Tom Bozzuto’s roots—both personal and professional—are firmly planted in Baltimore.
The developer has lived in Charm City for more than 44 years, and his business encompasses the housing spectrum from for-rent luxury apartments to for-sale eco-friendly houses.
“Years after we started the company, we recognized that as a business we either wanted to stay very small or, if we wanted to grow and thrive, then we had to do one of two things,” Bozzuto recalls. “We either had to become a national apartment company or we had to become a diversified company within our markets. We decided to become a diversified company that developed apartments and built homes.”
What strikes a chord with Bozzuto is that Baltimore is trying to rise above its downtrodden reputation. And his company, The Bozzuto Group, is working with city leaders to fight that battle by developing housing on all fronts.
“To have the opportunity to participate, even in a small way, in the redevelopment of this city is something we are very proud of,” he says.
The firm built Union Wharf as the city’s Fells Point neighborhood emerged as a popular social destination. The luxury apartments helped shape the area by providing high-end housing close to the epicenter of local bars and restaurants. The popularity of the market-rate community exceeded expectations and is 93 percent occupied since opening in June 2013.
The company also does outside work on the construction side as a third-party general contractor, adding yet another facet to its cover-all business plan. It’s currently working on The Rotunda, a 379-unit luxury apartment building, slated to open in March 2015, that will include retail space and help propel the development of Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. In addition to being an apartment giant, in its 26 years Bozzuto has built more than 400 single-family homes, over 650 townhomes, and more than 2,700 condos. Another Baltimore project, Towson Green, offers three floor plans of townhouses ranging in size from 1,607 square feet to 2,030 square feet, priced from the low $300,000s to the upper $500,000s.
“We’re not only doing attractive market-rate properties like the Towson Green property, but we’re also working with the city on a more affordable homes community in the Uplands neighborhood in west Baltimore,” Bozzuto says. “That’s real diversification.”
While Baltimore is close to Bozzuto’s heart, his company operates in the same focused, highly involved manner in each of the cities it builds in. Having deeply diversified footprints in specific cities gives the firm a competitive edge. The model is applicable to any city as long as the company is willing to pump resources into all facets of the community, Bozzuto says.
“There were times when our home building operation was the most profitable part of our business, and frankly, it supported and helped finance the growth of our construction and management company,” he says. “Conversely, the management and construction company has helped carry the home building company.”