November 8, 2021
OceanFirst Financial Corp has taken 3,000 square feet at Stadium Square as the company embarks on an expansion in Baltimore and across Maryland.
The space will be occupied by market president Tom Crawford and his team of seven commercial bankers, serving as OceanFirst Bank's primary office location in Baltimore. Crawford and the other bankers came to Toms River, New Jersey-based OceanFirst from BBVA Compass earlier thisyear to lead the local commercial lending effort.
Executives of fast-growing OceanFirst (NASDAQ: OCFC) said recently they see a billion-dollar opportunity in Greater Baltimore. The bank is also setto enter the retail market in Maryland and D.C. with the $186 million acquisition of Salisbury, Maryland-based Partners Bancorp.
Crawford said having an office in Baltimore is consistent with OceanFirst's "community bank-feel" and desire to provide "close, attentive service" to customers. Bychoosing Stadium Square, OceanFirst will be located near M&T Bank Stadium and Federal Hill, and a short drive from Baltimore's central business district. Crawford had previously said he wanted to locate "in the middle of things" near accountants, lawyers and corporate headquarters.
OceanFirst will be located in the 72,000-square-foot office building at 145 W. Ostend St. that is anchored by Bethesda-based Clark Construction Group. The building was developed by Caves Valley Partners. Investment firm Janney Montgomery Scott is also a tenant.
"We wanted to be in a community where we could help with the identity of that community," Crawford said. "It's a little bit of pioneering. I think we're with some other local businesses where we're opening this new market, if you will, and I think filling in a really important place between the stadiums and Federal Hill, which is a favorite neighborhood of Baltimore."
OceanFirst was attracted to the location because of Caves Valley's future development plans and "hopes to be part of that," Crawford said. As the bank continues to grow and add more employees in Baltimore, Crawford said OceanFirst will have an opportunity in the future to take an entire floor in one of the new additional buildings being built as part of the Stadium Square project.
The ability to move into the new space quickly also played a role in the decision to pick Stadium Square. Despite the move to hybrid or all-remote working environment sat some companies, Crawford said he still sees reasons for people to work together in an office.
"With everything that we have been through, we wanted to get into an office and be productive," Crawford said. "We do a lot of team-building and strategizing as a team, and it really works best when you're all in the same space."
Stadium Square broke ground in 2015, with plans to develop 300,000 square feet of office space and about 70,000 square feet of new retail. Future phases of the development will consist of a large-scale parking garage and another office building nearby off Cross and Ostend Streets.
Caves Valley Partners sold a chunk of the $275 million development to Miami-based Lennar Corp. for a new apartment complex during the summer.