Our Place in History



Tracing the history of The Rotunda begins in the 1800s when it was part of the Mount Pleasant tract (not to be confused with Mankin’s mansion of the same name). It was home to the Clarke family, who built the buildings on the property known as the “Beaumont Estate.”



Maryland Casualty Company’s business campus included impressive amenities—a clubhouse with a dining room, a 1,500-seat auditorium, landscaped park, gardens, tennis courts and a baseball diamond. The idea was to provide its workers with an idyllic business campus removed from downtown’s hustle-and-bustle. The H-shaped building now known as The Rotunda was the company’s administration building. Its distinctive bell tower and clock was a landmark of the Hampden community.

For more than 40 years, Maryland Casualty Company happily existed on its Hampden campus, but by 1969, the Maryland Casualty Company outgrew the four-story Rotunda building. The company considered demolishing the iconic building in 1969 and replacing it with a large office building, but developer Bernard Manekin convinced the company to turn it into retail and office space.



In 1973 after Maryland Casualty vacated the building, the property became Baltimore’s first adaptive reuse project including office space and a shopping mall with 40,000 additional square feet added. The building was christened The Rotunda. The Rotunda opened with several retailers including a Giant grocery store, Rite Aid, Horn and Horn Cafeteria, the Bead, Tomlinson Craft Collection, Gordon’s Booksellers, Rotunda Cinematheque and more. In 2005, the property was sold to New Jersey-based developer Hekemian and Company, which began planning a mixed-use redevelopment project to transform the historic location into an upscale residential and commercial campus.




In 2013, Hekemian broke ground, completing the renovation in 2016, which added new ground-level retail featuring Mom’s Organic Market (its first Baltimore City store), adding the Space Telescope Science Institute as the anchor of The Rotunda’s Offices and opening the ICON Residences at The Rotunda.



The Rotunda was acquired by MCB Real Estate in late 2022, which began renovating, elevating, and enhancing the historic property, making it the place in Baltimore to live, work and play.

Credits: Maryland Center for History and Culture, Maryland Historical Society and Explore.BaltimoreHeritage.org

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