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DATE News (chronologically)
08/03/10
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IndyCar group at home in Camden Yards warehouse
Baltimore Track
The group bringing an IndyCar race to Baltimore’s city streets next year is moving into the warehouse at Camden Yards after negotiating a deal that gives them a break on rent for the first two years.

Baltimore Racing Development Corp. will take up 2,754 square feet of long-unoccupied office space on the fourth floor of the warehouse that also overlooks part of the route of the street race it is planning. The lease agreement is back loaded, meaning BRD will pay more than three times its first year’s rent the final year of the lease.

The five-year lease was approved on Tuesday by the Maryland Stadium Authority, which owns the building, at its monthly meeting.

Baltimore Racing Development will pay a monthly rent of $8 per square foot, or $22,032 per month the first year. Monthly rent will increase each year to $30 per square foot, or $82,620 per month, by the final year of the agreement. Mike Frenz, the stadium authority’s executive director, said it averages out to $20 per square foot, which is market rate.

“It’s a good deal for both of us,” he said, noting the space, which was last occupied by an architectural firm more than three years ago, had been difficult to rent because of its size.

“We knew their cash flow was pretty limited for the first few years,” Frenz said. “We tried to get double digits [in rent] from them the first year, but we saw that wasn’t going to be possible, so we’re getting it on the back end.”

Jay Davidson, CEO of Baltimore Racing, said the race will cost roughly $11 million each year to run in Baltimore, although he hoped to spread out some of the costs in the first year over the five years the race is expected to be here.

The city’s contract with BRD requires the city to use a $5 million federal grant and $2.75 million borrowed against future state funding to fix streets, sidewalks, street signs and traffic signals along the race route. Construction improvements began this week on Pratt Street.

Davidson said the market also dictated a favorable lease for the company, noting the amount of time the warehouse office space has been vacant, and that Baltimore Racing had been offered free office space this year from partner hotels.

“We feel like they’ve been a good partner to negotiate with, and over the five-year term it is a market-rate lease,” he said.

The race, scheduled for the first weekend in August next year, does not yet have a title sponsor, but Davidson said he is talking to “a number of” of companies about title sponsorship, and one recently visited the Baltimore Convention Center.

“[There has] been very good interest and think we’ll have an announcement soon,” he said.

In other business, the stadium authority reauthorized $200,000 for the Office of Sports Marketing, which includes salary for the office’s one employee — Director of Sports Marketing Terry Hasseltine — and expenses. Since it was founded in 2008, Hasseltine’s office has been instrumental in wooing several events to Maryland, including the IndyCar race and the last two international soccer matches at M&T Bank Stadium. Hasseltine is also involved in keeping Baltimore and Washington, D.C., on the list of cities the United States is including in its bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The agency also voted to spend roughly $450,000 for John Milner & Associates Inc., an East Coast architectural design firm specializing in historic structures, to conduct the consulting and design recommendations for an estimated $4 million in construction improvements to Camden Yards and the Warehouse. The expenditure is subject to approval by the Board of Public Works.

The stadium authority also approved an extension of the Orioles’ contract with concessionaire Aramark through the end of the 2010 baseball season. The financial terms were not disclosed. Daily Record

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