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Hampstead, MD – Tuesday, December 21
Blue Ocean, a real estate investment and asset management first headquartered in Reisterstown, Maryland, through affiliate entity, Panther Real Estate LLC., successfully closed on the acquisition of ‘The Panther’ – the former North Carroll County High School.
The school was originally built in 1956 and expanded in 1973 to accommodate 1,800 junior and high school students from Hampstead and Manchester. The last class to attend North Carroll High School was 2016. The 50 acre property is improved by several multi-purpose fields, sports courts, and just under 300,000 square feet of multi-purpose space, including several gymnasiums and an 850 seat performing arts venue.
Chesapeake Real Estate Group, spearheaded by the efforts of Matt Laraway, Christopher Murray, and Jim Lighthizer, were heavily involved in the process and orginally contracted to purchase the school property. During the contract period, Chesapeake worked diligently with local stakeholders and County officials to create a development plan that would ultimately serve the recreational needs of the community, as well as, the greater Baltimore and Carroll County areas. Out of these efforts, ‘The Panther’ concept was born.
Planning continued for several years before Jonathan Ehrenfeld, CEO of Blue Ocean, became involved in the project alongside Athan Sunderland of the Capital Sports Group. Ehrenfeld owns and operates several large sports complexes in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio, including the largest indoor sports facility in North America – Spire Academy in Geneva, Ohio. Sunderland has consulted for Ehrenfeld on these projects previously, and this opportunity was a natural fit for them to continue their partnership.
For the last decade and beyond, the Baltimore Metropolitan Area has not been able to meet the consistently growing demand for youth sports and recreational facilities. With a growing population and aging and underfunded sports complexes, the area is in need of quality space for youth sports. Privately owned, the Panther will provide fields, courts, as well as a center for the performing arts.
“Chesapeake Real Estate Group played an integral role in maintaining the campus and assuring it’s stay in the community. We want to support and expand the community’s needs for suitable sports and arts facilities; and are committed to preserving this important asset for the needs of the community. We believe sports play an important role in the development of our youth; being involved in something that is team oriented, greater than any one individual. The unique life-lessons learned through required sacrifice, commitment, and investment build a unique individual and work ethic that can move their community forward. That has inspired us since our own childhood,” stated Ehrenfeld.
The leadership team noted that they are looking for ways to reinforce and grow usage on the campus and will take time to properly identify and build upon those areas of opportunity. More information on the redevelopment of the site will be forthcoming in 2022.
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