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Local News

Black-Owned Bank to Finance Redesign of Baltimore Arena

Oak View Group breaks ground on the $200M renovations to transform the Baltimore Arena.


The National Black Bank Foundation (NBBF) announced Thursday that a Baltimore-based Black-owned bank is participating in the multi-million dollar syndicated loan to reimagine the iconic Baltimore Arena into a world-class sports and entertainment venue.

Harbor Bank of Maryland, an FDIC-designated Minority Depository Institution (MDI) and State of Maryland chartered commercial bank that has provided capital to the Greater Baltimore Market since 1982, will provide financing alongside syndicate leader Truist Bank to Oak View Group (OVG) for its historic renovation of the Arena. OVG, the global venue development, advisory, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, will fund the Arena's total reconstruction cost in exchange for a long-term lease of the facility.

"It would have been unthinkable only five years ago that a Black-owned bank would be participating in a major deal to redesign an 11,000-seat stadium in whose shadow it sits," NBBF co-founder Brandon Comer said. "But over the last two years, which have seen deals with major professional sports teams and leagues as well as other major construction projects, we've proven to the market that Black banks can provide competitive rates and excellent service."

Habor's participation in the transaction will diversify the bank’s portfolio while raising its capital cushion through fees generated by the loan and interest income on the property. This expanded capital capacity will allow the bank to underwrite new home and small business loans to local families who struggle to obtain approval from major commercial banks.

“As a local bank headquartered steps away from the Arena, we are delighted to participate in this transaction and appreciate the importance of continued targeted investment in downtown Baltimore,” John Lewis, President, the Harbor Bank of Maryland, said.

The newly-refreshed Arena will allow Baltimore to compete for more events, driving significant economic activity for the local economy. The project is anticipated to create 500 construction jobs. Committed to prioritizing participation from small, local, and diverse businesses throughout the construction process, OVG has set a goal to award 27% and 10% of construction subcontracts to Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Women's Business Enterprises (WBE), respectively.

“It’s important to OVG that we continue to find equitable ways to fund our projects with diverse partners from the communities we do business in,” said Francesca Bodie, president of business development, Oak View Group. “It’s our hope this level of economic engagement helps further close the racial wealth gap while strengthening, supporting, and building up the community so there are greater opportunities for all.”