers necessitated redevelopment of the area to create enough jobs and places to live. Ultimately, Baltimore became a center for tourism with the addition of popular destinations such as Harborplace and the National Aquarium. Today, the Waterfront features world-class attractions, successful businesses, numerous restaurants, and almost 8,000 hotel rooms. Eventually, mixed-use neighborhoods—such as Harbor East—popped up along the Waterfront.
Harbor East’s individual story is very similar to that of the Waterfront as a whole. Less than 40 years ago in the early 1980s, Harbor East was full of abandoned warehouses and rusty railroad tracks. One writer went so far as to call it an “archaic eyesore.” Today, many see Harbor East as the “brightest jewel in Baltimore’s civic crown.” The district’s impressive strides thus far seem to be a sign of an equally impressive future.
The year 1983 was a turning point for Harbor East. In that year, Baltimore city officials charged a planning team with the task of brainstorming ideas to improve the “Inner Harbor East” area. Their efforts paid off. “It really just comes down to mindful planning,” current Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen commented. “[Harbor East’s developers] were thoughtful, and they didn’t settle.”