Ckori Jones and Ashref Elshazli
Wellness Center concept with juice bar leases nearly half the available space and will occupy first floor and basement area, with opening expected to occur this August
After recently completing more than $500,000 worth of renovations on The SEYA Building in Highlandtown, Brocar Properties has signed its inaugural tenant at the three-story 12,000 square foot building located at 3301 Eastern Avenue. The SEYA CrossFit and Wellness Center has leased approximately 5000 square feet of space and will occupy the first floor and basement area of the building, with the opening of the concept expected to occur this August. The SEYA Building was purchased last year by Brocar Properties, a residential and commercial real estate investment firm owned by entrepreneurs Ckori Jones and Ashref Elshazli. Herbert Burgunder III, Member, Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law), represented the company in the building acquisition.
Named for the South East Youth Academy, a community teen center formerly housed in the structure, Brocar Properties initiated a comprehensive renovation of the exterior façade, closed window openings that have been present in the building for more than ten years, created a porch area on the second floor that restored the building to its original form, installed new HVAC and lighting systems and constructed a new grand entrance.
“Eastern Avenue reminds us of the H Street Corridor in Washington, D.C. with the presence of prime retail and major development projects within close proximity, and we were looking for an ownership opportunity to invest in,” explained Ashref Elshazli, who joined Jones’s residential renovation company nearly four years ago to establish an acquisition division. “We set our sights initially on the Haussner’s Building because, in conjunction with The SEYA Building, these are the two flagship structures in Highlandtown, offer the most amount of potential and they set the tone regarding future development plans. We intend to be the pioneers leading the emerging renaissance of this section of the city.”
The SEYA CrossFit and Wellness Center will be partially contained in 3301 Eastern Avenue as well as in the adjacent building at 3311 Eastern Avenue. The combination concept, owned by Mimi Washington and Luke Espe, a 12 Labours founder and multi-year CrossFit Games athlete, will offer services including cryotherapy, hydrotherapy, massage, acupuncture and yoga. All of these amenities, including a juice bar, will be contained within The SEYA Building, with the CrossFit operation located next door. Approximately fifteen people will be employed at the Wellness Center.
“We consider Highlandtown the up and coming area of Baltimore City and wanted to help lead this effort, rather than opening a location in a more established area where we would be a follower,” Washington explained. “With the combined experience between Luke and myself, we intend to become a destination in Highlandtown and leverage the outstanding demographics offered in nearby Canton and Fells Point.”
After initially focusing on residential renovation projects, the Clinton, Maryland-based Brocar Properties pivoted to acquiring commercial buildings, with the company also purchasing 3300 Keswick Avenue in Hampden. “Highlandtown was a natural entry point in Baltimore City as the area is manageable and offers smaller, but also extremely attractive, opportunities for commercial buildings.”
“Ash and Ckori form a high-energy team and they are extremely motivated to identify additional opportunities in the Baltimore-Washington region that match their investment and development profile,” stated Herbert Burgunder III, Member, Pessin Katz Law. “They have demonstrated a strong track record of success, and their interest to improve and re-energize this section of Baltimore City will positively impact many business owners and residents.”
NW2 Engineers, based in Baltimore, was the architect/design firm for this renovation project. The prime contractor was Washington, D.C.-based Magnum Builders and Itiel Construction was the general contractor.
Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law) is the eleventh largest law firm in the Baltimore area and has been serving clients for close to thirty years. PK Law maintains full-service offices in Towson, Columbia, and Bel Air and is comprised of more than 60 lawyers, paralegals and law clerks. Practice areas include corporate and business law, real estate and zoning, education law, estate planning, elder law, labor and employment, litigation, insurance law and medical malpractice defense. For additional information, visit www.PKLaw.com