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Old September 9th, 2013, 05:36 AM   #1
micrip
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Exelon Tower and Harbor Point

With the TIF set to be approved as early as Monday, it's time for a new thread only on this subject. Post your construction photos and discussion here!
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Old September 9th, 2013, 06:48 AM   #2
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Any lawsuites planned by the usual suspects?
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Old September 9th, 2013, 08:48 AM   #3
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Any lawsuites planned by the usual suspects?
god i hope not but almost certainly
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Old September 10th, 2013, 07:58 AM   #4
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...Peter Angelos is probably shuffling his papers as we speak...
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Old September 10th, 2013, 06:32 PM   #5
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From today's Baltimore Sun

HARBOR POINT CONSTRUCTION COULD BEGIN NEXT MONTH
$107 million in tax increment financing approved by 11-3 vote
by Luke Broadwater

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...,1146256.story

Construction to convert an old chemical plant site to a glittering waterfront development could begin next month after the Baltimore City Council gave final approval Monday to more than $100 million in taxpayer assistance for the controversial Harbor Point project.

"We want to build a great project that is successful for the whole city," the developer, Michael S. Beatty, said after the vote. "It will create thousands and thousands of jobs." Officials of his firm said they hope to break ground on the project's signature skyscraper — a new regional headquarters for the energy giant Exelon — on Oct. 15.

Council members voted 11-3, with one abstention, to approve $107 million in tax-increment-financing bonds despite months of protests, objections from downtown business leaders and a late effort by community groups, activists and unions to amend the legislation.

Council members Carl Stokes, Sharon Green Middleton and Bill Henry voted against the deal. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke abstained, citing her husband's business relationship with Beatty.

Both Middleton and Stokes lamented what they said was a rushed process that did not fully answer questions and criticism of the subsidy. The tax increment financing is part of about $400 million in public subsidies for the project.

"The process was cut short," Middleton said, referring to a finance committee hearing that Stokes claims was "hijacked" by City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young. "There were questions about safety. There's a lot of questions that still need to be answered, and I didn't get those answers."

After the vote, Young denied that the subsidy had been rushed through the council. He said he listened carefully to citizens' concerns.

"This process has been vetted more than any project that has ever come before this council. We heard everybody loud and clear," he said. Young added that he supports the development "100 percent" because of the jobs it is projected to create. "If we get people working, we see less crime. We'll see families united."

In addition to Exelon, Harbor Point will be home to a Morgan Stanley facility, other office buildings, residential towers, parks, stores and a hotel, officials say.

"There's been a lot of misinformation out about Harbor Point, but the facts could not be clearer," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "It is a catalytic project. It is a smart investment that is going to create jobs and spur more development."

With tax increment financing, the bond sale proceeds are used for improvements — in this case the parks and some infrastructure — and future property taxes generated by the development are used to pay off the bonds.

Under the plan, Beatty's Harbor Point Development Group will spend $59 million of the bond money to build five small parks, $21 million on a promenade, and $10 million on a bridge extending Central Avenue. The legislation requires the developer to give $2 million of the funds to a nearby charter school, the Crossroads. About $15 million will pay for infrastructure improvements along the development's streets and piers.

The largely vacant Harbor Point site is assessed now at $10 million, but the Baltimore Development Corp. projects it will be valued at $1.8 billion for tax purposes when the development is completed years from now.

Supporters say that once fully built, the project will contribute about $20 million a year in increased property taxes to the city's budget, which could be used for schools, roads, police and other projects.

Opponents say that tax increment financing deprives the city's general fund of the increased property tax revenue. They say it's risky and amounts to corporate welfare.

Beatty said only about one-tenth of the development's funding will come from the taxpayers, and that money will be recouped through increased property taxes from the site. He said $920 million of the project's funding will come from private investors.

After criticism that the project would do nothing to benefit low-income Baltimore residents, Beatty pledged to give $3 million to the city's fund for low-income housing. City officials say it will be the largest contribution in the history of the fund, which helps developers build affordable housing. Beatty also agreed to voluntarily follow the city's new local hiring ordinance — pledging to hire 51 percent of new workers for the project from Baltimore — even though the bill does not become law until next year.

But to some in Baltimore, the debate over Harbor Point presented an existential question for the city's future: Are we going to be a city that funnels tax dollars into waterfront development? Or are we going focus on neighborhoods?

"It's disappointing the administration has been so unwilling to listen to the concerns that were raised," said Roxie Herbekian, president of the local branch of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents workers in the hospitality industry. "There's a bigger issue around development and what interests the city administration is focused on that, frankly, has the working class people in town really concerned."

Rawlings-Blake said it's possible to develop both the city's neighborhoods and the waterfront.

"It's not one or the other. It's one Baltimore," she said.

City Councilman James B. Kraft, whose district includes Harbor Point, said he wants to turn his focus toward environmental and traffic concerns presented by the project.

"Now that the emotionalism is set aside, we can really get into those areas," he said.

Soil and groundwater at the site are riddled with toxic chromium entombed beneath a "cap" up to 5 feet thick of clean soil, plastic, clay and gravel, according to government records. Workers will have to create a series of temporary openings in the cap to drive more than 1,000 pilings deep into the ground to support the building. They will dig through the clean dirt on top and peel back the plastic liner to expose contaminated soil beneath.

The developer and state and federal agencies have scheduled a public meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Morgan Stanley building to present plans for the Exelon project and take questions.

In a news conference after the vote, Rawlings-Blake thanked Young for showing "an incredible amount of leadership." Celebrating the legislative victory, the mayor pledged more development in the years ahead.

She turned to Beatty.

"I'm looking forward to more projects," she said.

Last edited by NYC007; September 10th, 2013 at 06:45 PM.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #6
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From today's Baltimore Business Journal

HARBOR POINT $107M TAX DEAL GETS FINAL OK AFTER MONTHS OF CONTROVERSY
Exelon's regional HQ set to break ground in fall
by Kevin Litten

http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore...ets-final.html

The long-debated $107 million tax increment financing deal for Harbor Point passed the City Council on Monday by a vote of 11-3, setting up the largest waterfront development deal in city history to move forward.

Groundbreaking on Exelon Corp.’s headquarters building, the largest on the 27-acre site, is now set to move forward this fall with the council’s approval of a plan to sell bonds to pay for infrastructure on the former Allied Signal chemical plant site. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake noted that Monday’s passage marked a major turning point for the chromium-polluted land after more than $100 million of environmental cleanup efforts since the plant’s demolition more than 20 years ago.

“Harbor Point means a fresh start for a long-blighted and vacant site along our city’s waterfront,” Rawlings-Blake said. “It means an opportunity to keep growing our city by more than 2,000 new residents towards our goal of making Baltimore home to 10,000 more families. And it benefits our current residents including nearly 10 acres of public parks and promenades.”

But passing the bill brought two months of controversy to the City Council chambers as union members, neighborhood groups and activists turned out to oppose the bill. At times, those opposing the bill shouted down City Council members, seizing an opportunity to question the wisdom of granting public assistance to Beatty Development Group LLC.

Seen as a “rich developer” for his connection to tony Harbor East, Beatty Development President Michael Beatty sat through hours of criticism but consistently talked about the project as transformative for the city.

Supporters lined up during the hearings as well, pointing to the 7,000 construction jobs the project is projected to create over the next decade, and touting the 3 million square feet of new office, hotel, residential and retail space planned for the site.

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young acknowledged the long process during a news conference on Monday evening, saying, “This process has been vetted more than any that has ever come before this council.”

Opposition on the council was led by taxation committee Chairman Carl Stokes, who led two days of hearings on the TIF before walking out of the hearing as his members pushed it forward for a vote, cutting the hearing short. Stokes tried to offer new amendments to the legislation on Monday evening seeking concessions for city unions, but his efforts failed when they did not gain a second.

Previous unsuccessful amendments had sought to limit the amount of spending on parks. The project includes more than $50 million for green space, a product of negotiations with nearby neighborhoods.

But Beatty Development officials argued during the development process that they had already reduced the size of the TIF from $150 million by removing a massive underground parking garage from the publicly-backed financing plan. The green space, they said, was a requirement in the project’s Planning Department legislation that could not be developed without the TIF.

Under the tax increment financing deal, the bonds floated to pay for infrastructure will be paid using taxes that would have been collected on the new development at the site.

The rest of the TIF is being used for critical infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks and bridges.

The three council members who voted against Monday’s TIF were Bill Henry, Sharon Middleton and Stokes.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 06:21 AM   #7
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Once they do break ground, I plan on taking a weekly photo from the Museum of Industry and compile them all in a few years, it'll make for a beautiful GIF!
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Old September 11th, 2013, 06:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by NYC007 View Post
HARBOR POINT CONSTRUCTION COULD BEGIN NEXT MONTH
$107 million in tax increment financing approved by 11-3 vote
by Luke Broadwater

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...,1146256.story

Construction to convert an old chemical plant site to a glittering waterfront development could begin next month after the Baltimore City Council gave final approval Monday to more than $100 million in taxpayer assistance for the controversial Harbor Point project......
Damn! All this rukus and hoo-raw and they are actually ready to do something. I'll have to go down to Fells Point and take a last wistful look at that big, flat, contaminated, rock covered waste so I can remember it as it WAS!
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Old September 11th, 2013, 06:54 AM   #9
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.....Soil and groundwater at the site are riddled with toxic chromium entombed beneath a "cap" up to 5 feet thick of clean soil, plastic, clay and gravel, according to government records. Workers will have to create a series of temporary openings in the cap to drive more than 1,000 pilings deep into the ground to support the building. They will dig through the clean dirt on top and peel back the plastic liner to expose contaminated soil beneath......

This will be a technical challenge, but it's comparable to dealing with an old building that's full of asbestos. Hopefully, with full knowledge of what's down there, proper caution will be used and then it will be resealed. In spite of the danger of building there, that place "as-is" represents a danger too, so putting buildings on top and capping it will be better than the rock-farm that's there now.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #10
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This will be a technical challenge, but it's comparable to dealing with an old building that's full of asbestos. Hopefully, with full knowledge of what's down there, proper caution will be used and then it will be resealed. In spite of the danger of building there, that place "as-is" represents a danger too, so putting buildings on top and capping it will be better than the rock-farm that's there now.
So be honest: would you be willing to purchase a home there? Or at least work at Harbor Point -- knowing about the contamination and the threat posed?
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Old September 12th, 2013, 01:59 AM   #11
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Excellent news! Thread in WDN updated.


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Old September 12th, 2013, 04:15 AM   #12
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So be honest: would you be willing to purchase a home there? Or at least work at Harbor Point -- knowing about the contamination and the threat posed?
Nothing will be available for purchase. All rentals. Beatty is master-leasing the Honeywell-owned majority of the site.

Yeah, I'd rent there. Mojitos and sunsets over the Inner Harbor from a 30th floor balcony suit me fine. I mostly drink bottled water these days anyway.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 05:36 AM   #13
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So be honest: would you be willing to purchase a home there? Or at least work at Harbor Point -- knowing about the contamination and the threat posed?
Once it's sealed after construction, I'd be willing to to work there, but not own anything. I suspect that they can adequately seal the base but if I owned, I'd always be concerned that Angelos and Co would start sharpening their spears the moment somebody gets mysteriously ill, even if it has nothing to do with chromium. If I rent or work, I'm not the responsible party. Of course, I've lived in a fool's paradise in the past, having lived through working around asbestos and and with seriously dangerous disease organisms, but practically speaking, chromium isn't much of a mystery. It's down there right now, and the site now is nowhere as sealed as it will be with a large building on top of it. It would be a good idea to keep an eye on the park.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 04:03 PM   #14
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Any lawsuites planned by the usual suspects?
I sure hope so!

Harbor Point project stirs environmental concerns

Developer, regulators say building atop capped pollution is safe

While the Harbor Point project's millions in public financing have dominated debate in Baltimore this summer, a carcinogen buried beneath the proposed waterfront development has sparked concerns about the safety of neighboring residents and the people who will work at the site in Fells Point. Environmental regulators who oversaw the cleanup of the former chromium plant there 20 years ago have given preliminary approval to build a 22-story tower on the 27-acre peninsula on the Inner Harbor. The soil and groundwater there are riddled with toxic chromium entombed beneath a "cap" of clean soil, plastic, clay and gravel up to 5 feet thick, according to government records.

Workers will have to create a series of temporary openings in the cap to drive more than 1,000 pilings deep into the ground to support the building. They will dig through the clean dirt on top and peel back the plastic liner to expose contaminated soil beneath.

The developers and regulators say the work can be done safely. Precautions are being taken to ensure that none of the toxic compounds escape, they say, noting that similar sites such as that of the nearby Morgan Stanley building in Fells Point and elsewhere in Baltimore have been developed without incident.

"It's not like we're breaking new ground here," said Robert Greaves, an official in the Environmental Protection Agency's Mid-Atlantic regional office, which oversees the site. "We have done it on the same property. The process has been shown to work." But some neighbors and others have expressed reservations about the Harbor Point project. And officials acknowledge that the Morgan Stanley building site is less contaminated than the proposed site of the Exelon Corp. regional headquarters.

"It's a little too much to ask of those of us who live around here," said Stelios Spiliadis, a Fells Point restaurateur and developer of an inn situated across South Caroline Street from the site. "What if they make mistakes? What if it doesn't work the way they say it's going to work? Why should the Fells Point community be a guinea pig?"

Experts say it is understandable that the public would have questions, given what's known about chromium. "It's nasty," said Thomas Burke, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Public Health. He dealt with chromium as an environmental and health official years ago in New Jersey, which also had chrome plants and residential communities built atop toxic slag from the facilities.

Chromium can take different forms, with very different health consequences. In one form, it is an essential nutrient. Another form — widely used for chrome-plating metals, making dyes and pigments, tanning leather and preserving wood — is toxic. The "hexavalent chromium" lingering at Harbor Point resulted from spills and fallout from processing ore there from the 1840s to the mid-1980s. Chronic exposure can damage the respiratory tract and other organs and produce skin rashes. Studies indicate that chromium can cause cancer if inhaled, and the EPA has proposed classifying it as a likely carcinogen if consumed in drinking water.

Neighbors around two decades ago recall workers in protective suits laboring to demolish the old Baltimore Chrome Works, where hexavalent chromium tainted the soil, dissolved in the groundwater and was seeping into the harbor.

The plant's owner, Allied-Signal Inc., signed a consent decree in 1989 that required the company to remove all of the buildings and cap the site to shield people from exposure to toxic dust. Allied had to armor the shoreline against erosion and install a "slurry wall" of clay and clean soil down to bedrock around the perimeter to keep tainted groundwater from reaching the Patapsco River. It took a decade and $100 million to accomplish. Honeywell, which inherited Allied's assets and environmental liabilities, has continued to monitor the site and pump and treat groundwater to keep it from seeping into the river.

The consent decree provided for the possibility of redeveloping the site. But at the time, many experts — Burke included — doubted that anything substantial could ever be built there. Since then, offices, shopping centers and homes have been built in Maryland and elsewhere on "brownfields," as former industrial sites are called. Even onetime toxic waste dumps cleaned up under the federal Superfund program have been redeveloped, EPA and Honeywell representatives say. Some projects involved driving pilings through caps covering hazardous wastes.

Environmental activists say they support the redevelopment of contaminated properties once they have been cleaned up, but caution that building on land that still contains materials such as chromium is not to be taken lightly. "Any time there are plans to develop facilities where people will live and work on land once contaminated with a known human carcinogen, folks in the community should be concerned — and that goes for those who live near this site in Baltimore," said Alex Formuzis, spokesman for the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based advocacy organization. "Hexavalent chromium is a notorious cancer-causing chemical that has left many communities around the country, most notably Hinkley, Calif., with serious and long-term health problems as a result of being exposed to the substance."

In Hinkley, an uncapped site featured in the 2000 film "Erin Brockovich," residents sued and won a $300 million settlement for the chromium-laced waste dumped in the ground around their homes. Despite a $700 million cleanup so far, contaminated groundwater continues to spread and as many as one-third of the residents are being bought out.

Representatives of the Harbor Point developer say the Exelon building will be constructed with great care, with close oversight not only from federal and state regulators, but from Honeywell, which remains liable if any contaminants escape. "We've got belt-and-suspenders all over the place making sure the contractor is doing what they're supposed to be doing," said Jonathan Flesher, senior development director for Beatty Development Group.

The developer plans to open the cap to drive 1,063 hollow steel pilings into the ground below to serve as a foundation for the Exelon building. The openings will be no more than 400 square feet each, said Flesher, just big enough to drive a pile or two at a time. Once sunk, they will be filled with concrete, and a plastic "boot" will be placed over the top and welded to the restored plastic liner. Then the rest of the cap will be reinstalled. Some say they are worried about the construction crews who will be closest to any potential release of contaminants. "Who does that kind of work?" asked Helena Hicks, a civil rights and environmental activist from Grove Park. "Poor whites, blacks and Hispanics. That's who's going to be digging it up."

The developer and regulators say there will be safeguards for the workers and the public. While areas of the cap are open, Flesher said, any exposed contaminated soil will be sprayed with mist to prevent dust from becoming airborne. Workers will be required to wear long-sleeve shirts and possibly gloves in certain situations. The air around cap openings will be monitored, and an alarm will sound if an increase in dust is detected. Before pile-driving begins, a porous synthetic fabric will be laid over the exposed soil and a layer of concrete put down to give crews a clean surface on which to work.

Such dust monitoring is not usually required at construction sites. "It's actually safer to build here than virtually anywhere else in the city," said Marco Greenberg, a vice president of Beatty Development. Edward J. Bouwer, a professor of environmental engineering at Hopkins, believes the pilings can be driven without releasing chromium but recommends that those working near exposed soil wear respirators. Officials with the EPA and the state say safeguards proved adequate when the seven-story building that houses offices for the investment bank Morgan Stanley was built three years ago. Pilings had to be driven into the ground beneath the cap in that case as well.

"We're comfortable with that," Russell Fish, the EPA's project manager for the site, said of the precautions taken to monitor dust while driving pilings. Air monitoring detected hexavalent chromium during the Morgan Stanley construction, said Jay Apperson, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, and it has been picked up in monitoring conducted in preparation for the Exelon project. But MDE staffers "are not aware" of chromium or dust levels exceeding "action levels" during the first building project, he said.

Apperson said the developer's plan complies with monitoring required by federal regulations for workers at hazardous waste sites, and includes respiratory protection and protective clothing for workers who will be in contact with contaminated soils. Once the pilings are driven and the cap replaced, a concrete slab will go on top to serve as a floor for the building. "It'll be more effective, actually," said Flesher. "Not only will we be replacing the cap that's there, we're in essence putting on another cap — putting buildings, roadways and concrete slabs over everything."

Environmental regulators and redevelopers from outside Maryland are closely watching the Baltimore construction project.

Michael McCabe directed the EPA's Mid-Atlantic region during the late 1990s, when the chromium was being entombed beneath the Inner Harbor. Today, McCabe is a court-appointed administrator overseeing the cleanup of 20 chromium sites in New Jersey. There, a 2009 state court settlement forced energy companies to remove the concrete caps put in decades ago — before the Baltimore cleanup — and haul away all of the contaminated soil. At times they are digging 35 feet below the surface to make the sites suitable for redevelopment.

"Capping is an older form of stabilizing the site," McCabe said. "It does not represent a cleanup; it's containment."

Victoria Streitfeld, a Honeywell spokeswoman, said containment was chosen over removal in Baltimore in part because of "technical difficulties associated with excavation of a site surrounded by water." But she noted that regulators believed capping would protect health and the environment while allowing for redevelopment.

Some nearby residents remain unconvinced.

"It seems counterintuitive," said Charles Cohen, a freelance writer who lives in Fells Point. "If you're making a toxic site safe by trying to close it off, why are you opening it up?"

Unlike the City Council public hearing and open meetings on the $107 million tax increment financing plan, there hasn't been any official airing of the environmental issues. "That's why there hasn't been any public outcry," said Cohen. "There hasn't been any public discussion — I wonder if it's too late." Without reassurances, he added, he would consider moving with his two young daughters from his home of 15 years.

The developer and state and federal agencies have scheduled a public meeting from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the Morgan Stanley building to present plans for the Exelon project and take questions.

State and federal regulators, who have the final say on environmental safeguards, say they're reviewing the developer's detailed construction plans and expect to make a decision this fall. "My concern is that it's done right," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "Yes, this is a delicate operation. But in order for it to happen, we had to get pre-approval from the regulatory agencies, and they believe it can be done in a way that's safe."

Despite other successful redevelopments, Burke and other experts say that every hazardous site is different and deserves close scrutiny. "You do it cautiously," Burke said, "because these sites can be porcupines."

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Old September 12th, 2013, 04:18 PM   #15
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Harbor Point safety to get another airing

Developer agrees to public forum on environmental questions

The developer planning to build an office tower at Harbor Point agreed Wednesday night to hold another public meeting on the controversial project after Fells Point residents who showed up for an open house there demanded a more formal discussion of the safety of developing the former chemical plant site. Councilman James B. Kraft, who represents Fells Point and who also attended the open house, pressed for the meeting after saying he wanted to give his constituents an opportunity to have their questions answered about precautions planned for keeping contaminated soil and ground water from being released by the project.

A chromium ore processing plant operated on the waterfront site for 140 years before being closed in 1985. The plant's owner spent more than $100 million remediating the site because one form of chromium causes cancer if inhaled or ingested. But rather than dig up chromium-laced soil, officials decided instead to bury it beneath a five-foot "cap" of clean soil, plastic and gravel. An underground barrier was also built to keep tainted ground water from seeping into the Inner Harbor.

Regulators have given Beatty Development Group preliminary approval to build a 22-story office building for Exelon Corp. on the 27-acre site. To do that, a series of openings will have to be made in the cap, at least briefly exposing tainted soil below in order to drive more than 1,000 pilings deep into the ground.

Officials say precautions are being taken to ensure none of the contamination escapes. Dust levels are to be closely monitored during the operation, and they say work will be stopped if there's any indication chromium is getting into the air. About 50 people, plus a class of University of Maryland social-work students, attended the three-hour session Wednesday evening at the Morgan Stanley building on Thames Street, where they had a chance to view posters depicting the project and to quiz representatives of Beatty as well as federal and state environmental officials.

But several attendees said they remained unconvinced of the project's safety and complained that the open-house format did not present them with enough information. "These are pretty pictures, but we don't have a presentation here that allows us to ask questions as a group and get a reply," said Pauline Spiliadis, a Fells Point resident whose husband, Black Olive restaurant owner Stelios Spiliadis, has been a vocal critic of the project's environmental impact.

Kraft said the new meeting time and place would be announced later. "I want everybody's questions answered … before we move forward," Kraft said. He added that he doesn't expect everyone to be satisfied by what they hear, but "they need to be dealt with." A group of Fells Point residents who call themselves "Baltimoreans for Intelligent Development," said they want more details about the environmental impacts of the project. Members said they want an independent third-party review of the safety of the construction plans. "We're not trying to stop development," said one member, Jill Bell. We just want to be sure it's safe."

Beatty executives said they would be happy to answer residents' questions. But Jonathan Flesher, senior development director for the company, said the project already has ample outside oversight from federal and state regulators as well as from Honeywell, the company that owns the site and retains liability for ensuring none of the contamination escapes. Flesher noted that the developer already had held one other public meeting in June, which was attended by 85 people.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 07:13 PM   #16
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I am very sympathetic with the environmental concerns with regard to construction worker safety as well as the Harbor Point neighbors during site development and construction. But my worry and questioning concerns five or ten years down the road once these buildings get built.

Even with a cap in place that has been punctured and resealed, over time all the building foundations will settle and shift resulting in various cracks. How will containments be addressed then?

Especially with taller structures, where the suction drafts created by moving elevators will draw and circulate contaminated air up from the foundation throughout the entire building hundreds of times each day?

While more expensive, I think the stipulation should have been "no new development" unless the site was completely removed of all contamination.

We're playing with fire -- I'd be willing to go for a leisurely walk along the extended promenade or across one of the parks -- but I would not want to live or work on/or next to this site.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 07:56 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Eerik View Post
I am very sympathetic with the environmental concerns with regard to construction worker safety as well as the Harbor Point neighbors during site development and construction. But my worry and questioning concerns five or ten years down the road once these buildings get built.

Even with a cap in place that has been punctured and resealed, over time all the building foundations will settle and shift resulting in various cracks. How will containments be addressed then?.....
The construction workers are probably at the greatest risk, but once the place is built, at the worst, the site is less dangerous than it is now. The chromium is not a gas so it's not going to work its way past molecule-thin gaps and any reasonably well maintained floor, especially with carpet or intact tiles, will keep it underground. Like many toxins, we are exposed to minute amounts all the time and most of us survive, at least for a while. In my case, I live close to one of the old mines (Bare Hills) where that stuff came from and there are measurable amounts of it around there, but it's below the threshold level of normal background bio-horrors. In our everyday life we get exposed to all sorts of bad stuff, including radioactive polonium in smoke detectors, heavy metals in petroleum products, fissile thorium in tobacco and GOK what else. As long as they can adequately sequester the chromium so that exposure is not worse than it is anywhere else, it really should be OK. I would add that I'd really like to have somebody monitoring it for a long time.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 07:57 PM   #18
StevenW
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Originally Posted by Eerik View Post
I am very sympathetic with the environmental concerns with regard to construction worker safety as well as the Harbor Point neighbors during site development and construction. But my worry and questioning concerns five or ten years down the road once these buildings get built.

Even with a cap in place that has been punctured and resealed, over time all the building foundations will settle and shift resulting in various cracks. How will containments be addressed then?

Especially with taller structures, where the suction drafts created by moving elevators will draw and circulate contaminated air up from the foundation throughout the entire building hundreds of times each day?

While more expensive, I think the stipulation should have been "no new development" unless the site was completely removed of all contamination.

We're playing with fire -- I'd be willing to go for a leisurely walk along the extended promenade or across one of the parks -- but I would not want to live or work on/or next to this site.
Very good questions/concerns. The kind that should be asked at that public meeting. Or perhaps an e-mail to Mr. Beatty himself?

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Old September 12th, 2013, 08:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by StevenW View Post

Very good questions/concerns. The kind that should be asked at that public meeting. Or perhaps an e-mail to Mr. Beatty himself?

mbeatty@beattydevelopment.com
At this point I think that asking Beatty for answers to such questions is a waste of time. Those skeptical now will not likely accept any assurances he provides and he's a businessman not an environmental expert.

The State or EPA are allowing construction and its them that need to release a straightforward report on the risks associated with developing Harbor Point. Possibly Beatty can arrange for one to be released. But if the construction and development complies to rules/standards set by these regulatory agencies why should Beatty be burned at the stake?

I bet there are already such reports out there that deals with risks developing that site but many people have ulterior motives for bringing up their "concerns". Much like the lawsuit filed JUST BEFORE CONSTRUCTION to halt building the the new casino out of "concern" for the Westport neighborhood.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 08:24 PM   #20
Eerik
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Originally Posted by scando View Post
The construction workers are probably at the greatest risk, but once the place is built, at the worst, the site is less dangerous than it is now. The chromium is not a gas so it's not going to work its way past molecule-thin gaps and any reasonably well maintained floor, especially with carpet or intact tiles, will keep it underground. Like many toxins, we are exposed to minute amounts all the time and most of us survive, at least for a while. In my case, I live close to one of the old mines (Bare Hills) where that stuff came from and there are measurable amounts of it around there, but it's below the threshold level of normal background bio-horrors. In our everyday life we get exposed to all sorts of bad stuff, including radioactive polonium in smoke detectors, heavy metals in petroleum products, fissile thorium in tobacco and GOK what else. As long as they can adequately sequester the chromium so that exposure is not worse than it is anywhere else, it really should be OK. I would add that I'd really like to have somebody monitoring it for a long time.
True. I really hope the workers who are responsible for penetrating the cap as well as driving the piles and resealing the membrane are offered appropriately gauged respirators. While contact with skin is also a major worry -- lung exposure is the worst.

As to "molecule-thin gaps" -- most of the buildings I've been in usually develop very measurable cracks fairly quickly. Next time you have a moment, go down into an underground parking garage and look around at the walls and floors -- especially where two separate materials meet. (For example, where concrete masonry units meet a poured slab concrete floor, column, etc.)

Often times such cracks can be upwards of half an inch wide. While such cracks are usually an acceptable tolerance, and that may appear small as an infraction, but multiply that half an inch crack that measures the length of a wall that may run 100 feet or more -- you end up with a total exposure area of 50 square feet. So I really hope the engineers take extra precaution with their estimates.

In the end, yes, we're all exposed to elements that are harmful. However again, while it's the stuff around us that we're not aware of that can kill us, why risk it with the stuff you know is dangerous? Especially with this stuff, where exposure over time is the killer?

Not me, thanks.
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