After tough 2015, Baltimore rebounds

The $60-million Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is set to open in March and will be managed by Montage Hotels & Resorts. (Sagamore Pendry Baltimore)

Charm City saw a rough 2015 when riots over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody caused many conventions to lose attendees and groups to pull business from the city. During this same year, many hotels opened in the market, which also affected performance.

But Baltimore experienced a rebound last year, said Stephen R. Hennis, vice president of consulting and analytics at STR.

“The city rebounded well in 2016 and regained most of the demand base,” Hennis said. “Nevertheless, occupancy for downtown Baltimore was 67 percent in 2016, which is a high occupancy for that submarket but low in comparison to most other major urban markets in the mid-Atlantic/Northeast region.”

As of the end of 2016, Baltimore’s average daily rate was up 1.3 percent to $115.72, according to STR data. Revenue per available room was up 2.3 percent to $78.42. By comparison, year-to-date 2015 saw occupancy fall 0.8 percent to 67.1 percent; ADR was up 1.3 percent to $114.26; and RevPAR increased 0.5 percent to $76.64.

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Hennis said that developers are focusing mainly on limited-service hotels in the Baltimore market. The exceptions, he said, are plans for a Pendry and Delta hotel downtown, “both of which are fairly small in size.”

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According to STR, the Baltimore market currently has 274 hotels with 33,667 rooms open. There are 25 hotels with 3,137 rooms under contract for the market. Of those in the pipeline, 10 hotels with 1,113 rooms are under construction.

Other plans for new hotels in the market include:

  • Plans for a new hotel on the campus of West Baltimore’s University of Maryland BioPark are in the works. The hotel is expected to be built on the 800 block of West Baltimore Street, near the $200-million Maryland Proton Treatment Center, which opened in 2016.
  • A new office building and an eight-story, 119-room hotel are planned for McHenry Row in Baltimore from 28 Walker Development. The hotel will be a Courtyard by Marriott.
  • A 14-story Hilton Garden Inn on Calvert Street in downtown Baltimore will open in June 2018.
  • A Hampton Inn by Hilton is being constructed near the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center from developer and manager Cherry Cove Group. It is planned to open in 2018 and will be five stories and have 115 rooms.
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What’s Next?

Conventions are back on the drawing board for Baltimore as it recovers from 2015 woes.

Baltimore’s convention and visitors bureau, Visit Baltimore, created a campaign to convince the city to build a new and larger convention center. Meanwhile, the state is exploring a $600-million expansion that would double the size of the center and include a new hotel.

Additionally, Baltimore’s City Council is targeting groups looking to move their conferences and meetings from North Carolina due to House Bill 2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” which restricts access restrooms and other gender-segregated facilities based on biological gender.

As for where Baltimore is headed when it comes to hotel investment, Hennis said he’s not certain.

“It honestly doesn’t come up much as a target market for investors when I speak with them,” he said. “Charlotte and (Philadelphia), which are two of the closets in terms of proximity and size, are more often a topic of discussion.”

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