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Towson University is turning an armory into a community hub

The university is looking to provide a home for its work supporting the Greater Baltimore community. Entrepreneurship will be one of the key focuses for the space, which will house staff from the TU Incubator.

A rendering showing a potential look for Towson University's new community space at an old armory. (Rendering provided by Greenberg Gibbons)

Towson University aims to open a new space that its president said will serve as a “front door” to the community next year.

The Maryland National Guard Armory will be transformed into the home of the university’s public-facing programs, including entrepreneurship and workforce development, TU President Kim Schatzel announced on Friday.

Located on Washington Avenue near the center of the Baltimore County seat, the 21,000-square-foot building dates to 1933. It has an open floor plan and high ceilings. With the new use, Towson is aiming to deepen ties with the surrounding community.

“The Armory building gives TU a true home in the bustling, uptown area of our county seat,” Schatzel said. “I’m excited to see new partnerships created and existing partnerships re-energized as critical conversations for our region unfold inside the walls of this historic space. Pulling together the assets of our university to support the community, we see the armory building as a problem-solving space.”

The university is working on the effort with Greenberg Gibbons, a developer that’s also a partner on the adjacent Towson Row project, which will include restaurants and retail, offices, student housing and a hotel. It’s also located next to Baltimore County government offices.

Within the Armory, the goal is to keep the current open-design floor plan, and Greenberg Gibbons is setting aside space to add a cafe or coffee shop.

They aim to begin using the space in 2020. In announcing the project, TU is also aiming to kick off a period of community conversations around its new uses.

Initial plans include space for staff from TU Incubator, the York Road space that supports startups. The Office of Partnerships and Outreach, which serves as a link between the university and Greater Baltimore community, will also have space. It may also serve as a space for events. More specifics will be announced as the space is being developed, per the university.

“I applaud Dr. Schatzel for her vision and I look forward to having the Towson University Incubator as a neighbor,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “By expanding its reach into the downtown core, Towson University is demonstrating its role as an anchor institution by spurring economic development while creating a sense of place and community.”

Companies: Towson University

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