Article by: Melody Simmons, Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal
The Agora Cos. has acquired another historic property in Mount Vernon for its expanding workforce.
The Baltimore-based media company recently purchased 1030 N. Charles St. for $5.75 million. It will be the company's 15th office location in Mount Vernon.
The city's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation recently approved plans to replace and install several new windows in the historic three-story building and landscape the parking lot. The work will also include gutting the interiors and refitting them with new office space.
1030 N. Charles St. totals about 50,000 square feet and is located in the Mount Vernon Historic District, an area of the city currently undergoing several other redevelopments on the Charles Street corridor that residents are hailing as a much-needed community revitalization. Plans are also underway for a massive redevelopment of Penn Station just to the north with a $90 million investment by Amtrak for new interiors and train platforms.
The upgrades will be made as Agora prepares to expand further in the midtown community.
Agora produces and markets more than 300 financial, health and lifestyle publications a year. It started small in Washington, D.C. in 1978 and moved to Baltimore later that year. Agora moved into a single Mount Vernon rowhouse in 1994 and has expanded throughout the neighborhood since then. Today, there are more than 2,000 U.S. employees.
"This project is not just about accommodating our growth," said Allison Benson O'Brien, a spokeswoman for Agora. "We consider this an opportunity to continue our contribution to the greater beauty of Mount Vernon. We intend to celebrate and enhance the historic richness of the building. You’ll also see some impressive state-of-the-art design elements and amenities."
The plans presented to CHAP on Aug. 13 show the addition of several windows to the existing L-shaped building and landscaping to add trees and green space to the half-acre lot. Architect Jim Suttner of Rohrer Studios is the lead designer on the project, where 300 Agora workers are expected to move in next summer.
Agora publications reach more than 4 million readers in the U.S. and internationally each year, according to its website. Ten of the company's current office properties are in historic structures, O'Brien said.