By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief
After several years of leasing, Towson University is now the owner of the Armory building in Uptown, Towson, home entrepreneurial hub, the university announced Friday.
Towson began leasing the 27,416-square-foot property, located at 307 Washington Ave., in 2019. It opened StarTUp, its small business accelerator, and free public working space in 2021. The purchase was finalized on March 2 and sold for $8.6 million, the university said.
The building was assessed at $4.5 million in July 2022, according to state property data. A private firm assessed the building at $8.6 million, another appraised the building at $8.7 million, according to documents from an October Maryland Board of Public works meeting.
It received permission to purchase the space from the Board of Public Works in October 2022. The school’s governing body, the University System of Maryland, approved the purchase in September.
“This is an historic day for Towson University, which now owns two buildings in downtown Towson that only further enhance our role as an anchor institution for Greater Baltimore and our state,” Interim President Melanie Perreault said in a press release.
By purchasing the building, Towson avoided a rent increase of 10% and 11% during years six and 11 of its previous 15-year agreement, a Public Works document states. The university previously budgeted $312,000 annually for the building’s operating expenses, which is expected to increase to $338,000 annually now that the school owns the building.
Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, a real estate development company in Owings Mills, previously owned the building.
“We’re excited for Towson University to take full ownership of the former National Guard Armory Building, home to Towson University’s transformative StarTUp,” Brian Gibbons, chairman and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons, said in the release. “Since forming our partnership over 4 years ago, we’ve had an outstanding relationship and shared vision to create this special incubator space for innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration between the university and the community.”
Before Towson, the building was occupied by the Maryland National Guard. The building also includes an additional 5,500 square-feet space with an outdoor patio that is available for lease, the university said.
In addition to the entrepreneurial programs and co-working space, the Armory is across the street from the university’s off-campus office space at 401 Washington Ave. The Armory also houses a Starbucks, which the university will lease.
In October, StarTUp was named the top economic initiative in North America by the University Economic Development Association.
“The Armory has proven to be an asset for TU and the downtown Towson community in just 17 months since we officially opened its doors,” Perreault said. “This transaction only means that impact and the partnerships that are created here will last for generations to come. We thank our state partners for their support of this strategic acquisition.”
Editors note: this story has been updated to clarify that while the state appraised the building at $4.5 million in 2022, two private firms appraised the building to be worth more than $8 million.