The long-vacant and deteriorating 60,000 sq. ft. warehouse facility is transforming into a technology hub, featuring a local food cooperative, event and community gathering spaces, co-working office space, and a commercial business incubator kitchen. The renovation is led by Cross Street Partners, a frequent borrower of Reinvestment Fund that has a history of delivering transformative historic reuse projects, in partnership with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.
Located just south of the historic downtown of Cambridge, the reimagined Packing House project brings new life to Pine Street, housing several commercial tenants and event spaces. Among them:
• Blue Oyster Environmental, a prominent local oyster company, is creating a new regional processing and packaging center to improve the capacity for at least 10 oyster farmers and others in the oyster industry using oyster aquaculture. The new co-op provides space for the farmers to clean, package, and market their oysters, and it creates a new distribution network for their goods to be sold to restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, etc. The Packing House also will have an oyster bar and shop for fresh oysters for take-out or to enjoy on site. The company anticipates creating 50 new permanent jobs through this venture.
• Maryland State Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Eastern Shore office will be headquartered in the Packing House. Ongoing programming will focus on workforce development, youth opportunity training, job training for residents, and small business development opportunities. In partnership with the Eastern Shore Habitat for Humanity, DHCD also will provide space for homeowner training and counseling workshops.
• Atrium Event Space, operated and managed by the Eastern Shore and Land Conservancy, will serve as overflow space for a neighboring conference center, as well as a community oriented venue for community groups and special events.
• MERGE, a flexible, shared-office space designed for innovators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Located in the delightfully resurrected Phillips Packing House, it offers private individual offices, conference rooms, and open seating in a modern, comfortable atmosphere. Memberships include networking opportunities, after-hours programming, Class A business services, and shared amenities all within a secure environment with friendly, concierge service. With plenty of parking and access to amazing entertainment spaces, working in MERGE provides members the ability to “hang a shingle” and meet with clients without the high overhead of a traditional office building.
The project will also include a shared-use commercial kitchen designed to empower, elevate and establish a thriving food entrepreneur community. The space will be run by a local Black female entrepreneur, the creator of the food aggregation and delivery service, Beat the Rush Delivery. Through a focus on small startup entrepreneurs seeking to scale out of home kitchens, and an intentional outreach to the local
community, particularly BIPOC and women-led companies, the project expects to achieve diverse
participation in this space.
In addition, the building has four leasable spaces available for restaurant/retail, office use and a manufacturing space.
The project is high mission for Reinvestment Fund, based on job creation and entrepreneurship, neighborhood stability, and the catalytic and environmental impact.