Downtown Baltimore serves as the city’s central business district and seat of the government. Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland. Downtown Baltimore is the 11th-largest downtown in the nation. The area has seen significant office space additions in the past few years to keep up with residential growth and local job creation.
Thirty-five percent of the jobs in Baltimore are within the Central Business District, and more than 119,000 people work here. Most of the city’s skyscrapers are also here, such as the Bank of America building, the M&T Bank Building, the Transamerica Tower, the Baltimore World Trade Center, and the old IBM building. Securing office space in Downtown Baltimore means working alongside businesses such as T. Rowe Price, Under Armour, Legg Mason, PNC, Pandora, and R2i.
Downtown Baltimore Office Space | Lease Data and Trends
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Downtown Baltimore contains 12+ million square feet of office space inventory with more than a quarter-million square feet under development. Right now, a decent number of spaces are available—the district has a total vacancy rate that hovers around 20%.
Overall, the average direct asking rent for offices in Downtown Baltimore is around $24 per square foot. This presents a nearby, cost-friendly alternative to Washington, D.C., where the average office space rents for $60 per square foot (across all building classes).
A little bit more than half of the office spaces in Downtown Baltimore are considered Class A and cost about $26 per square foot to lease. The Class B spaces have average asking rents of around $20 per square foot.
What Our Brokers Say About Downtown Baltimore Office Space for Rent
Mt. Royal Avenue borders Downtown Baltimore to the north; the Inner Harbor borders it to the south; President Street borders it to the east; and Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard borders it to the west. Downtown contains five neighborhoods: Westside, Mount Vernon, City Centre, Inner Harbor, and Camden Yards.
Downtown’s neighborhoods are all known for something different. Notably, Westside houses the Baltimore Convention Center and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, which includes the University of Maryland Health System, the University of Maryland School of Law, and the University of Maryland Biopark.
An influx in investments in this area resulted in the recent development of the Atrium at Market Center, an apartment building. Conversely, Mount Vernon is mostly known for its nightlight and music; it contains the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Lyric Opera House. Camden Yards is mostly known for sports. It’s the home of the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens and has the Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Banks Stadium.
Getting Around Downtown Baltimore
When it comes to transportation, Downtown Baltimore has it all. It’s not only the second-most walkable district in the city and is very bikeable but also has world-class public transportation. The most popular public transportation option is probably the light rail. The light rail has two stops in Downtown Baltimore: one on Lexington Street and one on Baltimore Street. The Metro has several convenient stops downtown, such as Lexington Market, Charles Center, and Shot Tower Station. Other public transportation options include bus, Amtrak, and MARC Train.
As if walking, biking, and public transportation weren’t enough, Downtown Baltimore is also fairly easy to navigate by car; residents in this district have easy access to highways such as I-83, I-695, I-95, 295, and 395. The Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Essex Skypark Airport are both located within the city.
Get to Know Downtown Baltimore
Downtown Baltimore’s five largest industry sectors are healthcare and social assistance; public administration; professional, scientific, and technical services; accommodation and food services; and finance and insurance. About 25% of the working population is part of the healthcare/social assistance sector.
Downtown Baltimore’s tech sector has been growing recently as well; the district’s Core Tech & Innovation generates $830 million in compensation every year. Tech companies such as Planit, Verizon, OrderUp, Mindgrub, and r2Integrated are all in Downtown Baltimore or nearby. Cushman & Wakefield named Baltimore as the #12 Tech City in a report released in 2017.
Don’t stay in the office for lunch every day—look up one Downtown’s interesting restaurants and schedule a business meeting or lunch there for a change in scenery. OpenTable provides the following recommendations: The Capital Grille, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood, Encantada, Morton’s The Steakhouse – Baltimore, and Forno Restaurant & Wine Bar.
Downtown Baltimore History
The city of Baltimore is named after Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert) in the Irish House of Lords. Modern settlers came here as early as the 17th century. In the beginning, Baltimore was just a town and only had sixty lots. From 1770 to 1790, the city experienced a lot of developments that expanded its borders and made it a more attractive place to live. In 1773, Fells Point merged with Baltimore. In 1782, Baltimore’s Town Commissioners drafted a plan to create and pave streets. Then, in 1779, Baltimore became a city.
The decade between 1850 and 1860 was an important time for Downtown Baltimore. In 1851, the Sun Iron Building became one of the first cast-iron structures in both the city and the nation. It opened the door for the construction of 22 more similar buildings Downtown. In recognition of this milestone, the Baltimore Sun reported, “literally, the City of yesterday is not the city of today . . . the dingy edifices that for half a century have stood . . . are one by one being removed, and in their places new and imposing fronts of brown stone or iron present themselves.”
Baltimore grew exponentially in the next several decades, and at the turn of the 20th century, the city’s future looked bright. However, in 1904, Downtown Baltimore vanished in a puff of smoke. A building at the corner of Redwood and Liberty Streets exploded and set nearby buildings on fire. Despite the efforts of firemen from Baltimore and other cities, the fire devastated 140 acres and ruined 1,526 buildings. It took 10 years for Baltimore to rebuild its Downtown. Developers took this tragedy as an opportunity to make the district even better than before.
Downtown Baltimore literally rose from the ashes to become the 11th-largest downtown in the nation. Today, Downtown Baltimore houses more than 43,000 residents and accommodates more than 25 million visitors per year.