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Old April 12th, 2007, 12:28 AM   #2801
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what a crafty play on words.
Got a million of 'em. If I don't get banned, eventually you'll get 'em all.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 01:19 AM   #2802
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For anyone who is interested: the preliminary renderings and schematic plans of the Superblock by Lexington Sq. Partners were released to the public today
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Old April 12th, 2007, 01:21 AM   #2803
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Can't find an article on the Sun's website yet. Furthermore the Press Releases by the Mayor's Office and by the BDC are apparently not available online yet.

But if anyone's interested: there will be two floors of retail facing Lexington, Howard, and Fayette (structured parking will be mainly facing Park Ave.). The street level retail will constitute of regular sized stores whereas the second floor will have all the space for Anchor retail (the likes of Circuit City or Target etc.).Two residential towers will rise above the retail: one tower will be located on the corner of Lexington and Park, the other will be on the corner of Howard and Fayette. The two towers will be slightly taller than the tower at Centerpoint.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 01:28 AM   #2804
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BDC Press Release on Rash Field:

"April 11, 2007 Press Release

Baltimore, MD (April 11, 2007) – The Parking Authority of Baltimore City (PABC) in partnership with the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) today announced that the design team of Ziger/Snead Architects & Thomas Balsley Associates has been selected to design a new Rash Field Park that incorporates an underground parking facility.



The design team was selected for its relevant project experience, its capacity to work with stakeholders and community, and for its ability to meet the project timeline.



“We are very excited to work with award-winning park and waterfront designer Thomas Balsley, and the innovative architects at Ziger/Snead, to design a new, larger, more functional and more beautiful Rash Field Park, with a parking garage concealed beneath,” said Peter Little, Executive Director of the PABC.



Ziger/Snead & Thomas Balsley will meet with area stakeholders and community to develop design drawings by late summer. Construction is expected to begin next winter on the underground parking garage in order for completion to occur by the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race.



The Joseph H. Rash Memorial Park, which opened to the public in 1976, has served Baltimore City as an open space for recreational activities, special events and the site of the Pride of Baltimore Memorial. Located on the south shore of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Rash Field ranks as one of Baltimore’s most important open spaces. The site, approximately 9.3 acres, has been expanded from the current Rash Field to include the area from the Maryland Science Center to the Ritz Carlton and Rusty Scupper restaurant, encompassing the Marina Parking Garage.



Based on a 2003 Inner Harbor Master Plan recommendation that an underground parking facility be constructed and concealed by a new Rash Field Park, PABC and BDC hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study (completed in June 2006) that concluded that such a parking facility

was practical.



Ziger/Snead & Thomas Balsley will work closely with PABC, BDC and Recreation and Parks staffs and community residents/area stakeholders to ensure that the final design meets the highest criteria and community expectations.



Representatives from the PABC, BDC, Department of Recreation and Parks, Parks and People Foundation, Maryland Science Center, Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, Friends of Federal Hill Park and the Key Highway Community Association comprised the selection team."
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Old April 12th, 2007, 02:26 AM   #2805
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Thanks for the update, urbane. So far, it sounds pretty good.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 02:38 AM   #2806
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You're welcome.

To add a little bit to the comments already made: the drawings show that the historic buildings on the small (almost triangular) block bounded by Lexington, Park, Liberty, and Marion St. will remain and that an infill building of the same bulk as the current buildings will replace the non-historic structure there. The art-deco building where the Lot Store is at will remain.

The two residential towers will be rectangular, probably with the intent to maximize the views of the Inner Harbor (not sure how much could be seen from the Westside). The project is envisioning a lot more new construction, and far less preservation of historic buildings than Centerpoint in order to create large floor plates that will accomodate large retailers (something that would be hard to do by joining the historic buildings due to differing floor levels).
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Old April 12th, 2007, 02:38 AM   #2807
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Developers eye retail resurgence
‘Lexington Square’ would revive superblock with shops, apartments
JEN DEGREGORIO
Daily Record Business Writer
April 11, 2007 7:22 PM
Developers chosen to renovate Baltimore’s superblock revealed early designs for the project Wednesday that promise to create a shopping destination on the city’s West Side dubbed Lexington Square.

At an afternoon news conference, Lexington Square Partners LLC, the development team, described a retail-oriented project that would lure “major brand” merchants to the superblock, a now-depressed commercial district just west of downtown. It is roughly bordered by West Fayette, Liberty, West Lexington and Howard streets.

Plans call for 312,000 square feet of retail space, which would include street-level space for smaller shops and upper levels with large floor plates for national retailers. Developers cited clothier H&M and electronics retailer Circuit City as examples of the kind of stores that could fill the development, although they said they have no tenants officially lined up for the project.

“What’s absent from Market Center is an anchor, a destination that will really … get the critical mass going,” said Bailey Pope, vice president of design and construction for the Harold A. Dawson Co., an Atlanta-based firm with Lexington Square Partners. Market Center refers to the superblock and the area surrounding it.

Lexington Square promises to return the West Side to its former glory. Now a conglomeration of low-rise, aging buildings, the superblock of the 1960s was a commerce hub, boasting Stewart’s, Hutzler’s and Hochschild Kohn department stores.

“The small shops, the local businesspeople that have had shops there through the hard times will ride the wave as the whole Market Center achieves a resurgence,” Pope said.

Along with the retail space, the $250 million Lexington Square development would include 400 apartments that would be on floors above the stores and 924 parking spaces. The superblock would get a major facelift for the project. Many of the buildings would likely be demolished, developers said, adding that plans are preliminary and subject to approval by city planners.

“Our vision is to create a retail destination with a quality residential component,” said John Smallwood, vice president of development for BLDG Management Co. Inc., which is part of the development team.

Lexington Square Partners’ announcement comes just two weeks after a deal between Baltimore and the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Inc., the powerful $2 billion charity that owns about half of the superblock but was opposed to development. The city, which in early 2005 awarded the superblock to developers now with Lexington Square Partners, threatened to use eminent domain to seize the foundation’s properties if the charity refused to cooperate.

But after months of negotiations, the Weinberg Foundation agreed to exchange its superblock holdings for nearby properties the city owns or would acquire, as well as a to-be-determined sum of money to pay for the difference in value.

The swap would clear the path for Lexington Square Partners. It would also give the Weinberg Foundation control of the city block bordered by Park Avenue, West Clay, Howard and West Lexington streets, which it plans to develop with Baltimore’s Cordish Co.

Developers said they hoped to begin construction on Lexington Square by the end of the year. But the city must tie up several loose ends before that can happen, including gaining control of properties and transferring them to Lexington Square Partners and the Weinberg Foundation.

That could prove difficult with a recent Court of Appeals ruling curbing the city’s ability to perform “quick-take” condemnation, an expedited process for property seizure which the city intends to use to assemble superblock properties. The city must also contend with three lawsuits challenging various aspects of the superblock project.

Mayor Sheila Dixon applauded plans for Lexington Square, saying the project offers an opportunity to update the West Side while incorporating existing merchants, many of whom will be displaced during development.

“The developers and BDC will reach out to existing businesses to discuss how they can participate in this project,” she said at the news conference.

J. Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc., said he was thrilled that Lexington Square Partners has completed designs for the superblock.

Fowler also said he hopes developers keep local businesses in the loop.

“National retailers are helpful because they attract people to a destination,” Fowler said. “But it’s the local retailers that add some of the charm.”
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Old April 12th, 2007, 03:07 AM   #2808
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbane View Post
Can't find an article on the Sun's website yet. Furthermore the Press Releases by the Mayor's Office and by the BDC are apparently not available online yet.

But if anyone's interested: there will be two floors of retail facing Lexington, Howard, and Fayette (structured parking will be mainly facing Park Ave.). The street level retail will constitute of regular sized stores whereas the second floor will have all the space for Anchor retail (the likes of Circuit City or Target etc.).Two residential towers will rise above the retail: one tower will be located on the corner of Lexington and Park, the other will be on the corner of Howard and Fayette. The two towers will be slightly taller than the tower at Centerpoint.
hmmm, slightly taller than the centerpoint tower. sounds like decent height. i can't wait for this project to finally get off the ground. according to the maryland daily record, with all the tie-ups the developers are going to endure, my guess is that it'll start sometime next spring.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:19 AM   #2809
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You're welcome.

To add a little bit to the comments already made: the drawings show that the historic buildings on the small (almost triangular) block bounded by Lexington, Park, Liberty, and Marion St. will remain and that an infill building of the same bulk as the current buildings will replace the non-historic structure there. The art-deco building where the Lot Store is at will remain.

The two residential towers will be rectangular, probably with the intent to maximize the views of the Inner Harbor (not sure how much could be seen from the Westside). The project is envisioning a lot more new construction, and far less preservation of historic buildings than Centerpoint in order to create large floor plates that will accomodate large retailers (something that would be hard to do by joining the historic buildings due to differing floor levels).
Hmm..

Does this mean they are going to demolish the relatively large building at the SW corner of Lexington and Park (can't think of what that building is)?

Will Marion St be closed and filled in? I'm curious (of course ) how they'll fit the 924 parking spaces in there. Certainly, if any parking is to be street adjacent it should be on Park (no pun). The Fayette idea by the Weinberg's was bad.

Maybe they'll be some UG parking, the second floor retail plate and access to levels of parking above the retail plate via the Park Ave entrance. Can't wait to see the renderings.

Nate
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:59 AM   #2810
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Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
Hmm..

Does this mean they are going to demolish the relatively large building at the SW corner of Lexington and Park (can't think of what that building is)?

Will Marion St be closed and filled in? I'm curious (of course ) how they'll fit the 924 parking spaces in there. Certainly, if any parking is to be street adjacent it should be on Park (no pun). The Fayette idea by the Weinberg's was bad.

Maybe they'll be some UG parking, the second floor retail plate and access to levels of parking above the retail plate via the Park Ave entrance. Can't wait to see the renderings.

Nate
I think that you are referring to the Guttman building (where the "Youngworld" store used to be located at). The developer plans to demolish it in order to make place for the retail and one of the two residential towers. Keep in mind, however, that the Maryland Historical Trust has a right to review the developer's plan. The Guttman building (like many other buildings in that block) is colored yellow in the 2001 Memorandum of Agreement between the City and the MHT. This means that it's considered a contributing building, and that the developer has to make efforts to preserve it. The developer can demolish it, however, if he can successfully demonstrate that it's economically unfeasible to preserve it.

The portion of Marion Street between Howard and Park will disappear, however the section between Park and Liberty will remain. The parking can fit because it will take up most of the street frontage of Park Ave. between Lexington and Fayette. There will be one level of underground parking (I think, not 100% sure I remember correctly) and a few floors of above-grade structured parking. Basically the non-parking portion of the developer will be U-shaped and front Lexington, Howard, and Fayette. The parking will be surrounded by retail on three sides and will be bounded by Park Ave. on the fourth side. Hope that clears it up a bit
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Old April 12th, 2007, 05:17 AM   #2811
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The whole MHT memorandum could be another significant wrench in the already unmoving cogs of this project. It's been awhile since I've taken a look at the Guttman building. My recollection is that it would be feasible for adaptive reuse and renovation. I can't remember if I liked it enough to keep however.

It seems that somehow the parking and the tower on the Park Ave side would be merged and incorporated into each other instead of being seperate. Did you attend the press conference and see this? Are the renderings available on line?

Thanks
Nate
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Old April 12th, 2007, 05:43 AM   #2812
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The entire large block bounded by Lexington, Howard ,Fayette, and Park will be redeveloped in one continuous structure (except for the buildings which are not part of the Lexington Square Partners' redevelopment such as the one on the corner of Park and Fayette or the one where the "Rainbow" store is located at on Howard St.). The two towers will rise above the retail and will have lobbies facing Lexington St. and Fayette St. respectively. The parking is therefore incorporated in this large structure and will include a loading and unloading area for the stores facing Lexington, Fayette, and Howard.

I don't know of any renderings that are available online, but press kits were distributed and those should contain renderings and schematic plans (I am not a journalist so I don't have one).

Last edited by urbane; April 12th, 2007 at 05:49 AM.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #2813
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He is basically building it for his own team. The circus, concerts and the Ice Capades are just the icing on the cake.

If Baltimore really supported an NBA team then the Bullets would still be here.
Well there are 700,000 more people in the Baltimore MSA now than there were when the Bullets left, and there are more moving in every day.

A Stadium Authority study a few years back said the Baltimore Market can support 1 more pro sports team.

I'll say it again, if you have the money to buy a team, you can move it and nothing can be done about it! Period. (This applies to every sport but Baseball)

Any arena that doesn't seat at least 18,000 people is a waste of money.

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Old April 12th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #2814
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Towering vision for west side
Plans are shown for retail shops, apartment towers

By Lorraine Mirabella
Sun reporter
Originally published April 12, 2007



THERE IS ANOTHER RENDERING IN THE PRINT EDITION OF THE SUN THAT IS NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE. THEY BOTH SEEM TO BE OLD BECAUSE THEY SHOW THE LIGHTED ARCHES ON HOWARD STREET AND, AS WE ALL KNOW, THEY BIT THE DUST LAST YEAR.

More than two years after being chosen to transform the heart of downtown Baltimore's old retail district into a revitalized urban neighborhood, developers unveiled yesterday the first detailed plans for a three-block area of the superblock showing two apartment towers as tall as 14 stories and a mix of local and national retailers.

Lexington Square Partners LLC plans a $250 million mixed-use project with 400 one- and two-bedroom apartments, 900 parking spaces and 300,000 square feet of retail with small shops lining the street and destination retailers on two upper stories along Fayette, Howard, Lexington and Liberty streets on Baltimore's west side.

During a news event with Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday at City Hall, the developers said they are talking with national chains and plan to market the project at next month's International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas. Developers, who have no commitments yet from retailers, envision anchoring the project with chains such as Circuit City or Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Victoria's Secret and H&M. "This represents a bold and new statement for the west side," that would include both small merchants who hung on as the area deteriorated and national chains, Dixon said.

The blighted swath of downtown is the largest redevelopment site on the west side and considered the linchpin for bringing residents, shops and businesses to a deteriorated stretch between Charles Center to the east and the University of Maryland complex to the west. "We hope to re-create the retail that the area used to be," said John Smallwood, vice president of development for BLDG Management Co. Inc., a New York-based real estate investment company headed by Lloyd Goldman.

BLDG is one of the partner companies in Lexington Square, along with Next Generation Chera LLC, the Feil Organization and the Dawson Co. "We have a long road ahead and need the residents and businesses to get behind this vision," Smallwood said. Plans, which still must undergo public scrutiny and city design review, show apartment towers at Fayette and Howard streets and at Lexington Street and Park Avenue, with cars able to enter a garage from Park Avenue. The garage would have a rooftop garden that would be accessible from the apartment towers.

Developers are hoping to take title on the land from the city by the end of the year, start construction early next year and complete the project within two to three years after that. Since the city adopted an urban renewal plan for the west side in 1999, several large projects have spurred additional redevelopment, including the restored Hippodrome Theatre, the Centerpoint apartment and retail project and conversion of the former Stewart's department store into the world headquarters for Catholic Relief Services.

But the superblock, a stretch of six blocks, has languished. City efforts to acquire property dragged on. Stores were either relocated or closed. Lawsuits challenged the city's selection of a developer and right to acquire and sell property. And shoppers, finding fewer offerings, went elsewhere. Area merchants, who have watched as various versions of redevelopment plans failed to materialize, are still waiting "with bittersweet anticipation," said Linda Frangioni, president of the Market Center Merchants Association, which represents 400 merchants in the shopping district around Lexington Market.

"We've been waiting so long for something to happen, getting our hopes up and having it fall through again," said Frangioni, whose Grandma's Candle Shop was relocated from West Baltimore Street to Saratoga Street to make way for redevelopment. "We want to see this happen." M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of Baltimore Development Corp., said the city and the developers were trying to work with existing small merchants. In one case, the BDC reversed its position this week and told Yon O. Park, owner of Modern Mode at 105 W. Lexington St., that she will be able to stay.

Last month, the city cleared a major hurdle that had stalled the project when it reached an agreement with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation over Weinberg-owned properties included in the Lexington Square project. The two sides agreed to a land swap that will allow Weinberg and the Cordish Co. to redevelop a block on the north side of Lexington Street.

But other hurdles remain. The city must still acquire properties to turn over to both development teams and will probably be forced to use condemnation powers to do so. It also faces several lawsuits. Several owners of property in the Lexington Square development area challenged the validity of BDC's selection of the developer in 2004 in a closed meeting. That case was sent back to Baltimore Circuit Court by the Maryland Court of Appeals and is set for trial July 30, said attorney John C. Murphy, who represents the property owners.

Another lawsuit against BDC has been filed by companies controlled by Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos and developer David Hillman. That suit argues that the agreement between the city and Lexington Square Partners improperly included a key parcel not listed in the original bid package and inappropriately allows the developer to deduct nearly half of the $21.6 million purchase price for expenses such as demolition and environmental remediation. An attorney for the plaintiffs, M. Albert Figinski , said yesterday that the city has until the end of the month to answer the complaint. He said he has not seen the Lexington Square plans.

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; April 12th, 2007 at 03:05 PM.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #2815
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i ahvn't seen the entire project layout proposed by the lexington square group, but i'm not impressed by the little rendering in the photo. i'd be much happier with a single 28 story apartment tower than with twin 14 floor structures. one of the problems i see with baltimore is its lack of sense of place. the last thing we need is yet another brick mid-rise building. something in the vein of the zenith would really stick out in that area and become a landmark building. at the same time, the lack of one of the two proposed buildings would gain view corridors and light at the street level.

just my initial 2 cents......
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #2816
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I suppose I should preface this statement by saying that I, too, am unimpressed by this rendering (and I had an opportunity to see a larger version in the print version of the Sun). The tower itself is very….blah. I’d love to see something bolder, but unless MICA is involved, developers tend to be uber-conservative in the design of their projects. I’m not sure how a 28-30 story tower would work in that area. I’m fine with the residential towers being just taller than the Centerpoint tower. Programmatically, the additional height wouldn’t really accomplish anything other than shoving more people into the neighborhood. Additional infill development will probably take care of that anyway.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #2817
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I'd like to see SOMETHING taller than 20 stories built in the West Side just to add balance to the skyline. There are no modern (After 1950) highrises further west than Charles Center.

Perhaps the Whine/Cordish project next to Stewart's will be taller. I suspect that it will because the footprint of the site is small. Also, the parcel just put out for bids last week has the potential of holding a slender tower.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #2818
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I think the Design Collective Master Plan for the Westside avoids tall highrises and those with points. I'd have to go back and look at it, but I tend to recall structures taller than about 20 stories being discouraged. I kinda agree.

Taller than Mt. Vernon, shorter than the CDB/Inner Harbor.

From that photos, one really can't tell squat as far as I'm concerned. The devils of "coolness" and "what's good" are certainly in details we can't see from that little photo rendering.

Nate
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Old April 12th, 2007, 05:47 PM   #2819
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Hale's Arena

All the details are really unclear at this point. It seems as though he is saying that he wants to build another arena incase the old one is demolished(and a new one built on the same lot), but if thats the case then Baltimore would end up with two arenas? Am I misinterpreting, I've read all of the articles and seen his interviews and that seems to be what he is saying.

But at the same time he is saying there is no reason to build a bigger arena because Baltimore wouldn't be able to have an NBA or NHL team because of Washington. Which is bunk because A) you never know B) we should be ready just in case. And as stated before having a 19,000 seat arena isn't just suitable for Professional sports teams, many different types of events could come to Baltimore such as political conventions and, big name concerts NCAA Tournament, Local Bball tournaments, and others im forgetting im sure. One poster had a nice list of some of the things that can be done with a sizable arena.

So I guess my point is, Hale seems to be trying to entice the politcians to use public money to build his arena. Which may or may not be the right thing to do legally, since he owns the naming rights to 1st Mariner. But if he is telling them that it wouldnt be productive to spend money on another venue, just because he wants every dime he can get for his own venue then I have a serious problem with his arena.

It would be good to have two arenas, and I support Ed Hale's determination to get another arena and spruce up the canton area. But I don't like how he is making it seem as though getting another NBA sized arena would be a bad idea.We will NEVER have an NBA or NHL team if we don't even take the time to get a venue for them to play in.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #2820
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Superblock developers envision 'retail destination'

Baltimore Business Journal - 9:41 AM EDT Thursday, April 12, 2007by Daniel J. SernovitzStaff

Developers for a large portion of Baltimore's west side hope to convert the so-called superblock into a $250 million mixed use development to serve as an economic anchor for the rest of the neighborhood.

"What we're proposing to create is a retail destination" said John Smallwood, vice president of development for BLDG Management Co. Inc., which has been retained by developer Lexington Square Partners LLC for the project in the economically depressed part of downtown. "We have a long road ahead and we really need the residents and the businesses to get behind this."


During a news conference at City Hall Wednesday afternoon, Smallwood and other representatives of Lexington Square detailed their emerging vision for their slice of the superblock. As proposed, their plans would include creating a unified complex spanning what is now two city blocks starting from West Fayette and Howard streets and extending to West Lexington Street and Park Avenue. Part of their plans call for closing off Marion Street to vehicular traffic from Park Avenue to Howard Street.

The developers upgraded their plans and are now calling for about 312,600 square feet of retail space, from initial estimates of 200,000 square feet. Their plans also include a 924-space, seven-story parking garage, and 400

apartment units divided between two 14-story high-rise towers. They are calling the project Lexington Square, Baltimore.

The developers are also planning to redevelop a smaller portion of the superblock bounded by Park Avenue, West Lexington, Liberty and Marion streets.

Bailey Pope, vice president of design and construction for the Dawson Co., one of the Lexington Square partners, said he hopes to attract a mix of small merchants on the ground floor of the complex and larger merchants in the upper floors. Pope said that layout would let the developers create enough space for retailers to take spaces of about 70,000 square feet over two floors.

With that much individual retail space, he said, the developers should be able to attract the caliber of retail tenant needed to turn the development into an economic driver for the area. The developers have retained retail brokerage firm Williams Jackson Ewing to market the space to potential tenants, and Pope said the project will be represented at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers to be held in late May, as well as at a smaller event to be held here in Baltimore.

M.J. "Jay Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., said the city hopes to work with as many merchants as possible to ensure they are not displaced as part of the redevelopment effort. During the press conference, he said the city has reached a deal to let one Lexington Street merchant, Kee Park, continue to operate from her shop at 105 W. Lexington St.

The project is viewed by many city officials, including Mayor Sheila Dixon, as an important effort in solidifying progress that has been made in other parts of the city's west side, including private residential developments along Liberty and Howard Streets. The superblock itself is an economically depressed business district, which contains a small number of merchants amid a large number of vacant and boarded-up storefronts.

The developers have pledged to work closely with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and the Cordish Co., which is developing a smaller portion of the superblock north of West Lexington Street, to coordinate their efforts. Dawson Co. Executive Vice President S. Jerome Hagley III said he believes coordinating with the Weinberg Foundation will help the developers attract new tenants who might otherwise be concerned about a lack of progress with other parts of the superblock.



I would have to add to the comments about and say that I too am unimpressed. This project looks very uninspiring. Don't get me wrong, I never expected a sleek 50 story tower out of this deal or anything like that, but I say this because of the amount of retail they're including. Too much retail isn't good.
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