Federal Reserve Building updates security, seeks tenants

Andrew Cannarsa
There might be an active construction crew and a “Lease” sign outside, but the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Baltimore branch isn’t going anywhere.

Construction crews have been working this summer on a new security fence to surround the 291,000-square-foot property on South Sharp Street just a few blocks from downtown Baltimore.

The security update came at the order of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors.

“We’re making sure we’re meeting the board’s security requirements,” said Karen Brooks, assistant vice president of the Baltimore branch. “We expect to have the new permanent fencing completed by November.”

A temporary long fence also surrounds the construction zone. The building’s owners have met with the Otterbein community during the construction process, said Lesley Mason, spokeswoman for the Baltimore branch.

“We understand the temporary fencing is a little bit awkward,” Mason said. “We all want to done with the work, because it affects our employees.”

The building is also in the process of attracting new office tenants. The Federal Reserve this past year announced it would end check operations at Richmond’s Baltimore branch. The branch’s check operation will close in March 2009 and affect about 100 employees, who have worked with the Federal Reserve to prepare for their job transition, Brooks said. “With checks volume down so rapidly, we no longer need so many check sites.”

Baltimore’s MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services is leasing the building. About 103,000 square feet of space are available, with listed rents of $17.30 per square foot or $22.30 per square foot, said MacKenzie.

“We’re looking for companies that will be good partners with us. They’ll probably appreciate the updated security measures as well,” Brooks said.
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