Downtown Baltimore will be keeping its largest fund manager after all. After considering a move that could have taken T. Rowe Price out of downtown, officials at the fund shop have instead decided to extent the company's lease on its Pratt Street headquarters, reports the Baltimore Sun
The paper added that the decision was "greeted with expressions of joy and relief by the city leaders." The lease, which was with Boston properties, was set to expire in 2006. Ray Ritchey, executive vice president of Boston Properties, told the paper that the fund firm signed a letter of intent to extend its lease Tuesday and that he expects a final agreement within two to three months. He expects the agreement to include two five-year renewal options.
The fund firm reportedly did not seek, nor was it granted, and financial concessions by the city to remain in its current location.
After extending the lease, T. Rowe Price will reportedly move an additional 100 workers to its 100 Pratt Street headquarters building and expand it occupancy to a ninth floor. The fund firm currently employs 1,000 workers across eight floors in the building.
James A.C. Kennedy, a director who heads Price's equity division, told the local paper that T. Rowe Price had considered moving the employees in downtown Baltimore to Owings Mills, where the fund firm already occupies four buildings on a 72 acre campus. It also considered other locations in downtown Baltimore.
Most ambitiously, the fund firm also mulled over building a new headquarters in downtown Baltimore. Those plans progressed far enough for the firm to hire Baltimore architects RTKL Associates to design plans of the possible headquarters overlooking the Inner Harbor. That building would have been constructed where a parking lot on Conway at Light streets now exists. The location had been the site of a McCormack Spice factory.
Kennedy told the paper that T. Rowe decided to remain in its current space for a number of reasons. High on the list was the site's proximity to the downtown Amtrak station (a feature that the new headquarters would have shared) and the airport along with many employees' desire to avoid a commute to Owings Mills. The current space also meets the firm's need for a large floor plan.
Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief
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