Business engagement center leased by TU since 2019 becomes university property just a year after its official opening
Towson University has purchased the historic downtown Towson Armory building that is now home to its business engagement center. The transaction, completed March 2 for $8.6M, will save the university hundreds of thousands of dollars over the term of the lease.
The historic building was renovated by Greenberg Gibbons as part of the larger Towson Row project and opened in 2021. The investment ensures that TU’s business engagement, entrepreneurship and StarTUp Accelerator programming will continue to serve the Greater Baltimore region.
“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. “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. This transaction only means that the 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.”
TU and Greenberg Gibbons have been partners on the Armory project since 2019, when the two entities first entered into a lease agreement for the space. Since then, the historic building was overhauled but its historic touches were preserved to create a business engagement center that is a differentiator for TU and downtown Towson.
“We’re excited for Towson University to take full ownership of the former National Guard Armory Building, home to Towson University’s transformative StarTUp,” said Brian Gibbons, Chairman and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons. ”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. We will continue to work together to make Towson Row a first-class destination for students and the greater Towson community.”
The StarTUp at the Armory is TU’s front door for start-ups, small businesses, as well as our region’s largest corporations. The state-of-the art 26,000 sq. ft. space includes 6,000 sq. ft. of free co-working space and meeting rooms where entrepreneurs and executives can connect with each other and to TU’s programs and people.
The building also includes a coffee shop, currently leased by Starbucks, and a companion outdoor dining space. There is an additional 5,500 sq. ft. of ground floor space with companion outdoor patio along the Chesapeake Avenue side of the building that is available for lease.
In addition to providing community co-working space and serving as a business engagement center for TU, the Armory building and its programming have received national recognition less than a year after opening.
Last September, just a year after the StarTUp at the Armory opened, it was named the top university economic development initiative in North America by the University Economic Development Association (UEDA). The award recognizes universities for engaging multiple community partners to leverage and connect efforts in talent development, innovation and community development.
TU is in the midst of its fourth cohort of the StarTUp Accelerator, an intensive eight-week, cohort-based fellowship where ventures take residency and collaborate to accelerate their ventures. The selected founders take up residency at the StarTUp at the Armory, where they benefit from TU's experts, connections and the space, itself. The third cohort concluded in the fall. Accepted founders receive a $10,000 stipend, plus programming and exposure to successful ventures to help launch their products and services into the market.
The Board of Public Works and the University System of Maryland Board of Regents approved the purchase in fall 2022.