TU transforming Armory into hub for partnership & connection

Towson University has entered into a long-term lease agreement at the former Maryland National Guard building in uptown Towson.

By Sean Welsh on March 29, 2019

Towson University takes another step in President Kim Schatzel's Together Towson initiative by utilizing a unique uptown Towson space to serve as the new “front door” to the university. In doing so, TU continues forward in its role as a major anchor institution and economic-driver in Great Baltimore.

The former Maryland National Guard Armory building will serve as the home for a number of programs and offices focused on community engagement and outreach, entrepreneurship, continuing education and workforce development. Following our anchor scan strategy and aligned with the BTU Presidential Priority, this vibrant and public-focused space will create new engagement opportunities for regional leaders to connect, convene, and collaborate alongside TU’s faculty, staff, and students.

The building adjoins more than 1 million square feet of new development at Towson Row, the $350 million mixed-use destination and new gateway to downtown Towson. TU, in partnership with Towson Row developer Greenberg Gibbons, plans to begin utilizing the space in 2020, after approximately a year of interior remodeling is complete.

“The Armory building gives TU a true home in the bustling, uptown area of our county seat,” President Schatzel said. “I’m excited to see new partnerships created and existing partnerships re-energized as critical conversations for our region unfold inside the walls of this historic space. Pulling together the assets of our university to support the community, we see the armory building as a problem-solving space.”

The TU campus and surrounding community will have opportunities over the next year — as the space is converted from its prior use by the National Guard — to add their voices as the vision for the space, which will have a publicly-focused use, becomes clearer.

Members of the Baltimore-Towson University (BTU) team will lead the vision-creation, with plans to have support staff for The TU Incubator and Office of Partnerships and Outreach utilizing some of the dedicated space. Other TU- and community-oriented events may be held in the building, which will maintain a very open space design in its new use. 

“I applaud Dr. Schatzel for her vision and I look forward to having the Towson University Incubator as a neighbor,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “By expanding its reach into the downtown core, Towson University is demonstrating its role as an anchor institution by spurring economic development while creating a sense of place and community.”

Together Towson was announced by President Schatzel in 2018 as an initiative designed to strengthen and support connections between Towson University and the Towson community. 

The armory features more than 21,000 square feet of space in a unique building dating back to 1933. The property features an open floor plan and high ceilings. The building is adjacent to Baltimore County government headquarters. In addition to Towson University space, developers have planned space in the building for a café or coffee shop.

Rendering of the Armory building
A rendering by Greenberg Gibbons of what some renovations to the interior of the former Armory building might look like.

The Armory building adjoins the Greenberg Gibbons and Caves Valley Partners development at Towson Row. Plans for the project call for more than 80,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 150,000 square feet of offices, as well as student housing, luxury apartments and a hotel on the site.

“We are excited to partner with Towson University for the adaptive reuse of the Armory building,” said Brian Gibbons, chairman and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons. “Towson Row and the Armory are a catalyst for the transformation of Towson and will create a new heartbeat in the community and Baltimore County.”

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland and BTU-Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore.