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Old February 17th, 2006, 11:49 AM   #1
StevenW
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Baltimore New Tallest Tower!

"A tall order for city skyline"

59-story tower OK'd by design panel would be highest building in Baltimore
By Lorraine Mirabella
sun reporter
Originally published February 17, 2006


A glass skyscraper soaring 59 stories and 717 feet would become Baltimore's tallest building, with a distinctive, slender shape that would dominate the city's skyline, under a concept approved yesterday by the city's design panel.



The tower would rise in the shape of a parallelogram on Light Street between the Hyatt Regency and Harbor Court hotels. It would contain luxury condominiums and a boutique hotel atop street-level shops, restaurants and parking.

It would be nearly 200 feet higher than the Legg Mason Building at 100 Light St., now the city's tallest.

The $300 million project, planned by Philadelphia developer ARC Wheeler, shows the strength of the city's revitalization, some experts said yesterday.

It is the latest example of a surge of redevelopment that has begun transforming downtown into a residential and entertainment hub, boosting demand for amenities such as hotels, restaurants and shops.

Such a signature building could come to symbolize the continuation of the city's renaissance, some experts said, while putting the finishing touch on harbor redevelopment.

The 2-acre site, one of the last undeveloped parcels in the Inner Harbor, has been used as a parking lot since a McCormick spice plant was demolished in the late 1980s.

"Many across the nation continue to view Baltimore as a below-average performer with Rust Belt characteristics, so this will be an important marketing symbol for the city," said Anirban Basu, chairman and chief executive of Sage Policy Group Inc.

"It will be seen by anyone traveling along I-95. This building will do much to reposition Baltimore's skyline in people's minds and reposition the city itself in people's minds."

Business and political leaders said they are encouraged to see such a substantial private investment downtown.

"The fact that there are businesses who have identified Baltimore and see these opportunities and are willing to make this sort of significant investment signifies the future prospects of the city and the recognition, from outside of our state, of just how tremendous those opportunities are," said Donald C. Fry, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Mayor Martin O'Malley, said yesterday that the mayor is glad to see the project moving forward.

"It's a $300 million private investment on a long-vacant piece of property in downtown Baltimore," Abbruzzese said. "It's great to see this kind of investment coming back to our city."

The project, designed by New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, got its much-anticipated unveiling yesterday before the city's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel, drawing a larger than usual crowd.

To be called 10 Inner Harbor, a nod to ARC Wheeler's 10 Rittenhouse Square mixed-use project in Philadelphia, the 1.3 million-square-foot-building would have 285 luxury and loft condominiums with high ceilings, large expanses of clear glass, balconies and roof terraces enclosed by clear glass railings.

The first eight floors of the tower would contain a 192-room boutique hotel. The base would include 74,600 square feet of ground-level and second-floor shops, including a restaurant, possibly a gourmet grocery store and about 800 above-grade parking spaces.

The base would also include a restaurant pavilion on the southeastern corner, with frontage along Charles and Conway streets open to stores. The developer plans to landscape the half-acre roof of the tower's base and put a pool, spa and fitness center next to the garden.

Harold B. Wheeler, a principal with ARC Wheeler, said yesterday that he expects to sign up a hotel operator within the next month and to close on the purchase of the McCormick lot from owner Central Parking in the second quarter. He said the company is in the advanced stages of acquiring financing.

"We're confident that financing is there for us," he said.

Development of hotels, condominiums, shops and restaurants is booming downtown, especially around the waterfront.
Hilton Hotel Corp. announced yesterday that work had begun on a 756-room convention hotel adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.



A Ritz Carlton condominium is under construction on Key Highway on the Inner Harbor waterfront, and a Four Seasons is being built in Harbor East.

Planned are a 34-story residential tower above the Market Place Metro station and a 21-story condo tower atop an 11-story garage at Water and Gay streets.

Demand for downtown housing, especially from empty-nesters and young professionals, is strong enough to absorb the new development, said Kirby Fowler, president of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. Hotel occupancy rates downtown have been higher than average, boding well for a new boutique hotel, he said.

Baltimore's ability to sell $301 million worth of bonds last month to finance its convention hotel showed investor confidence in the hotel market, Fowler said.

"It sent the message that Baltimore can certainly handle more hotel rooms," he said. "One question is whether the condos will go for exorbitant rates or reasonable rates. But people want to own their own property."

The design is subject to approval by the city's Planning Commission. After the nine-story McCormick building was razed in 1989, the city agreed to allow a taller building on the site if it met other standards, including one that restricts a building's height based on the area of its base.

M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp., told the project's developer and architects that he felt comfortable with the height, saying the design could offer the city a distinctive landmark.

"This is a great site in terms of its importance, and a great site deserves a great building," he said.

Among those at yesterday's design panel meeting were homeowner groups worried about whether the building would overwhelm its surroundings.

Keith Losoya, president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, said many people in his neighborhood accept change as part of urban living but feel that more attention should be paid to the scale of development.

"We encourage development in scale with its surrounding and the stepping up to the city center," Losoya said. "It's certainly higher than we anticipated, kind of out of scale with the area."

Bernice Winston, a retired teacher who lives with her husband in a condo in Harbor Court, just behind the Harbor Court Hotel, lamented the possible loss of the views up Charles Street and the prospect of more congestion and traffic.

"That building is antithetical to the principle of low buildings along the Inner Harbor and the neighborhood characteristics," Winston said.

Panel members asked the architects to revise the design to make the tower's facade less plain and less like an office tower. Several members disagreed with plans to cut a diagonal in the base at Light and Barre streets, at the entrance to a proposed restaurant.

"This could be more of a sculptural building," one that looks less like pieces stacked one on another, said Mario Schack, a panel member.

After the hearing, Wheeler said those suggestions were on target and that the development team had been discussing similar ideas.

The architects said they considered building two smaller towers on the site but threw the idea out because the buildings would have been too close together for residential use.

They said they arrived at the idea of a single tower with the upper part more slender than the lower part after taking into account the views from the building and of the building, and ways to minimize shadows cast on smaller structures.



[email protected]
Sun reporter Jamie Smith Hopkins contributed to this article.

---------------

This news, ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES! BALTIMORE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No renderings yet. But, when I find some I'll be sure to post them!
If this tower is built, it will definately give Baltimore the "signature" tower in the skyline that it has needed for quite some time now.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 02:23 PM   #2
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Any rendering?
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Old February 17th, 2006, 04:56 PM   #3
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Here's the deal:

Development: 10 Inner Harbor (59 Floor, 717 feet)
Developer: ARC Wheeler Group
Architect: Robert A.M. Stern
Mixed-uses: Condos, Hotel, Retail, Resturants

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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:23 PM   #4
malec
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Wow, this is fantastic.

I remember seeing this other thread about Baltimore's tallest here before but that was about this red tower that didn't look so good. Is this right or not?
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:23 PM   #5
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Thats awsome
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:24 PM   #6
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This is a great looking tower, congrats to Baltimore if it gets built!
It reminds me a little of the Bloomberg tower, especially the crown, in a more stylized way
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:30 PM   #7
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Looks awesome! 717 feet!! Can't wait to see more renderings!! Thanks, waj!!!
WOOOOO!! Now build it!!!
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:38 PM   #8
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I brought my shovel and hard hat. Where do you want me to start digging?
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #9
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That looks mint.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 06:01 PM   #10
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Lookin' good, guys.. Baltimore is on fire!!!
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Old February 17th, 2006, 07:55 PM   #11
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Baltimore also started major construction yesterday on a 300+ Million Dollar Convention Center Hotel at 883,000 square feet. Also under construction is the 21 story Zenith Apartment building, 30 story Vue Condo, 17 story 330 foot tall Ist Mariner Tower, 32 story 414 Water Street Condo, 750 million dollar 12 story 1.5 million square feet addition to John Hopkins, among a ton of other buildings too many to mention.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 10:24 PM   #12
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Old February 17th, 2006, 10:53 PM   #13
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Yet another rendering:
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Old February 17th, 2006, 10:54 PM   #14
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that thing is bling all the way
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my small photoblog v2.0 :)
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Old February 17th, 2006, 11:07 PM   #15
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Pretty nice for Baltimore, indeed.
Thanks.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 11:21 PM   #16
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Good for Baltimore. Our U.S. cities need more skyscrapers in general.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 12:28 AM   #17
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good goin Baltimore!!!!!!
is going to be flat roofed?
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Old February 18th, 2006, 02:06 AM   #18
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It has a nice looking.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 02:41 AM   #19
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Damn, seems like every city is getting a new tallest...
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Old February 18th, 2006, 02:42 AM   #20
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Looks good by the way
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