North American Trade Schools Chooses Northwestern Plaza in Baltimore City for Relocated Training Facility

MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services brokers 55,000 square foot lease at 230,000 square foot shopping center owned and managed by Klein Enterprises, and located at Wabash Avenue and Northern Parkway        

North American Trade Schools (NATS) has selected Northwest Plaza in Baltimore City for the site of its relocated facility which offers classroom education and hands-on experience training in multiple different trade programs. MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services brokered a 55,000 square foot lease with Klein Enterprises at the 230,000 square foot shopping center located at the intersection of Wabash Avenue and Northern Parkway, and the school anticipates completing its move from Security Square Mall in Baltimore County next spring. MacKenzie’s Senior Vice President and Principals Andrew Meeder and Mike Ruocco represented the tenant, and Patricia Palumbo and Paul Weinberg, at Klein Enterprises represented the landlord in this transaction.

According to research generated by MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, with data collected from CoStar Group, this represents the largest retail lease executed in Baltimore City in 2023, and is the second largest lease completed in the greater Baltimore metropolitan region, following Coppermine Gym’s 100,000 square foot transaction in Harford County, a deal brokered by MacKenzie’s Mike Ruocco and Tim Harrington. MacKenzie reports five lease transactions exceeding 15,000 square feet of space in 2023 to-date in Baltimore City, comprising just over 150,000 square feet of space. In the greater Baltimore metropolitan market, nearly 400 retail deals totaling more than 760,000 square feet of space have been executed this year.

“The decision by North American Trade Schools to relocate from Baltimore County is significant as it signals the renewed confidence being shown in Baltimore City and is reflective of its upwards trajectory,” said MacKenzie’s Mike Ruocco. “We continue to see an uptick in activity for select retail space in different categories throughout the local market, with interest focused on high-profile retail centers and mixed-use projects offering immediate access to established and growing amenity bases and demographics.”

Founded in 1971, NATS offers comprehensive education in air conditioning, electrical, diesel, heating, refrigeration, and ventilation technology, as well as programs in industrial maintenance, trucking, and welding. The school provides job placement services, with graduates moving onto jobs working in the building maintenance, commercial truck driving, and industrial maintenance industries among others. NATS is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. After beginning operations in a 500 square foot facility in Landover, with an initial mission to train diesel mechanics, the school steadily grew before leasing space in the former Sears anchor store at Security Square Mall.

With this leasing activity, Northwest Plaza is now 97 percent leased, with additional retailers including Harvest Fare Supermarket, Roses, Advanced Auto Parts, Rite-Aid Pharmacy and BB&T. Positioned adjacent to the Social Security Administration and more than 1,600 employees, more than 160,000 people reside within a three-mile radius of the center, with a Baltimore Metro Station located within walking distance.

“Northwest Plaza fulfilled NATS’ real estate requirement for a large and unoccupied space offering immediate availability, a strategic location in which prospective students from a large radius could easily travel to, ” added Ruocco. “The immediate proximity of the metro station is a major amenity, as it provides another transportation option for both students, teachers, and staff. The school, with its mission to train and place graduates in highly-needed jobs, fills an important need in our community and we expect NATS to remain a fixture at the shopping center for many years to come.”

“This use will benefit communities in Baltimore City, and all the surrounding areas, with achievable, educational opportunities,” stated Patricia Palumbo, Director of Leasing for Klein Enterprises

“NATS will draw students to Northwest Plaza with a desire to learn, with men and women mastering trades, learning new skills, and drawing the confidence and capacity that will open new doors and change their lives. It was a pleasure collaborating with the MacKenzie team to bring this lease across the finish line, and effectively, lease the remaining square footage of the former K-Mart anchor.”

MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services is the real estate brokerage arm of The MacKenzie Companies, which operates six full-service divisions addressing all real estate asset classes including MacKenzie Management Company, LLC, MacKenzie Contracting Company, LLC, MacKenzie Capital, LLC, MacKenzie Investment Group, LLC and MacKenzie Multifamily Management, LLC. The company provides customized real estate solutions for institutional owners, investors, private companies, and individuals. For additional information, visit