By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
Just months after it bought its Tide Point headquarters for $58 million, Under Armour Inc., the South Baltimore sportswear maker, wants to double the size of the Locust Point complex. It plans to add 400,000 square feet, starting with a 20,000-square-foot retail store the company hopes to open in 2013. The business park is at 1000-1050 Hull St. overlooking the Inner Harbor.
In 2010, Under Armour revenue hit $1.06 billion, up 24 percent from sales in the previous year. The company is growing so fast that the expansion is necessary in order to keep future new jobs in the city.
Under Armour plans to build its retail location first, as part of an 80,000-square-foot initial expansion. The store would occupy the first floor, an archive museum would be situated on the second floor, there would be 40,000 square feet of office space on the third floor and two parking levels would be situated below grade. Additional plans call for a new city park, employee housing, a walking trail from Tide Point to Fort McHenry, a pedestrian bridge over nearby railroad tracks and a new community pier, for closer water taxi access to the company headquarters. The project’s architect is Ayers Saint Gross.
As the company grows, $150 million will be spent on a new office building, another parking garage and an additional 120,000 square feet of office space. To help finance some of the work, the company is weighing the benefits of a financial aid program called Tax Increment Financing, already in place for neighborhood development.
Tide Point is a planned unit development area (PUD). The designation gives developers the ability to build more than what ordinary city zoning allows. The company would be able to develop the business campus along the lines of its bigger rival Nike.
While many Locust Point residents were happy with Under Armour’s attempt to grow jobs in the city, some expressed their concerns over the speed at which the project was moving, traffic implications and the size of a planned 20,000 square foot retail store. Under Armour executives must reach an agreement with Locust Point neighbors by December if they are to start work in January 2012.