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Old July 5th, 2007, 01:28 PM   #4721
30 Floors Up
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Starbucks

The sign annoucing "A New Starbucks - Opening Soon" has appeared at 300 N. Charles Street. Just as I suspected, it IS NOT where the relatively new First Mariner bank is located (as reported by the BBJ). It is next to the bank in a long empty storefront and it will have an entrance on Saratoga and on Charles Streets.

~~~~~

Minority-built Crescent complex is sold
By Lorraine Mirabella
Sun reporter
Originally published July 4, 2007

The City Crescent, a pioneering project on Baltimore's west side and the first downtown office complex developed by a minority-led team, has sold for $75 million, the broker for the sale said yesterday. Washington Investment Capital purchased the 270,369-square-foot building at 10 S. Howard St., commercial real estate firm Trans- western said.

A group led by minority developers Otis Warren and Theo Rodgers built the sprawling 11-story building in 1993 on a city-acquired parcel for the federal government, which leased the majority of the space for anchor tenant the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies. At the time, the lease was the largest ever awarded by the General Services Administration's Mid-Atlantic office to an African-American landlord, according to the Web site of Baltimore-based The Otis Warren Group.

The building is fully leased by GSA through 2018, according to Transwestern Commercial Services. "It was a good time for the ownership to exit because the real estate market is strong and prices are up, and for the buyers, it was an opportunity to get in on an area being revitalized at an attractive sale price," said Gerry Trainor, managing director of Transwestern's Washington Institutional Commercial Group and the broker who handled the sale.

The sale, the latest in a succession of office property transactions in the city, shows continued strength in downtown's office market, commercial brokers said yesterday. "Baltimore continues to be viewed as an attractive market, relative to the [pricier] tier-1 cities like Washington and Philadelphia and New York," said David Baird, senior managing director for Cushman & Wakefield Inc. in Baltimore.

The building also has going for it a long-term lease with a stable tenant, he said. "It was ahead of its time by about five years," Baird said. "It was seen as a pioneer of the near west-side market," predating the redevelopment of new apartments, shops and offices, Baird said.

The office market has benefited as more people are moving into the city and want to work close to their homes, said Kasey Hughes, an assistant vice president for Transwestern and a leasing broker in downtown Baltimore. Neither Warren, whose company sold the building, nor Rodgers could be reached yesterday.

In a 1990 newspaper interview, Warren talked about being part of the first minority-led team to build a major downtown development and the prospect of that sending a message of hope. "To me that's probably the most exciting thing," he told The Evening Sun at the time. "You have a city that has come on line with thousands of square feet of new buildings and a population of over 50 percent African-Americans and none of those buildings downtown were owned by African-Americans. ... I believed it could happen."

Brokers said yesterday that the purchase price, at $277 per square foot, is in the upper range for Class A buildings, showing faith in that section of downtown and reflecting the value of a long-term lease with the government. "There's a tremendous amount of capital seeking well-leased buildings," Baird said. "The near west side is now gaining some credibility in the institutional investment market. It's certainly a good sign for other investors looking to purchase and develop assets and deploy capital on the west side."

~~~~~

Zippy the Pinhead visits Baltimore
Newsday
July 4, 2007, 1:42 PM EDT

BALTIMORE -- Comic strip character Zippy the Pinhead, on his recent visit to Baltimore, had a few words for his elected representative. Standing in front of the Senator Theatre, Zippy is shocked when he realizes the building's symbolism. "So that's where the senator resides!" Zippy exclaims when he reads the name above the marquee. "Senator! We need to talk about pork barrels!"

In the strip's second panel, an increasingly irate Zippy demands answers. "How do you justify living in such a palatial mansion at th' taxpayers' expense?"

That and two other strips published in June were the result of creator Bill Griffith's April visit to Charm City, when he addressed Tom Chalkley's cartooning class at Johns Hopkins University and appeared at a book signing.

"Wherever I go, Zippy goes," Griffith said in a phone call from his home in East Haddam, Conn., where he is working on his next book, "Walk a Mile in My Muu-muu." The veteran cartoonist is a pioneer member of San Francisco's underground art scene. Griffith first drew his microcephalic alter ego in 1970.

The cartoonist always takes a camera on his travels, he said, to record moments and places that might inspire Zippy's vaguely demented soliloquies.

Senator owner Tom Kiefaber suggested, while the cartoonist signed copies of "Zippy: Connect the Polka Dots" at Atomic Books, that Griffith visit the theater. "We implored him, to the degree that we could," said Kiefaber, who admits to being a "huge" Zippy fan. "I told him it's always been a dream of mine to have Zippy visit the Senator."

Kiefaber's Art Deco theater, built in 1939, is the last single-screen movie house still operating in Baltimore. He said Griffith admired his business card, with its faux-silver embossed logo of the auditorium's name.

"'That's what's on the building,"' Kiefaber said he told the cartoonist, whose strip runs in more than 200 newspapers. "'You really should see it."' That very night, he visited. Craig Hankin, director of Hopkins' Homewood Art Workshops, had driven Griffith to the bookstore, and also took him to the Senator.

"Bill said, 'I have to see it in daylight,"' Hankin remembered, who had invited Griffith to speak at Hopkins and in whose house he was staying that night.

The next morning, before heading to Penn Station for Griffith's train to New York, Hankin drove him back to the Senator. A few weeks later, Hankin said, he got an e-mail from Griffith with the strip about the Senator. Hankin forwarded it to Kiefaber.

"It's very, very exciting," Kiefaber said. "You plant a seed and, in many cases, there's a long wait, but this was as close to instant gratification as you can get."

In another, also published in June, Zippy revisits the 51-foot-tall sculpture outside Penn Station, known as Male/Female, which was also featured in a 2004 strip. Zippy is as confused now as he was then.

"Why," he asks this time, "do I suddenly yearn for a Revolutionary War hero on a horse?"

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; July 5th, 2007 at 02:19 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #4722
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Can anyone tell me the reputation of properties built by Cignal Corp such as 1400 Lancaster and Beacon Condos at Lighthouse Point?
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Old July 5th, 2007, 05:23 PM   #4723
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The US has the oldest modern democracy (and federation) in the current world. That is fact. Oldest "government", maybe not.

Last edited by pennster; July 5th, 2007 at 05:31 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #4724
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern View Post
Yeah, the modern version is more appealing to me as well. These trolleys are manufactured by a Chech company Skoda, which is owned by VW. It seems that their trolleys are already being used in Portland and San Fran:

I like the modern look better too. Seeing the rendering of the city in that video was really cool.


Trivial fact alert! The Vatican is the worlds oldest continuously operating government, which was the orginal question.

Oldest democracy (as defined as a liberal democracy today, also ignoring the fact that over 3/4 of the population couldn't actually vote in 1788) USA.
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Old July 5th, 2007, 09:28 PM   #4725
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Architecture plans for Chesapeake Paperboard site sent back to drawing board

The city's architecture review panel rejected plans Thursday for a mixed-use site in Locust Point to be home to 250 apartments and 110,000-square-feet of retail space.

The Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel (UDARP) denied the current design plans of the 9-acre property off Key Highway, a site once home to Chesapeake Paperboard Co. and that is slated to bring apartments, a grocery store and an office building to an area. The panel raised concerns about the design of the parking garage, the colors of the buildings, and the design of open space on the property.

Mark Sapperstein, the project's developer, said it is normal for a project of this size to be rejected on its first review before UDARP.

"They give their comments so we know what we're gearing towards," Sapperstein said.

The project's master site plan, which is not as detailed as the architecture plans, was approved by the board in January. Since then, Sapperstein and associates from Martin Architects reworked the design to seem more industrial and blend in with the atmosphere of Locust Point.

Panelists praised the new feel of the property as "the right move," but recommended, among other things, redesigning the parking garage in more of the same style as the rest of the buildings, which have a white concrete base topped with red bricks. They also suggested choosing a lighter shade of red brick for all the buildings, and reconfiguring the main plaza on the property to be more unified.

Sapperstein said the comments of the panel were not major barriers and hopes the architecture plan will be approved at the next meeting. The site already has a grading permit, and Sapperstein said construction will begin in September and the site will cost $80 million and open in either winter 2009 or spring 2010.
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Old July 5th, 2007, 11:09 PM   #4726
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Well it's good to see Sapperstein is positive about the rejection and still plans to start building in September. That's the kinda rush I like to see.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 12:05 AM   #4727
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balmurfan View Post
The city's architecture review panel rejected plans Thursday for a mixed-use site in Locust Point to be home to 250 apartments and 110,000-square-feet of retail space.

The Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel (UDARP) denied the current design plans of the 9-acre property off Key Highway, a site once home to Chesapeake Paperboard Co. and that is slated to bring apartments, a grocery store and an office building to an area. The panel raised concerns about the design of the parking garage, the colors of the buildings, and the design of open space on the property.

Mark Sapperstein, the project's developer, said it is normal for a project of this size to be rejected on its first review before UDARP.

"They give their comments so we know what we're gearing towards," Sapperstein said.

The project's master site plan, which is not as detailed as the architecture plans, was approved by the board in January. Since then, Sapperstein and associates from Martin Architects reworked the design to seem more industrial and blend in with the atmosphere of Locust Point.

Panelists praised the new feel of the property as "the right move," but recommended, among other things, redesigning the parking garage in more of the same style as the rest of the buildings, which have a white concrete base topped with red bricks. They also suggested choosing a lighter shade of red brick for all the buildings, and reconfiguring the main plaza on the property to be more unified.

Sapperstein said the comments of the panel were not major barriers and hopes the architecture plan will be approved at the next meeting. The site already has a grading permit, and Sapperstein said construction will begin in September and the site will cost $80 million and open in either winter 2009 or spring 2010.
Good. I wasn't thrilled with the design. Glad to see he's pressing forward too.

Speaking of Penn Station area buildings, does anyone have a rendering for the Railway Express Building? I tried looking on the HCM website, but I didnt see anything.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 12:24 AM   #4728
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Originally Posted by waj0527 View Post
Good. I wasn't thrilled with the design. Glad to see he's pressing forward too.
What's up with Cityscape, though? Doesn't seem to be pressing forward w/ that.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 12:31 AM   #4729
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Not sure if this has been around for a while, but as of the other day, there is a big "For Sale" sign hanging from the building currently occupying the Cityscape site.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 01:23 AM   #4730
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Originally Posted by 30 Floors Up View Post
Starbucks

The sign annoucing "A New Starbucks - Opening Soon" has appeared at 300 N. Charles Street. Just as I suspected, it IS NOT where the relatively new First Mariner bank is located (as reported by the BBJ). It is next to the bank in a long empty storefront and it will have an entrance on Saratoga and on Charles Streets.

~~~~~
Oh and this makes me particularly happy b/c I just increase my bi-weekly investment into Starbucks.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 03:29 AM   #4731
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Brewers Hill/Nanny Boh and Canton Crossing

Between Ed Hale's 505 condo proposal plus hotel/retail and the below proposal in Brewers Hill(Struever), Canton/Brewers Hill could begin to be the size of Timonium/Hunt Valley. 1,100 residential units(Brewer's Hill/Canton Crossing), 2 hotels, grocery store and retail shops. Hope this all happens soon.


PROJECT BY THE NUMBERS
Completed Buildings
+ Natty Boh Tower
210,000 square feet of office/
mini-storage facility
+ Malt Mill
160,000 square feet of office/flex/
warehouse
+ Gunther Headquarters
44,000 square feet of office
+ The Shops at Brewers Hill
50,000 square feet of office/retail
Future Development
+ Ale/Pilsener/Stout
210,000 square feet of hotel/retail/
parking
+ Anchor Store
135,000 square feet of retail
+ Grocery Store
50,000 square feet
+ 600 Market Rate
Apartments
+ 60,000 Square Feet of
Retail
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Old July 6th, 2007, 03:31 AM   #4732
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Canton Crossing really seems to have slowed down a bit. Took a drive over there the other day and there really is a ton of undeveloped land that could really be turned into something incredible.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 03:57 AM   #4733
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Canton Crossing really seems to have slowed down a bit. Took a drive over there the other day and there really is a ton of undeveloped land that could really be turned into something incredible.

Hale didn't build that bank for you...trust me.

1st mariner isn't doing so hot. 8mil in net income in 05 1.6 in 06 and they lost 600K through the first quarter this year.

I actually got a chance to speak with him last year. He told me that the next tower would break ground in the summer 07.

I guess things are on hold for now.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 04:16 AM   #4734
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waj0527 View Post
Good. I wasn't thrilled with the design. Glad to see he's pressing forward too.

Speaking of Penn Station area buildings, does anyone have a rendering for the Railway Express Building? I tried looking on the HCM website, but I didnt see anything.






Project Overview:
Historic renovation of a 1929 Classical Revival-style government building
51 loft apartments in a prime, mid-town location will have 18-foot-high ceilings and large operational windows
Project will include retail space facing the neighboring train station


Project Details:
Construction cost: $7 million
Number of units: 51
Square footage: 78,000
Developer: Railway Express, LLC
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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:29 AM   #4735
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I like the modern look better too. Seeing the rendering of the city in that video was really cool.


Trivial fact alert! The Vatican is the worlds oldest continuously operating government, which was the orginal question.

Oldest democracy (as defined as a liberal democracy today, also ignoring the fact that over 3/4 of the population couldn't actually vote in 1788) USA.
I like the more up to date look. I'm also encouraged, if the video is to believed, that they are thinking about vehicles that stay within a normal traffic lane rather than being wide like the light rail. That might help to make it work.

As for the Vatican, it's the last remnant of the Western Roman Empire.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:32 AM   #4736
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Not sure if this has been around for a while, but as of the other day, there is a big "For Sale" sign hanging from the building currently occupying the Cityscape site.
I don't think that ever came down. Those buildings just keep getting more bleak. They will be even more conspicuous when the streetscaping is done on Calvert, a gap between the hotels on that block.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 03:44 PM   #4737
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Westport plan gains panel's OK

This should definitely make some people happy today! ....

A developer's vision to transform the formerly industrial shores of the Middle Branch into a $1.4 billion community of homes, offices, shops and a hotel got final master plan approval yesterday from Baltimore's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel.

Turner Development Group plans 2,000 condos, apartments and townhouses, 300,000 square feet of shops, 3 million square feet of office and entertainment uses and two hotels on 50 acres of waterfront land the developer has acquired in Westport.

The panel's approval, one step in a process that still requires city Planning Commission and City Council approval, should keep the project on track for construction to start March 1, said Patrick Turner, president of Turner Development.

Turner said yesterday that he hoped to finalize deals with potential retail and office tenants and line up residential builders and hotel operators by the end of the year.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #4738
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A man with an actual vision. Patrick Turner seems to really be on the ball with this. Sounds like my kind of developer!
__________________
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Old July 6th, 2007, 07:12 PM   #4739
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charles street trolley

While we have the pipe dreams going...why not extend the trolley into Fed Hill, with a left turn onto Ft. Ave all the way to FT. McHenry?
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Old July 6th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #4740
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The Charles Street Trolley has received quite a bit of press lately and has steadily moved towards reality over the last few years. It might be time to graduate this project from a pipe dream to an actual possibility.

The current route of the proposed trolley satisfies me, but I would definitely like to see some serious long-term planning with this one. Future extensions need to be discussed, connections to the Pratt Street tram or an other tram lines need to be discussed, and how the trolley will interact with existing transit options needs to be discussed. So far, I haven't really heard much on any of these major questions. The last thing we want is another north-south transit line that bears no relation to the existing transit lines.
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