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Old July 27th, 2007, 11:07 PM   #5081
Tricia_Lvs_Baltimore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpal3 View Post
By Michael Dresser | Sun Reporter
July 27, 2007
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E-mail Print Single page view Reprints Reader feedback text size: To the northeast of Baltimore, where Interstate 95 meets the Beltway amid a forest of construction cranes, something truly mind-boggling is taking shape.

Here, the Maryland Transportation Authority is building a highway interchange to replace the 1960s-vintage connection between the two busy highways, where congestion has turned peak travel times into a commuter's nightmare.

This is no ordinary interchange. Designed to accommodate new express toll lanes in both directions on I-95, the junction will be an intricate "spaghetti bowl" of lanes, ramps and soaring flyovers.



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I-95 interchange rendering Photo
Improvements coming Graphic
Major construction project Photo
Construction work Photo
Motorists can expect delays during construction, but when the interchange opens - in late 2011 if the project stays on schedule - it will be the largest structure of its kind in Maryland and perhaps the state's most significant highway engineering feat since the opening of the Fort McHenry Tunnel in 1985.

The interchange, with an estimated cost of $450 million to $500 million, will include 16 ramps carrying high volumes of high-speed travel on four levels to connect I-95's separate express toll and general-purpose lanes with the Baltimore Beltway.
This looks very impressive!!
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Old July 27th, 2007, 11:11 PM   #5082
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Is it me, or does the Portland skyline resemble Baltimore's if you take a quick glance?
Totally, I scrolled passed it at first and then to go back up to see if it was Baltimore or not...
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Old July 27th, 2007, 11:11 PM   #5083
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So does this Ms Hicks not like any overpasses? IMHO she sounds like stereotypical local that tv stations somehow find after a tornado comes through.

I have seen the plans for the highway and they look reasonable to me. Something has to be done for the future traffic congestion
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Old July 27th, 2007, 11:31 PM   #5084
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Not sure if this has been posted, but there is a sign on the fountain at Charles and Pratt saying that 'improvements are on the way.' It also say that the improvements are brought to you by Mayor Dixon.

Nice touch.

That fountain is a pity. I will be thrilled if/when it comes back to life.
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Old July 27th, 2007, 11:34 PM   #5085
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Is it me, or does the Portland skyline resemble Baltimore's if you take a quick glance?
Some of the skyline looks photoshopped....

Like look at the building at the back end of the cruise ship. It looks super imposed.

Not sure if the building is actually there or not.

And at a glance it does resemble the land of the O.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 01:22 AM   #5086
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Hmm. They are WRONG AGAIN. North of Charles Village are the Guilford and Okenshaw neighborhoods. These are areas that are hardly suffering from "disinvestment".

Are they talking about the Station Arts Request for Qualifications posting that the BDC put on their web site this week? If so, that is south of Charles Village and is the area around North and Charles. See my posting a few pages ago titled "Hot off the press - sort of!".

BTW, Charles Village ends at 25th Street. The neighborhood north of North Avenue and south of 25th they are now calling "Charles North" according to the city's web site. I guess the Station/Arts area is south of North Ave and north of I-83.

I swear to god, some of these publications need E D I T O R S who actually know Baltimore and what is going on in the city. The above article is from the Baltimore Business Journal. They are major offenders!
I was going to be all over this article, but then I knew you had already taken them to task Wada!

Maybe this is evidence of why local media should be owned locally!
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Old July 28th, 2007, 01:43 AM   #5087
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoBoChris View Post
Is it me, or does the Portland skyline resemble Baltimore's if you take a quick glance?
Yup, Portland has got that same bookend look going on that we do...at least for a little while longer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgunna View Post
Some of the skyline looks photoshopped....

Like look at the building at the back end of the cruise ship. It looks super imposed.

Not sure if the building is actually there or not.
I think you're referring to the big pink building, but yeah, it's actually there, and yeah it's actually pink.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 06:01 AM   #5088
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Baltimore's economic development arm is seeking consultants to help the city stimulate development north of the Charles Village area, a part of town officials say has not seen any new construction for nearly three decades.

The Baltimore Development Corp., which is overseeing the process, said Friday the consultants will help the city put together a plan to stimulate economic revitalization and business development opportunities, identify public open space projects, promote arts and entertainment, and encourage the redevelopment of a dozen specific properties in the area.
Did I miss something? Are not the new buildings from Streuver at Charles and 33rd in Charles Village? I can't say that I agree that there is "disinvestment" in CV; what it IS is stable. Many city neighborhoods can only wish to be as stable as CV. I would like to see the trolley built. I am pretty pessimistic in regard to the State's ability to provide additional transit in any useful timetable so maybe this can be part of the answer.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #5089
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Originally Posted by cgunna View Post
Not sure if this has been posted, but there is a sign on the fountain at Charles and Pratt saying that 'improvements are on the way.' It also say that the improvements are brought to you by Mayor Dixon.

Nice touch.

That fountain is a pity. I will be thrilled if/when it comes back to life.
I took a look at that yesterday. There is a large thick plastic looking box ready to be installed, looks like they are going to replace the guts of the fountain.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:50 AM   #5090
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Originally Posted by hpal3 View Post
By Michael Dresser | Sun Reporter

Not everyone is thrilled by this marvel of design and engineering.

Joppa resident Carolyn Hicks viewed the renderings at a public meeting recently and called the design the work of "ivory-towered idiots."

"It looks like something out of a cartoon series, like George Jetson maybe,
she said. "I'm not impressed. If anything, I'm distressed."

Hicks, who opposes the concept of what she calls "Lexus lanes," doesn't like the eight soaring "sky ramps" that are part of the interchange's design. She pictures a tractor-trailer falling off the side of a high ramp and landing on cars below.

"I just think traffic is safer if it's lower," she said.
What an idiot. I don't think she has ever driven on the Merritt parkway in CT . Those interchanges are on ground level and are about as dangerous and freightening as they come. Also you don't need to make all your complaints rhyme.

But she does have a point in calling it the work of 'ivory tower idiots' This is way overkill for this intersection. But the financing and engineering are already done so its getting built.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hpal3 View Post
Teri A. Moss, a transportation authority spokeswoman, the new interchange will be "logical and simple to use" because all of its exits will connect one highway to the other using exits on the right.

The current interchange involves several left exits and entrances, which are considered undesirable by highway engineers because they confound drivers' expectations.
Thats a weak reason to spend $850 million on the whole project. Its also the same reason there redoing the i-95/I-895 split so that I-95 dosn't 'exit' off of itself. Now I-895 will exit off of I-95. Is this a wise use of funds?

Finishing the beltway to 4 lanes from I-83 to rt 40 would of been a better use of money (which I realize would of involved some rebuilding of that interchange).
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Old July 28th, 2007, 02:58 PM   #5091
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Interesting to read some of the posted comments, on the interchange as well as other development issues…

As to the interchange, I don’t view it a weak reason for spending the funds; it really does need to get built. I know the State has wanted to do this since at least the early 1980s -- when the JFK Memorial Highway eliminated tolls -- and some of the Baltimore population began to seep north and east along the northeast corridor. That, along with more people, and the eventual widening to four lanes made it all the more evident something needed to be done with that interchange: it was (and is) a dangerous nightmare. I have seen some really horrible accidents along that stretch. Sightlines are severely limited.

I for one welcome the improvements. Once completed, it will greatly improve the existing condition by at least making it safer (although we all know it will be short lived; by then, capacity will have increased, and we’ll be back at square one). Signage will definitely be key. I’m trying to imagine how that will be accomplished…?

However, I think a key component of the I-95 corridor through at least that part of Maryland ought to be collecting a toll, of some kind (more than just “Lexus Lanes”). While in general, I do not like tolls as a mere revenue-generating machine, in the case of this interchange improvement (and the thirty miles of improvements being made along JFK) I hope someone is making sure Maryland recoups its cost? Granted, we’re talking about federal funding here…but these improvements aren’t solely intended to benefit local commuters in Baltimore and Harford Counties, but the flow of interstate traffic (and commerce) as well. Where permitted legally, we need to ensure we recoup some of our expenses…

Finally, I was very interested in the most recent rendering made public. The design, or shall we say “idea” transformed very quickly within 18 months: it’s gone from modern to baroque! Here’s what we were looking at back in February 2006:

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Old July 28th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #5092
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City adopts new tack on developing Charles North
By Lorraine Mirabella | Sun reporter
July 28, 2007

Shifting gears in its approach to redeveloping the Charles North area of Baltimore, the city's economic development agency has decided to hire a consultant to help shape the neighborhood's identity and analyze how a dozen vacant or deteriorating sites could be redeveloped by property owners.

The Baltimore Development Corp. said yesterday that it has issued a request for qualifications for consultants who would come up with a plan to attract new business and housing and promote the arts in a 10-block area between Mount Vernon and Charles Village. The neighborhood is home to the popular Charles Theater; the Everyman Theater, which plans to move downtown; and several restaurants and bars and art galleries.


"This is a unique kind of approach, where we are trying to show and encourage the private sector to invest in the area and do the redevelopment and avoid the cost and time involved in city acquisitions," said Paul Dombrowski, BDC director of planning and design. "We're trying to show the property owners what could be developed on their sites, and what part they could play in the redevelopment of Charles North."

The new effort comes months after the state's highest court dealt two successive blows to the BDC's longtime reliance on "quick take" seizures to get control of properties and then offer them to developers. Both cases involved properties in Charles North.

In February the Court of Appeals ruled that city had not demonstrated the urgent need required to justify a quick take of a North Charles Street bar, The Magnet, saying it had "run roughshod" over property owners. In April, the court ruled that BDC had no justification for using its quick-take powers to seize the former Chesapeake restaurant on Charles Street just north of Penn Station for a redevelopment project.



Price doubled
The city has since reached agreement with The Magnet's owner to pay more than double the price it had initially set and expects to settle on the acquisition this week.
Dombrowski said yesterday that the new approach for Charles North stemmed not from those court decisions but from a lack of a cohesive identity for the area and lack of progress in spurring new construction.

"One of the problems we're trying to address is there are a lot of property ownership exchanges going on but little physical redevelopment," Dombrowski said. "Property owners are reluctant to move ahead with development investment because they don't see anyone else doing it."

John C. Murphy, a Baltimore attorney who has represented property owners who have challenged the BDC's property-seizure attempts, said the new approach seems a reasonable one.



'Redevelop itself'
"A healthy city has to develop and redevelop through private initiative," Murphy said. "The massive redevelopment we had in the '50s, '60s and '70s was largely brought on by the availability of a huge pot of federal money to finance it, and that's not available anymore. If a city is relatively healthy, and in a lot of ways Baltimore is, it should be able to redevelop itself without eminent domain," which he criticized as being so drawn out that it often has a blighting effect.
"Charles North is not a hopeless area by any means," he said.

The dozen sites include vacant buildings, parking lots and garages, as well as buildings currently occupied by businesses, Dombrowski said.

The city intends to condemn one of the sites, the former Parkway Theater at North Charles Street and West North Avenue, but has no plans to acquire other privately owned properties.



Other sites
Some of the other sites to be studied include: a surface parking lot north of Penn Station; a parking lot, garage and building occupied by an art gallery across from the Charles Theater on North Charles street; properties along North Charles Street north of 20th Street, a vacant bank building on the northeast corner of Charles Street and North Avenue, the now closed Magnet bar and surrounding vacant lots, which the city has already acquired or is acquiring, and properties on the north side of the 100 block of W. North Ave.
The BDC set an Aug. 20 deadline for responses to its request. The consultant's report would be due by the end of December.



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Old July 28th, 2007, 03:45 PM   #5093
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Inner Harbor to get new 'green anchor'
Expanded, beautified Rash Field is planned


By Jill Rosen | Sun reporter
July 28, 2007
With its logjam of chain restaurants, kitschy knick-knack vendors and congested tourist haunts, Baltimore's Inner Harbor, acclaimed as it might be, sorely lacks a spot where things are not.

Tranquillity is just not one of the main attractions.

However, a long-anticipated renovation of Rash Field, an underwhelming mish-mash on the harbor's southern side, could transform a significant swath of the waterfront into a 9-acre park with sweeping fields for picnicking, shaded promenades, water features and an educational playground for kids, and with a fenced-in area where dogs could run leash-free.


On a mission to add to greenery
The overhaul would enlarge the park and eliminate an unsightly parking garage near the Rusty Scupper and a parking lot outside the Maryland Science Center. It would also hide a 600-car underground parking garage. The architects hope to finish the project by fall 2009.

"It's going to be the green anchor," said Thomas Balsley, the landscape architect for the project.

"It's going to be a pretty powerful statement about the city and the promise it made its citizens. The Inner Harbor isn't just ice cream cones and beer."

The park, which opened in 1976, includes such features as beach volleyball courts, a trapeze school and a merry-go-round. Getting to it from Federal Hill requires cutting through a parking lot and maintenance area for the Science Center.

Architect Steve Ziger, whose firm is working on the project with Balsely, said the area's main problem is that people don't consider it a park. "It's leftover space," he said.

The architects want the revamped area to complement the Inner Harbor's parade of commerce that lures visitors to the city and to be a place where residents can throw down a blanket and enjoy their waterfront.

"We want to believe it's got something for everyone, and all of those somethings are going to add up to an extraordinary urban park," said Balsley, whose firm also redesigned neighboring West Shore Park.

Ziger said, "The Inner Harbor has a lot of stuff going on. This is one site in which we have an opportunity to have an openness and a civic garden, a bit of a reprieve."

The plan calls for replacing the disjointed and concrete-heavy area with a cohesive park that is largely green. Awkward entrances would become welcoming gateways with pathways that beckon to the harbor.

The park would slope toward the water from Key Highway, a layered topography including gardens, lawns and terraces.

Most of the park would be a vast lawn where the city could stage festivals or people could picnic or kick a soccer ball.

Along the current brick promenade, which follows the shoreline, there would be a "garden promenade," a path sheltered by shade trees with covered pavilions interspersed.

On the western end, near the Science Center, would be a science garden, an interactive outdoor exhibit for children.

"If you walk around the Inner Harbor from the Rusty Scupper to Harbor East, you're not going to find a lot for children to engage," says Andy Frank, deputy mayor for development. "I think that would complete the experience in the Inner Harbor."

Balsley said, "It will become this unbelievable, unique, distinctive location for children. Even on the weekends, parents will drive their kids in for this science play."

The beach volleyball courts and trapeze would be moved to the park's eastern edge.

Along the park's Key Highway edge would be a 300-foot-long, fenced-in area where pets would be able to run and play amid boulders and bushes while their owners relaxed on benches.

Balsley said the space for pets is a crucial urban amenity that Baltimore lacks.

"Dogs are a very important element in the revitalization of our downtowns," he said. "Young urban professionals with double incomes are coming along with singles and the empty-nesters, and guess what, they all come with dogs.

"It gives dog owners a place to meet each other in the city. Nothing is more important than building those social connections and those neighborhood connections."

On a mission to add to greenery
There would be room for the merry-go-round.

The Pride of Baltimore Memorial, which honors those who were killed when the city's clipper ship capsized and sank in 1986 near Puerto Rico, might be moved to West Shore Park.

The garden installed by Kawasaki, Japan, one of Baltimore's sister cities, would be re-created in the new park.

"We worked very hard to accommodate the programs without compromising the overall design of the park," Ziger said.

The architects based their design on meetings with community leaders in the Federal Hill area. Ziger said people applauded after being shown the finished sketches recently.

"If this comes to pass, God, it would be exciting," said Paul Robinson, founder of Friends of Federal Hill Park. "We love everything we've seen so far. ... What a huge improvement. An ingenious design."

The underground parking garage would be paid for with $25 million in parking bonds. No money is budgeted for the extensive park renovations, however, and city officials will be looking for local and state grants, and contributions from foundations and private companies.

The money situation worries Federal Hill residents, who are otherwise enthusiastic about the plan.

"It will be difficult, if not impossible, for the neighborhood association to support the project until a source of funding ... is not only earmarked but in place," Robinson said. "Get all your ducks in line before you break ground, you know what I'm saying?"



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Old July 28th, 2007, 04:06 PM   #5094
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Corridor taps Struever exec to launch development arm
Baltimore Business Journal - July 20, 2007by Heather Harlan WarnackStaff

Nicholas Griner | Staff
Josh Neiman worked for Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse for a decade.
After more than 10 years as a high-level executive at Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc., Josh Neiman has left the Baltimore development company where he guided a handful of well-known projects.

Neiman, 43, was named president of Corridor Reznick LLC's new development arm and a principal in the firm. In his new role, he will be going after development opportunities in the $5 million to $15 million range, creating what he said is a niche for a company known mainly for leasing.


Rob Freedman, a principal and president of Corridor, said these midsize development/redevelopment projects tend to "fly above the radar," but below the scope of national companies that chase bigger deals.

"It does seem that no one is focusing on that $5 million to $15 million range,'' Freedman said. "And that's where we come in."

Primarily, Neiman will be looking at underperforming buildings, vacant buildings and land in Baltimore, the five surrounding counties, southern Pennsylvania and Delaware. The focus will be on commercial and industrial properties, but he did not rule out residential projects.

Neiman said he expects to compete for Baltimore City projects through requests for proposals and looks forward to partnering with other firms through joint-venture arrangements.

Neiman cut his teeth on a handful of high-profile redevelopment and development projects at Struever Bros. He oversaw the remaking of the former Coca-Cola syrup plant on Fort Avenue in Locust Point into the 265,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing operations for Phillips Foods Inc.

The former senior development director at Struever Bros. then turned his attention to the Brewers Hill project, admittedly one of his favorites. Brewers Hill is a $120 million redevelopment of the former National Brewery, which was home to the Gunther, Schaefer and National Bohemian labels. Neiman has a sign of the National Bohemian logo resting against a shelf in his new office at Corridor, ready to be hung on the bare walls.

"Josh was a great friend,'' said Katie Hearn, senior director of office leasing for Struever Bros. "We'll miss him. He worked on some terrific projects for us, starting with 2220 Boston St. and then Phillips, Charles Village projects and Brewers Hill.''

When Neiman first joined Struever, the company had roughly 85 employees. Today, it has close to 350. It is the smaller atmosphere and "entrepreneurial spirit'' that Neiman said he is eager to reclaim.

"Also, I'm at the point where I am trying to create some balance in my life,'' said Neiman from his second floor office at 500 E. Pratt St., a contrast to his cubicle space at Struever Bros.' Tide Point headquarters in Locust Point.

Colleagues said they would not be surprised to see Neiman focus on a number of smaller redevelopment projects at Corridor with a large impact. Already, Corridor has delved into the development world.

Less than a year ago, Corridor picked up a property in Glen Burnie that it converted to office condominiums. Known as Harundale office condos, the complex is located at 795 Aquahart Rd. The company also owns a 15-acre site at Holabird Industrial Park, Neiman said.

As the company began to get more calls about development and redevelopment opportunities, Freedman said it became clear that an expert was needed to handle that aspect of the business. Neiman is the right person for that job, Freedman said.

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Old July 28th, 2007, 04:18 PM   #5095
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I really hope that the new park at Rash Field has some sort of wow factor. I say this because, as we all know, the new Westside Park is nice but quite unassuming. This is evident from the lack of people I see actually utilizing the park (I walk by it everyday during my lunch break). I hear that money has been allocated to put the water feature in the Westside park but I wonder when this is going to happen and don't understand why it wasn't all done at the same time.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #5096
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Perkins Homes

Do you guys think that the subsidized housing next to Little Italy will ever be redeveloped? I don't care if they tear it down and replace it with new subsidized housing as long as it makes it look better. Everytime I walk by (from a distance!) I see nothing but an empty void. No people, no cars, and it always seems to be under a shadow. Weird!
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Old July 28th, 2007, 04:26 PM   #5097
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This looks very impressive!!
Have you ever driven thru the Springfield interchange in VA?
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Old July 28th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #5098
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I think the interchange is going to be cool, but making the beltway four if not five lanes from 83 to 40 is something that needs to be done, which means redesigning the interchange at 695 and 70. The Red line also needs to get built. Mass transit is a key. I'm worried BRAC is going to be a disaster on some roads.

Not thrilled about the Rash Field Plans. Everyone was so excited about West Shore Park and it really added nothing. Still, it looks nice enough I guess. I just wonder why they are going to construct another West Shore Park 100 feet away from the current one. They could definitely do something else with that area. It would be nice to create something over there to increase foot traffic.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #5099
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BTW, Charles Village ends at 25th Street. The neighborhood north of North Avenue and south of 25th they are now calling "Charles North" according to the city's web site. I guess the Station/Arts area is south of North Ave and north of I-83.

I swear to god, some of these publications need E D I T O R S who actually know Baltimore and what is going on in the city. The above article is from the Baltimore Business Journal. They are major offenders!
Used to be that area was called "Lower Charles Village" not to long ago.(Below 25th) or affectionately "Chuck Village".I really think this area would be prime for some well designed Mid-rise density.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #5100
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http://www.prestonpartners.com/inves...experience.htm

Related to 10 Inner Harbor
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