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Old April 18th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #2961
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A moment of silence please....

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Old April 18th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #2962
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterSmith View Post
Canton tower plan appears headed for defeat
Proposal goes before City Council's land use committee Wednesday
By Jill Rosen
Sun Reporter
Originally published April 17, 2007, 9:44 PM EDT
A $75 million proposed waterfront tower that has riled Canton for nearly two years might become the first significant Baltimore project to die in recent memory.

The Icon, which goes before the City Council's land use committee Wednesday evening, faces unambiguous opposition from key city leaders, including the council member representing the Southeast Baltimore district and Mayor Sheila Dixon. With no overt support on the council and a thumbs-down from the mayor who must ultimately sign the bill, officials say the project is likely to die in committee.

City Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector said Tuesday that things look so grim for the project that there was talk of canceling Wednesday's hearing.

"What is the value of even having the hearing if you know its going to be dead on arrival?" Specter said. "Recognizing that no matter what the committee would do, the mayor would not sign it."

Andy Frank, Baltimore's deputy mayor for development, said Dixon will not support the Icon because she shares the Canton community's concerns about how the tower might overload congested Boston Street.

"This project has shone a light on traffic and density in Southeast Baltimore, and it's an appropriate light," Frank said. "I have the same concerns the mayor has."

The Icon, a condominium and retail project, would rise about 260 feet, or 23 stories, from what is now a parking lot for the Lighthouse Point shopping center, a nondescript waterfront plaza anchored by a Blockbuster Video.

Before it can be built, the City Council must allow what is called a "major amendment" to Lighthouse Point's 1980s building plan so that the developers could put more on the property than what was originally allowed.

To build higher than 72 feet, the developers also need an amendment to Canton's urban renewal ordinance.

These changes have not only been endorsed by the city's Planning Department, but also by Baltimore's Planning Commission and its design review panel.

Despite the opposition from community and city leaders, the project's developers remain confident that the Icon will be built.

Marco Greenberg, vice president of the Timonium-based Cignal Corp., said the council should defer to city planners.

"The experts are recommending this thing, and I don't know how the administration can ignore the recommendation of city agencies," he said. "Ultimately [the project is] good for the neighborhood, and it's good for the city."

In the summer of 2005, Cignal began introducing the planned Icon to Canton's cluster of community associations, who greeted what was then a more ambitious proposal -- taller and with an ad joining hotel -- with skepticism.

One association after another declared the project overwhelming and too much building for the space.

That sentiment did not change -- even as Cignal scaled back its plans.

"I think there is a small but very vocal group in the community who just doesn't want to see anything built on the site," Greenberg said. "'Don't build anything' is not a compromise."

Nancy A. Braymer, a Canton Square resident and Icon opponent, insists the project is inappropriate for the neighborhood -- too tall and too dense.

"What positive justification has the developer and the Planning Department offered in support of this proposal?" she said. "The only rationale that has been articulated is that currently, the property is not being put to 'its highest and best use.' 'Highest' is not the same as 'best.'" Braymer acknowledges that the city could use the $3.5 million a year in taxes Cignal says the Icon will deliver. But, she adds, it is not worth it.

"This economic justification is short-sighted," she said, "and does not consider the costs and benefits to the surrounding community and the city."

In the weeks leading up to Wednesday's hearing, lobbying by the community and the developers has -- in the words of City Councilman Edward L. Reisinger, who heads the land use committee -- been aggressive.

Teams of neighborhood association leaders have gone from one council member's office to another, just as the developer and its attorneys have. Cignal, its principal and its partners have also given thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Dixon, her predecessor, Martin O'Malley, and council members.

Both sides are expected to show up Wednesday night with considerable representation. The hearing begins at 5 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall.

To advance, the Icon needs four votes from the seven-member land use committee. In addition to Spector, three members -- Canton's representative James B. Kraft, Mary Pat Clarke, and Kenneth N. Harris Sr. -- have stated their opposition.

Other committee members have told The Sun that they'll make up their minds after the hearing.

"I'm concerned about the notion of turning [the original building plan] on its head," Clarke said. "There were certain assurances there. All of a sudden, it's wide open to renegotiation, and I don't think that's healthy for stability."

Kraft, who has been opposed to the project almost from the beginning and refused late last year to sponsor the necessary bills -- leaving the job to Dixon -- said despite the developer's claim, he and the community are not opposed to seeing something built at Lighthouse Point -- just not the Icon.

"It's not a question of being anti-development. It's a question of this is the wrong project in the wrong place," he said, adding that city planners are wrong to endorse it. "It's just a bad proposal."

With a number of intensive developments in the pipeline for Canton, each expected to put pressure on streets, the mayor has asked the city's transportation department to list traffic abatement projects planned for the area, Frank said.

"We can't just look at the Icon -- it's an aggregate," he said.

Kraft thinks the rest of the council will join Dixon -- and him -- in defeating the Icon.

"It's not over till it's over," he said, "but I feel confident that the members of the committee are going to support the people in the community."
The NIBMYs are throbbing.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 12:04 PM   #2963
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With respect to the families and the friends of the fallen...
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Old April 18th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #2964
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With respect to the families and the friends of the fallen...
We have so many VT graduates working at our firm. One of my engineers got engaged this past fall in front of the engineering building where so many were killed. The exact spot where he was was shown on the news as bodies were carried out of the building. So close to home. So unreal. So much evil in this world....
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Old April 18th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #2965
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Originally Posted by DemolitionDave View Post
Baltimore is a town full of ideas and short of money. People keep forgetting the old adage "Money talks and Bullsh*t walks".
If Hale or Paterakis want to build something it's done. The rest of them are just pie in the sky people.

The only successful project Pat Turner has had was renovating a bowling alley and people think he is going to actually build this huge Westport project.
Richard Clake's Big idea is still a parking lot.
I will believe Naing's Towers when I see them.
How long has it taken the Ritz to get off of the ground and it will be a bust before too long.
Harborview is a big flop.
The Icon will never happen.

Baltimore isn't going to take off until the big out of town money rolls in and who knows when that is going to happen?

You can keep going on and on.
Pat has a few more successful projects under his belt. General Hospital Condos on Light Street are about sold up. That plus its associated garage was upwards of $40,000,000. Not gigantic, but pretty substantial. Silo point is taking off. That will be will over $200,000,000 pretty soon. Again getting big. He controls the land at Westport and that is half the battle. If he can get financing and assemble the right design team, it will happen, depending on the market. He is a gambler and that is what is needed to make the big ones happen.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #2966
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
With respect to the families and the friends of the fallen...
absolutely.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 03:17 PM   #2967
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffbaltimore View Post
We have so many VT graduates working at our firm. One of my engineers got engaged this past fall in front of the engineering building where so many were killed. The exact spot where he was was shown on the news as bodies were carried out of the building. So close to home. So unreal. So much evil in this world....
......yeah, you're right. it kinda' makes you wonder where is this world headed in the future.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #2968
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Jaramillo View Post
Personally I think that it will be many moons before the Naing towers materialise, if ever. I mean look how long 1 Light Street or 300 E. Pratt St. has been "proposed" and still nufink! And those two are in areas that have seen a lot of development around them.

I wonder when this forum will go to 3000 + posts, it's not very far numerically speaking although there hasn't been a lot of things to talk about recently.
Inside bits for this group.

You will see something start on Naings site before the Fall (and yes the design has changed, both buildings are beautiful)

ARCWheeler has dropped Stern as the architect on 10 IH, that's why there has been a delay, they have selected a Texas firm to take the place.

Also, calling the Ritz a bust is far from legit (from Dave's comment) they are selling units as soon as they are released and have a waiting list in the 100's of people ready to buy.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #2969
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Construction View Post
Inside bits for this group.

You will see something start on Naings site before the Fall (and yes the design has changed, both buildings are beautiful)

ARCWheeler has dropped Stern as the architect on 10 IH, that's why there has been a delay, they have selected a Texas firm to take the place.

Also, calling the Ritz a bust is far from legit (from Dave's comment) they are selling units as soon as they are released and have a waiting list in the 100's of people ready to buy.
Interesting, do you have any updated pictures?
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Old April 18th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #2970
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasonsInquiries View Post
......yeah, you're right. it kinda' makes you wonder where is this world headed in the future.
I started to respond to this post and it evolved into this morning's entry into my blog:

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

The following began as a response to a post (the body of the post is the title of this entry) on a message board I frequent. It inspired the following:

Title: "It Kinda makes you wonder where this world in headed in the furture."

I think the future is now.

The news outlets have moved from reporting the actual event of the tragedy to attempting to understand the psyche of Cho Seung-hui, the 23 year old South Korean undergraduate responsible for the carnage at Virginia Tech. Most reports describe this kid as a ‘loner’, an ‘outsider’ and ‘clearly disturbed. There are a bunch of clearly disturbed people in this world who will NEVER shoot and kill 32 people and injure a number of others. This kid had a clear mean streak in him.

Its unfortunate, but he isn’t alone. Many of us are flat-out mean and don’t even realize it.

But how did this happen?

We've developed a culture of meanness and somehow it’s become less reprehensible and garners less reaction than ever before. Common decency seems to have fallen nearly completely off most people's radar. We don't say hello when we pass each other on the streets or standing next to each other on the Metro. Hell, I’ve been jogging along the same route for nearly a year and have seen the same lady every single day and never even say hello. I often look pass the homeless solicitors while walking down the street or waiting at the stop light in my car without giving a single thought to his/her situation.

We've somehow lost our way and the truly disparaging thing is nobody seems to be enraged by it.

Think about you're emotions when you watch your local news reports. Local news sucks primarily because producers rarely have time to report anything other than the murders and violent crime that seemingly occurs daily. We hear it so often that it doesn’t even bother us anymore. We may be upset or disappointed by it, but how many of us are truly incensed enough to actually do something other than grumble? Many of us don't even skip a beat, bat an eyelash or break stride. We've been desensitized and that’s unfortunate. An unscrupulous and sometimes just plain mean nature has somehow woven itself into our social fabric.

I wonder when this happened…
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Old April 18th, 2007, 05:00 PM   #2971
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double post...my bad.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 06:20 PM   #2972
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Construction View Post
You will see something start on Naings site before the Fall (and yes the design has changed, both buildings are beautiful)
BEFORE the fall? i doubted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Construction View Post
ARCWheeler has dropped Stern as the architect on 10 IH, that's why there has been a delay, they have selected a Texas firm to take the place.
can't wait to see what this firm from the lone star state has in store for us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Construction View Post
Also, calling the Ritz a bust is far from legit (from Dave's comment) they are selling units as soon as they are released and have a waiting list in the 100's of people ready to buy.
wow!! i had no idea that the ritz was this successful. the waiting list well into the 100's says alot about baltimore's demand for housing.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 06:25 PM   #2973
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I would love to see some updated renderings for the Naing towers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Construction View Post
Inside bits for this group.

You will see something start on Naings site before the Fall (and yes the design has changed, both buildings are beautiful)

ARCWheeler has dropped Stern as the architect on 10 IH, that's why there has been a delay, they have selected a Texas firm to take the place.

Also, calling the Ritz a bust is far from legit (from Dave's comment) they are selling units as soon as they are released and have a waiting list in the 100's of people ready to buy.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 07:53 PM   #2974
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I am not buying the hype on the Ritz. Let me get this straight, there are hundreds of people wating in line to buy condo's that start at $1.3 and that are willing to spend another $20k minimum annually in taxes and condo fees? In Baltimore? It begs the question, Who are these people?? Meanwhile there is a glut of million $$ condos elsewhere on the market.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 08:19 PM   #2975
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemolitionDave View Post
I am not buying the hype on the Ritz. Let me get this straight, there are hundreds of people wating in line to buy condo's that start at $1.3 and that are willing to spend another $20k minimum annually in taxes and condo fees? In Baltimore? It begs the question, Who are these people?? Meanwhile there is a glut of million $$ condos elsewhere on the market.
It almost sounds as though your upset that they have sold for a lot of money and the city will receive lots of tax dollars.. what are you upset with exactly?? What is this hype that you're talking about anyway??

How can anyone doubt the Ritz's SUCCESS

And as for the earlier comments about its being ugly... ITS UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!! what do you expect???
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Old April 18th, 2007, 08:25 PM   #2976
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Does anyone know when the MICA dorm is supposed to be delivered?? Whats up with bolton hill in general. I havent heard anything about UB in a while.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 08:46 PM   #2977
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemolitionDave View Post
I am not buying the hype on the Ritz. Let me get this straight, there are hundreds of people wating in line to buy condo's that start at $1.3 and that are willing to spend another $20k minimum annually in taxes and condo fees? In Baltimore? It begs the question, Who are these people?? Meanwhile there is a glut of million $$ condos elsewhere on the market.
It's true. Not sure about how big the waiting list is, but there have been no unsold condos in the Ritz development. Some of the wealthy may live there, but I suspect many will be using it as a second, or even third, home.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 08:56 PM   #2978
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemolitionDave View Post
I am not buying the hype on the Ritz. Let me get this straight, there are hundreds of people wating in line to buy condo's that start at $1.3 and that are willing to spend another $20k minimum annually in taxes and condo fees? In Baltimore? It begs the question, Who are these people?? Meanwhile there is a glut of million $$ condos elsewhere on the market.
DD: try the other side of the bed tomorrow morning.

Seriously, Ritz has built a powerful luxury brand worldwide over the years. They're pulling in old Balto money and nouveaus, and folks from out of town.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #2979
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So, you mean to tell me the Ritz is 100% sold out?

A 100% sell out doesn't exactly equate to a success, especially in Baltimore. I remember in the not so distant past, that one developer's project hit the skids and he strong amed the contractors on the job into each buying a condo. He also cut a deal with his friends and family to buy units at cost and he would buy them back at a later date. That way he could change his financing from a construction loan to a more attractive permanent mortgage.
Is this development successful? The odds are good in that he is going to go belly up shortly.

On another note concerning the Ritz, I read recently that the original developer of the site has been named one of Miami's "Top 10 Developers"
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Old April 18th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #2980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemolitionDave View Post
I am not buying the hype on the Ritz. Let me get this straight, there are hundreds of people wating in line to buy condo's that start at $1.3 and that are willing to spend another $20k minimum annually in taxes and condo fees? In Baltimore? It begs the question, Who are these people?? Meanwhile there is a glut of million $$ condos elsewhere on the market.
Dave I asked you eariler in this thread about where you got the figure that UA was looking for 400k of space.

Then you posted a pessimistic and somewhat incorrect post on 'big name' investors avoiding the city and how large projects wouldn't get off the ground.

Large projects like the Ritz right????? Hmm. Is that Hale or Paterakis? (since they are the only two getting anything done in the city. Streuver must be a figment of my imagination. Yeah so is the Zenith....)

Now you say you don't buy the amount of demand for the Ritz.

Do you have any figures/research to back up your assertions or are you just talking out of your arse?
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