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'What was there to say no to': Free office space in downtown Baltimore

Posted at 5:32 PM, Apr 14, 2023

BALTIMORE — "Who would've thought I would be sitting here with a view of Camden Yards right outside of my window," David Marshall said.

It's not just the view for Marshall, he says the opportunity to have 100 Light Street in downtown Baltimore as his business address has been a blessing.

"I came. I looked at it. What was there to say no to," Marshall said.

His business, Journey to Josiah, was just getting off the ground.

It's a consulting firm for people looking to adopt. It was born out of the adoption of his son Josiah.

"When I told my story about my adoption process it seemed like the flood gates open. I help people avoid the pitfalls and problems associated with the adoption process," Marshall explained.

He's one of 29 small businesses thrilled to have this office space for free!

Down the hall, you'll find Brendan McCluskey, President of Trident Builders.

"By virtue of moving here it kind of changed the game for Trident. We are able to punch and fight in a weight class that we weren't able to before," McCluskey said.

McCluskey and the other businesses here are benefiting from the Light of Baltimore Incubator at Baker Donelson.

"We're working on a six and a half million-dollar design, building a facility that is cutting edge, that is breaking new boundaries. I never would have gotten that knock on the door, if that door wasn't right behind you," McCluskey said.

Baker Donelson, a national law firm, is partnering with Goldman Sachs, 10,000 Small Businesses Baltimore and Johns Hopkins by donating their entire 23rd floor. They downsized during the pandemic and decided to put the space to good use.

"Kind of as an office we decided we want to double down in downtown Baltimore and contribute to its growth and success, and so instead of just releasing or sub-letting the floor to somebody else we thought we'd give back and do something really useful," Jennifer Curry from Baker Donelson said.

The Incubator opened in October 2022. The space provides another avenue to help the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses initiative help Baltimore.

"It has free printing, free Wi-Fi. We have six conference rooms, 40-person training rooms where they can host sessions, trainings. We also offer Baker Donelson, they provide us with monthly lunch and learn sessions with everything from HR issues to small business taxes to contracts, anything they need to make your business sustainable and grow," Chanel White, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses said.

They don't just share office space, they also share resources and ideas.

"What we're really focusing on is a viable and smart way to remove blighted properties in Baltimore with this high efficiency housing that we're doing at the Smithsonian," McCluskey said.

"You're coming in and you are part of a huge community of people who are working together. We're supporting each other and so it gives you the time to network so that's the bigger picture," Marshall said.

If you’d like this to be your business address, there’s a raffle. It runs from April 17 to May 1. For more information about the drawing contact the Program Director, Cwhit129@jh.edu.