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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #3141
getontrac
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High Oil Prices

What does everyone think of rising oil prices on urban development?--Baltimore specifically.

I don't think this quite justifies its own thread, but I wanted the B-more folks to comment.

I think arguments could be made either way. Most business oriented folks will claim it's bad, but I think that higher oil prices bode well for urban development, because urban living is so much more energy efficient than suburban (or pseudo-rural). More people will consider city living and increase demand for housing and business here, while the oil not used to develop suburbs will be allocated for true urban development.

Thoughts?

Nate
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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:43 AM   #3142
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Quabex,
There is a zoning hearing sign on the side of the building facing Safeways' loading dock area.

There hasn't been any official word on the Icon. Passen will just repackage it and try again. Eventually he will suceed.

The area by TV Hill is an old landfill. I wouldn't want to own anything on top of it.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 04:10 AM   #3143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemolitionDave View Post
Quabex,
There is a zoning hearing sign on the side of the building facing Safeways' loading dock area.

There hasn't been any official word on the Icon. Passen will just repackage it and try again. Eventually he will suceed.

The area by TV Hill is an old landfill. I wouldn't want to own anything on top of it.
i drive past that building on lakewood every day. guess i should pay more attention,l huh?!?!?

although passen owns the land, it was cignal development who wanted to build. they built the moorings townhouse project too. passin owns a unit in the moorings but hasn't moved into it yet. he's been between his house in the anchorage and his place in florida (he's one of the extreemely wealthy people you didn't think existed in this city ;-)) i'm meeting with cignal tomorrow and will ask what their future plans are for the site. i doubt they have a contingency plan they're willing to discuss though.

old landfill? didn't know that. probably better suited fo a sports complex than for housing or hospital. do you know if it was natural landfill or public waste?
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Old April 26th, 2007, 04:10 AM   #3144
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Originally Posted by fanofterps View Post
Pratt St. should cater to the wealthy population or upper middle-class.
I really hope you didn't mean what you said in this statement. It should cater to everyone who can afford it, not just the rich and the wealthy.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 04:28 AM   #3145
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I don't want to put words in fanofterps's mouth, but I think what he meant, and I tend to agree, is that Pratt St. should cater our wealthy and upper-middle class tastes. We tend to think of places like Saks Fifth Ave. as stores for the very rich, but I know at least a few people who aren't upper class, but still indulge themselves in places like Saks, even if only for the sales and rebates. I'm not going to say that I think we should have upscale retail, but if we are gonna have it, I agree that Pratt St. is the best place for it.
The Inner Harbor area is our best people-watching locale, and for some odd reason, watching people shop at Marshall's just doesn't sound as exciting as watching people shop at Bloomingdale's.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 04:49 AM   #3146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
What does everyone think of rising oil prices on urban development?--Baltimore specifically.

I don't think this quite justifies its own thread, but I wanted the B-more folks to comment.

I think arguments could be made either way. Most business oriented folks will claim it's bad, but I think that higher oil prices bode well for urban development, because urban living is so much more energy efficient than suburban (or pseudo-rural). More people will consider city living and increase demand for housing and business here, while the oil not used to develop suburbs will be allocated for true urban development.

Thoughts?

Nate

Good question, Nate. I'm also interested to hear what Baltimoreans have to say, so I can compare them with my experiences in Miami. I know here that I've seen more brand new Ford Expeditions and Chevy Tahoes in the last two months than ever before, so I don't think the rising gas prices are really having an effect on anyone.

I personally find the rising gas prices to be bittersweet. I hope they lead towards us, as a society, taking measures in the direction of a more responsible lifestyle. I guess you could say I have a bit of a soft spot for the environment, so I'd love to see our reliance on the automobile diminish; and if it promotes urban development, then that would be a feather in the cap. But I also empathize with those who rely on the car as their only practicle means of transportation, and have been financially burdened by rising gas prices.

I'm lucky enough to live only three miles from my university, so I can usually go about two weeks before I'm forced to fill up again; and since my Honda Civic only has an 8 gallon tank, the price increase doesn't drastically impact my receipt. Even still though, I'm actually selling my car at the end of this semester, and hope that it will be the last time that I ever own an automobile. It'll be a difficult adjustment, I'm sure, since Miami's bus system is far and wide the worst I've ever had the "pleasure" of riding.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 05:11 AM   #3147
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Originally Posted by AHHHHH View Post
does anyone know what's goin on with Towson Commons? i've been hearing a little about a facelift there, and there was a rumor that a thirty story office building was going there. I haven't heard anything on here yet, and was just wondering if anyone knew anything
This isn't anything especially new but when the TC re-do was announced, they were taking about $30 million worth of upgrades. That would not seem to add up to a 30 story building, but it's a pretty significant facelift. They also bought the office building around the corner on Chesapeake Ave. I would be happy if they could go back to the way it was with Border's and some restaurants. It's pretty ratty in its current limbo.

Last edited by scando; April 26th, 2007 at 05:25 AM.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 05:12 AM   #3148
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Agree

Baltimore has no high-end retail department stores in the city right now. We need some to maintain increase our tax base over the long haul


Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterSmith View Post
I don't want to put words in fanofterps's mouth, but I think what he meant, and I tend to agree, is that Pratt St. should cater our wealthy and upper-middle class tastes. We tend to think of places like Saks Fifth Ave. as stores for the very rich, but I know at least a few people who aren't upper class, but still indulge themselves in places like Saks, even if only for the sales and rebates. I'm not going to say that I think we should have upscale retail, but if we are gonna have it, I agree that Pratt St. is the best place for it.
The Inner Harbor area is our best people-watching locale, and for some odd reason, watching people shop at Marshall's just doesn't sound as exciting as watching people shop at Bloomingdale's.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 05:24 AM   #3149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterSmith View Post
I don't want to put words in fanofterps's mouth, but I think what he meant, and I tend to agree, is that Pratt St. should cater our wealthy and upper-middle class tastes. We tend to think of places like Saks Fifth Ave. as stores for the very rich, but I know at least a few people who aren't upper class, but still indulge themselves in places like Saks, even if only for the sales and rebates. I'm not going to say that I think we should have upscale retail, but if we are gonna have it, I agree that Pratt St. is the best place for it.
The Inner Harbor area is our best people-watching locale, and for some odd reason, watching people shop at Marshall's just doesn't sound as exciting as watching people shop at Bloomingdale's.
Pratt St wouldn't do well to have too much high end. It's customer base needs to include not only high-end Ritz dwellers but tourists, lunchers and local people visiting the harbor. Note that a big part of the new retail there now includes Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Urban Outfitters and an upcoming Panera, all of which are pretty middle of the road. Even Filene's is ostensibly discounted good stuff. We just don't have enough income heft there to support a lot of high end retail.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 05:29 AM   #3150
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Originally Posted by PeterSmith View Post
Good question, Nate. I'm also interested to hear what Baltimoreans have to say, so I can compare them with my experiences in Miami. I know here that I've seen more brand new Ford Expeditions and Chevy Tahoes in the last two months than ever before, so I don't think the rising gas prices are really having an effect on anyone.

I personally find the rising gas prices to be bittersweet. I hope they lead towards us, as a society, taking measures in the direction of a more responsible lifestyle. I guess you could say I have a bit of a soft spot for the environment, so I'd love to see our reliance on the automobile diminish; and if it promotes urban development, then that would be a feather in the cap. But I also empathize with those who rely on the car as their only practicle means of transportation, and have been financially burdened by rising gas prices.

I'm lucky enough to live only three miles from my university, so I can usually go about two weeks before I'm forced to fill up again; and since my Honda Civic only has an 8 gallon tank, the price increase doesn't drastically impact my receipt. Even still though, I'm actually selling my car at the end of this semester, and hope that it will be the last time that I ever own an automobile. It'll be a difficult adjustment, I'm sure, since Miami's bus system is far and wide the worst I've ever had the "pleasure" of riding.
I seem to be seeing changes over the past couple years. Prius's are everywhere, Civic hybrids common, sometimes driven by macho guys. My wife, a former mini-van driver, got a Scion XB (the boxy one, a fun city car). I have several co-workers who have taken to commuting to the light rail to come downtown. Changes are happening but as to the rate of change...not sure about that.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:07 AM   #3151
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scando View Post
Pratt St wouldn't do well to have too much high end. It's customer base needs to include not only high-end Ritz dwellers but tourists, lunchers and local people visiting the harbor. Note that a big part of the new retail there now includes Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Urban Outfitters and an upcoming Panera, all of which are pretty middle of the road. Even Filene's is ostensibly discounted good stuff. We just don't have enough income heft there to support a lot of high end retail.
Tourists generally love spending their money at higher-end retailers, a la M Street and Wisconsin Ave in DC, as well as Walnut Street in Philly (though even Walnut Street could use a makeover and an additional infusion of shops on its eastern leg). When I visit a city, usually I try to buy one or two things in a higher-end retailer, and a bunch of other things in original cheaper boutiques. Urban Outfitters is a step in this direction--most of their clothing, while geared towards the younger crowd, is quite pricey. The current collection of retailers that you mentioned around the Inner Harbor is quirky--quite fitting for Baltimore's current image, but nothing close to a real retail destination.

I'm not sure if Pratt Street should be the one to bear the high-end retail, but at least one street in the downtown/Inner Harbor vicinity should evolve soon enough. If Pratt Street were to go this route, it would need to happen after it's redesign, in which case it could end up with the same concept as the Champs Elysées in Paris. Of course, this could take a long while. The reason why I don't know if Pratt Street should be the upscale retail street is that I feel as though by continuing to concentrate development on the Inner Harbor, other areas of downtown are being neglected. Let's draw the crowds all over the place to become an even bigger tourist destination. On the other hand, Baltimore also needs something like South Street in Philly, or what Adams Morgan is turning into in DC. While French Connection moved from South Street a couple years ago, artistic and original boutique shops, tattoo and piercing parlors, bars, and other unique and moderately-priced clothing shops (with Adidas and Gap thrown into the mix) are booming.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:10 AM   #3152
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Originally Posted by scando View Post
I seem to be seeing changes over the past couple years. Prius's are everywhere, Civic hybrids common, sometimes driven by macho guys. My wife, a former mini-van driver, got a Scion XB (the boxy one, a fun city car). I have several co-workers who have taken to commuting to the light rail to come downtown. Changes are happening but as to the rate of change...not sure about that.
In the long term, high oil prices are good! We'll be running out of the stuff within the next half-century anyway so let's ween ourselves off of it now so we don't get caught in the future with no alternative and clean energy supply. America needs to look at the new progressive Europe, which, despite its economic problems, is on a safer (and faster) track than we are.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 09:11 AM   #3153
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Originally Posted by jamie_hunt View Post
Think NW corner Calvert and North is a vacant lot that used to be an ice rink years (and years) ago. Are you thinking of the NW corner of Charles and North? Not sure what that is, other than that it's owned by Charles Street Properties, LLC.
Can't believe there's someone else on this board that knows about the North Avenue ice rink. My dad mentioned it often...schoolboy hockey was once played there and I believe minor league as well, which later moved to the Carlins Park (Iceland) rink and then to the Civic Center.

I believe, however, it may have been located further west, in a building that stands between St. Paul and Charles...the one with the two spires.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #3154
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3 low-cost hotels eyed downtown
Developer proposes projects on Front, Saratoga streets
By Jill Rosen
Sun reporter
Originally published April 26, 2007

3 low-cost hotels proposed for downtown






In Baltimore, where a downtown hotel stay easily costs $200 a night, a developer has ambitious plans that would bring three alternatives to the budget-conscious traveler.

Sanket Patel, an Annapolis-based developer, plans to build side-by-side hotels, a $35 million project, on Front Street near the base of the Jones Falls Expressway.

One would be a 63-room Sleep Inn to be built in the old Furncraft building. He would demolish the former Hillen Tire shop next door to build an 11-story Cambria Suites.

Patel also has a 42-room Red Roof Inn in the works for Saratoga Street on the city's west side.

Together, the new hotels would substantially increase Baltimore's low-cost lodging options - particularly in the Inner Harbor area.

"It offers folks who can't otherwise afford to, the ability to stay downtown," Patel said. "Just because they'll be affordable doesn't mean they aren't going to be aesthetically pleasing as well."

The Front Street plans come before the city's architecture review board this morning. On Tuesday, the zoning board is scheduled to consider giving the developer a permit that would allow him to build the hotels in an industrial area.

With the zoning board's blessing, Patel said he would like to start construction immediately. If everything goes as planned, he would open the Sleep Inn next summer and the Cambria Suites about six months later.

He anticipates the Red Roof could open in September next year.

Patel's hotels will be jostling in the Baltimore market with a number of others.

There's the city's convention center hotel, a nearly 800-room Hilton scheduled to open in August 2008 on Pratt Street.

At Harbor East there's a Four Seasons planned, as well as a Homewood Suites and a Hilton Garden Inn under construction.

A developer plans to turn Fells Point's recreation pier into a 130-room Aloft hotel, a less-expensive version of the W Hotel brand.

Two separate skyscraper projects planned along the Inner Harbor include hotel portions.

A 196-room hotel is being talked about for the corner of Charles and Redwood streets, an extended-stay hotel is planned for Charles and Fayette streets, and at the intersection of Calvert and Redwood streets, hotels are rising on two corners - another extended-stay establishment and a boutique inn called Hotel Indigo.

Even a 44-bed hostel, where a night's stay would cost much less than any of Patel's planned hotels, is slated to open as soon as next month in Mount Vernon.

Mary Jo McCulloch, president Maryland Hotel and Lodging Association, said Baltimore could handle all of the new rooms - if they don't all try to open at the same time.

"What we have always said is Baltimore could certainly use some more hotels," she said. "My concern has always been how quickly they come on board. So long as we can spread it out and give the market a chance to absorb them, we'll be OK."

A bigger problem, McCulloch said, is finding people to staff all of these places. It's been hard, she said, for existing hotels.

Patel believes price will give his hotels a niche in the crowded market. Rooms at Sleep Inn will cost about $90, while a stay at Cambria Suites will run $100 to $140.

He's also confident that the location, visible to anyone coming into Baltimore from Interstate 83, will be valuable.

Because the Front Street site is in an enterprise zone, Patel's hotels would be eligible for property and employment tax credits, said Kim Clark, a Baltimore Development Corp. economic development director.

Patel, who is planning to preserve the Italianate façade of the Furncraft building, also intends to apply for historic tax credits,

The building dates to about 1910, said Charles Duff, the director of Jubilee Baltimore.

"This is actually a quite wonderful-looking building," Duff said. "It's very rare in a commercial building to see columns worked into the facade like that. Somebody cared about this building."



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Old April 26th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #3155
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Loyola's athletic complex

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old landfill? didn't know that. probably better suited fo a sports complex than for housing or hospital. do you know if it was natural landfill or public waste?
Public waste. Part of the site was an old quarry, which, in Moshe Safdie's 1960s plan for the Coldspring New Town, was going to be lined with housing overlooking a small lake. Coldspring never quite took off the way planners had hoped (only the portion north of Cold Spring Lane was substantially built), and the city ended up using the quarry as a dump.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 02:02 PM   #3156
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Interesting - Now we know why Legg Mason signed that big NYC lease a few months ago when people on this forum were speculating that they were going to move there.

Room to Grow, or to Sublet, in Manhattan

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

An unusual land rush is stirring in Midtown Manhattan: many companies are signing long-term leases for much more office space than they need. Brokers refer to this as “land banking” space. It is a term that has not been heard much around Midtown in years. But land banking has come back into vogue in the last six months, said Mitchell Konsker, an executive vice president at Cushman & Wakefield. Mr. Konsker said this made him a bit nervous, because “after the last time I saw this, in 2000 and 2001, there was a bust in the market.”

Back then, Internet start-ups and investment banks did most of the land banking in a narrow swath of Lower Manhattan. Now the trend has hit Midtown, where the office market is stretched especially thin. Mr. Konsker said this was one reason that the trend might have more staying power.

The vacancy rate in Midtown fell to 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2007, from 7.8 percent a year earlier, according to Cushman & Wakefield. What’s more, few new office buildings are planned for Midtown in the next five years, so some executives are worried about becoming “landlocked” in their buildings.

They are also scrambling to lock in rents at today’s prices. Average rents for Class A offices, the highest quality space, in Midtown Manhattan hit $70 a square foot in the first quarter, but Cushman & Wakefield forecasts that rents could rise to $75 or $80 a square foot by the end of the year.

Joyce Geiger, the senior managing director in charge of client consulting services at GVA Williams, said she thought that companies were being much smarter than during the dot-com boom, when workers at some Internet companies were rattling around huge empty offices. “They were so cocky,” Ms. Geiger said. “They had so much money, and they thought they would grow so fast.”

Today, many companies are planning to sublet space that they do not need right away. That should not be difficult to do, since there is a razor-thin 1.1 percent vacancy rate in the Midtown sublet market, according to Cushman. By comparison, five years ago the sublease vacancy rate was 3.2 percent and the overall vacancy rate in the area was 9.3 percent.

Indeed, a growing number of sublets are being offered when the ink is barely dry on the original lease. For example, D. E. Shaw, a hedge fund, leased 112,000 square feet at 1166 Avenue of the Americas, between 45th and 46th Streets, in September. It is now offering more than 37,000 square feet for sublet.

Legg Mason, a mutual fund company based in Baltimore, signed a lease in August for 193,000 square feet in The New York Times Building, which is nearing completion at 620 Eighth Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets. Legg Mason is marketing 63,000 square feet of its space on two floors to potential subtenants.

And American Capital Strategies, a private equity firm based in Bethesda, Md., signed a lease this winter for the 17th, 18th and 19th floors of 505 Fifth Avenue, at 42nd Street. American Capital already had the top five floors of this new 28-story building, which is diagonally opposite the New York Public Library. The company plans to sublet all of the space on the 28th floor and the 17th floor, totaling about 18,000 square feet.

Smaller financial firms like hedge funds and venture capitalists have been some of the biggest winners as the stock market has recently risen to new highs. Some of these firms are applying their riches to office space.

For example, Cyrus Capital Partners, a hedge fund, leased 23,000 square feet in the top two floors of 399 Park Avenue, at 54th Street, in 2006. Initially, the partners had planned to take only 13,000 square feet on the 39th floor, but then their broker told them about 10,000 square feet available on the floor directly beneath.

Robert A. Nisi, the chief operating officer of Cyrus Capital Partners, said the firm took the extra space because it would be easy to install a staircase to connect the two floors if it ever needed more space. The partners also locked in rents that are already below today’s market rates.

Although the firm has been approached many times about subletting its space on the 38th floor, Mr. Nisi said it would not be worth the distraction of being a landlord.

Of course, some hedge funds choose not to leave office space vacant, according to Benjamin L. Friedland, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis, who represented Cyrus Capital Partners on its lease. Mr. Friedland said some of his other hedge fund clients were using space they were warehousing to create start-up hedge funds, in which they may also take a financial interest.

New York City’s law firms have traditionally tended to keep all of their lawyers in one office, rather than scattered throughout a building. Now, with their practices booming, many of them are land banking, too.

Donald C. Ross, the managing partner of the New York law offices of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, a large Toronto law firm, said he expected the firm’s relatively new American practice to grow rapidly. So Mr. Ross signed a 15-year lease last year for 66,000 square feet on the 36th and 37th floors of The New York Times Building.

But when Osler moves in this June, it will occupy only about half of that space. Ideally, Mr. Ross said, he would like to break the rest of it up into three offices and sublet them to smaller law firms, with subleases expiring sequentially in two to five years.

Even some real estate brokerage firms are getting into the act. PBS Real Estate signed a five-year lease this month for the office next to its own on the 18th floor of the Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue, at 45th Street, right above Grand Central Terminal. When the company knocks down the walls between the two offices, it will add 3,000 square feet to the existing 6,500-square-foot office.

But Robert B. Emden, a principal at PBS Real Estate, said the firm would need only a small piece of that right away. “We are warehousing the rest for future growth,” said Mr. Emden, who added that he often recommended this to his clients. “We are practicing what we preach.”
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Old April 26th, 2007, 02:08 PM   #3157
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Can't believe there's someone else on this board that knows about the North Avenue ice rink. ... I believe, however, it may have been located further west, in a building that stands between St. Paul and Charles...the one with the two spires.
Hmmm. Pretty sure it burned down, and that the building you're referring to used to be the home of WCBM ... now Heaven 600?

OK, will stop now before launching into a riff about what an amazing neighborhood that was in the 50s and 60s. Wasn't even a gleam in me parent's eyes then, but the stories are written in the buildings there that, ah, didn't burn down.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:48 PM   #3158
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BWI thread from Airliners.net

Although I'm not a member, I read this discussion forum often because I travel 80% for business and there's alot of useful information to be found here. I thought some of you might find this thread about BWI interesting:

http://www.airliners.net/discussions...more#ID3368159
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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:55 PM   #3159
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Public waste was buried there at a time when landfill construction was pretty much dig a hole and bury it. I think Potts and Pans has a landfill there also. Better off to let sleeping dogs lie.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:56 PM   #3160
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IF you happen to be rolling around in a Diesel this is worth a look. A couple neighbors of mine were big in getting this coOP going.

http://www.baltimorebiodiesel.org/

They distribute just off of 28th st. and cars built after 2000 need very little modification to run on the beans........
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