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Old January 18th, 2007, 10:20 PM   #41
baltimoreisbest
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Went to the inaugural today. Not too substantial in the way of speech, but that's rhetoric for you. I do appreciate Dixon's avowed belief in cooperation between the people and institutions that run Baltimore. A lot of emphasis on respect for the city, manifested in services like homeless care and cleaner streets.

I got some city hall postcards and a cookie as a party souvenir.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 10:48 PM   #42
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The flier can't be all that old: there's mention of Thurgood Marshall Airport in the promotional verbiage...

It's the environment! I guess "the law is the law" in terms of what you can or can't do, but my understanding was the Army Corps of Engineers prompted the pier stop-measure. Then the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency weighed in with their "concerns" about the pier idea.

I still think the pier idea is doable. It's not that the Army Corps said "no" to the idea, it's just that they expressed reservations. A go-ahead wasn't granted. So Struever and H&S finally backed away from the pier idea since they were anxious to start construction on the first building -- Thames Street Wharf -- on Thames Pier Since, since half of the eight storey building was supposed to be a new (expanded) home for Morgan Stanley & Co.

So has construction started yet? Of course not. The Morgan Stanley deal as well as the economy stalled. But my sources tell me that the pier idea is now unofficially back on the table while things settle. After all, what's the rush at this point? The pier concept has been debated for nearly three years, and the Morgan Stanley deal talked about for much longer.

Here's where H&S Properties Development Corp. and Struever need to work their idea from a different angle: push the idea through the Baltimore City Department of Planning and the Maryland Department of the Environment. Their case is an economic one: by building on piers, more (taxable) space can be created/developed at Harbor Point. It wouldn't be the first time Army Corps of Engineers would be challenged, and subsequently overruled.

Likewise, Struever needs to yield somewhat to the Department of the Environment. I know this sounds crazy, but the [Baltimore] Living Classroom Foundation on Caroline Street gained necessary approvals by creating "wetlands" on their small campus. (Ever notice and wonder why their northern boundary is so decrepit looking?) As a friend mentioned, Struever and H&S could probably get away with the pier plan if they did the same: set aside a small percentage of the development shoreline (perhaps along the western edge at the proposed park) for wetlands.

An added plus is that while Fells Point has some concerns about the scale of the project, i.e. height and mass, for the most part, there really isn't any objection toward the pier structures. I think the development is in limbo not only because of the economy, but the need to explore options too.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 11:19 PM   #43
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Inner Harbor hotel sheds old brand for Sheraton name
Baltimore Business Journal - 2:40 PM EST Thursdayby Julekha DashStaff

Baltimore got a second Sheraton brand hotel on Thursday.

The Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel is now the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, which is halfway through a $30 million renovation.


The decision to renovate the rooms and change the brand followed Columbia Sussex Corp.'s acquisition of the property in 2005. Based in Fort Mitchell, Ky., Columbia Sussex owns or manages 85 hotels and casinos in 33 states.

The renovations will be complete in mid-May. Enhancements to the Sheraton include new carpets, wall covering and window treatments, lighting, flat-screen TVs, and new beds. Sheraton's "Sweet Sleeper" beds have been protested by some of the Sheraton's unionized workers who say the heavier beds come with more ergonomic risk.

The Sheraton houses Shula's Steak House and two Shula's sports bars.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 11:21 PM   #44
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CBRE, Trammell merger gives Cushman a head start on office

Cushman & Wakefield will profit from CB Richard Ellis’ recent acquisition of Trammell Crow Co., taking seven of Trammell Crow’s former brokers to start its new Baltimore office, which opens next week.

- JEN DEGREGORIO
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Old January 19th, 2007, 12:09 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
Inner Harbor hotel sheds old brand for Sheraton name
Baltimore Business Journal - 2:40 PM EST Thursdayby Julekha DashStaff

Baltimore got a second Sheraton brand hotel on Thursday.

The Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel is now the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, which is halfway through a $30 million renovation.


The decision to renovate the rooms and change the brand followed Columbia Sussex Corp.'s acquisition of the property in 2005. Based in Fort Mitchell, Ky., Columbia Sussex owns or manages 85 hotels and casinos in 33 states.

The renovations will be complete in mid-May. Enhancements to the Sheraton include new carpets, wall covering and window treatments, lighting, flat-screen TVs, and new beds. Sheraton's "Sweet Sleeper" beds have been protested by some of the Sheraton's unionized workers who say the heavier beds come with more ergonomic risk.

The Sheraton houses Shula's Steak House and two Shula's sports bars.
Its about freaking time.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 12:46 AM   #46
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Eerik, do you know how many employees Morgan Stanley plans for Baltimore given that they get a new facility? Also, I thought -- from rumors, and that email citing a "prominent national client" -- that the company would take office space integrated into the Four Seasons project. I can tell you that the pier idea might be dangerous. Look at all the flooding that occured at the habor in 2003; a building raised only several feet above the water might be a risk not worth taking. I don't know how degraded the shoreline already is, but in some cases, wetlands protection is a good -- in fact, the best -- protection against inland erosion given the possibility of a massive flood. New Orleans didn't get on the ball about wetlands protection, and look where it got them...

Finally, did anyone notice that Susquehana Bank recently reported looking for space in the area, and took some in Timonium or one of the other suburbs? Does anyone know if downtown or another city area was a serious candidate for the bank, or if they just wanted cheap, back-office space?
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Old January 19th, 2007, 01:51 AM   #47
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Quote:
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Inner Harbor hotel sheds old brand for Sheraton name
Baltimore Business Journal - 2:40 PM EST Thursdayby Julekha DashStaff

Baltimore got a second Sheraton brand hotel on Thursday.

The Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel is now the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, which is halfway through a $30 million renovation.
Hilton, to Omni, to Windham, to Sheraton. Is that all of the brands this hotel has been, or did I miss one.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 01:58 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by baltimoreisbest View Post
Eerik, do you know how many employees Morgan Stanley plans for Baltimore given that they get a new facility? Also, I thought -- from rumors, and that email citing a "prominent national client" -- that the company would take office space integrated into the Four Seasons project. I can tell you that the pier idea might be dangerous. Look at all the flooding that occured at the habor in 2003; a building raised only several feet above the water might be a risk not worth taking. I don't know how degraded the shoreline already is, but in some cases, wetlands protection is a good -- in fact, the best -- protection against inland erosion given the possibility of a massive flood. New Orleans didn't get on the ball about wetlands protection, and look where it got them...

Finally, did anyone notice that Susquehana Bank recently reported looking for space in the area, and took some in Timonium or one of the other suburbs? Does anyone know if downtown or another city area was a serious candidate for the bank, or if they just wanted cheap, back-office space?

I just spent a few weeeks at their executive offices in Lititz PA. The just converted/renovated an old mill. Really neat building. They even kept the millrace!

Susquehanna is now up to 8 billion. They are becoming a player in the PA/DE/NJ/MD markets. I doubt that they would consider a move to Baltimore though....possibly an increased presence though.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 02:09 AM   #49
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As an aside, local Provident really needs a Mt. Vernon and Charles Village branch for god's sakes! What's up with that?

Nate
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Old January 19th, 2007, 02:26 AM   #50
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Eerik, do you know how many employees Morgan Stanley plans for Baltimore given that they get a new facility? Also, I thought -- from rumors, and that email citing a "prominent national client" -- that the company would take office space integrated into the Four Seasons project. I can tell you that the pier idea might be dangerous. Look at all the flooding that occured at the habor in 2003; a building raised only several feet above the water might be a risk not worth taking. I don't know how degraded the shoreline already is, but in some cases, wetlands protection is a good -- in fact, the best -- protection against inland erosion given the possibility of a massive flood. New Orleans didn't get on the ball about wetlands protection, and look where it got them...

Finally, did anyone notice that Susquehana Bank recently reported looking for space in the area, and took some in Timonium or one of the other suburbs? Does anyone know if downtown or another city area was a serious candidate for the bank, or if they just wanted cheap, back-office space?
Well, I think they currently occupy about 45,000 square feet at the Bond Street Wharf. And from what I was told, they do not have any option to expand in their current location due to other tenant leases. When I asked an acquaintance involved with crafting the initial deal, they told me they currently employ (only) 238 people in their retail brokerage operation. They were supposed to employ anywhere from 200 to 300 people, and then expand upwards of 500 to 600 by now.

Apparently the current number is down due to some reallocation of staff, departures, etc. While we're not talking about McDonald's level income here, it's not that high either. The top number they've employed in the area to date was about 250. While that is supposed to represent the company's back-office operations, the total number varies due to staff assignments in the "upper" ranks of the operation (low level managers and supervisors).

Baltimore really handed Morgan Stanley substantial incentives to bring the retail brokerage operation here. It's fairly well reported Morgan Stanley has been under quite a bit of local pressure to fulfill its original promises. While no one has publicly used the words "legal action" to make them fulfill the original promises, there have been some pretty overt and embarrassing statement been made by public officials about the entire deal.

To make things worse, about a year or two ago there was a rumor that Morgan Stanley actually regretted taking advantage of the deal, despite the sugar coating. They have had quite a shake-up in senior management, and in hindsight, the retail operations up in New York was trying to figure out how to cut back its operations. Without doubt, this shakeup is probably having an effect on expanding here locally. If nothing changes, it's only a matter of time before the pot boils over on the whole issue...
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Old January 19th, 2007, 11:41 AM   #51
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Planning panel shows support for Icon tower in Canton
By Jill Rosen
Sun reporter
Originally published January 19, 2007




Despite intense community objections to a planned waterfront high-rise in Canton, the Icon tower appears to be gathering some momentum - as city planners endorse the possibility of even more development for the popular southeastern neighborhood.

Yesterday, the city's urban design and architecture review panel discussed conceptual plans for the Icon, a condominium and retail project that would rise 23 stories from what is now a Lighthouse Point parking lot. The Icon's developers say they would like to come back within weeks to seek the panel's approval for the design so that in March the Planning Commission might consider the major land-use amendments the project ultimately would require.

Though Canton community association leaders continue to vehemently protest the Icon - reiterating their concerns of blocked views and increased traffic to the design panel yesterday - Baltimore city planners have begun pushing for a tower in that spot and more new construction in the surrounding area.

Officials have released recommendations for the future of this key leg of Canton, the busy hub along Boston Street home to the Can Company, Safeway and Lighthouse Point. On a few surface parking lots there, they would like to see more residential and retail growth, which they hope would make the area more vibrant.

But the wishes of the planners and developers clash fundamentally with the will of the community - a dispute illustrated most vividly by the Icon that only promises to intensify if more projects join it on the table.

"Whatever they put there," said Darryl Jurkiewicz, vice president of the Canton Community Association, "is only going to bring more people, more traffic and more congestion."

Baltimore's planning department decided to study the potential for growth along Boston Street in part because of the controversy over the Icon. Also, planners say, the laws governing what can be built on the Lighthouse Point parking lot and the Can Company site are outdated, more reflective of the neighborhood's needs in the 1980s than today.

Both retail centers, according to those 1980s ordinances, are maxed out for development, which means new laws would be necessary to squeeze anything more onto either site.

"We're sort of at a pivotal point in terms of the development that's there," said planner Laurie Feinberg, who handles the southeast portion of the city. "Our market has completely changed in this area, and there are a lot of reasons to say, 'wait a second,' let's reassess."

For the Lighthouse Point site and the adjoining Tindeco parking lot, planners recommend two new "major" buildings, one on each lot. They would keep each structure to 72 feet in height, the current area limit, unless a developer promises to reserve some amount of open space. In that case, planners say about 200 feet would be reasonable. The Icon concept, a 240-foot tower accented with strips of green space, seems to perfectly fit the planners' vision.

Officials would also like to see a 70-foot-wide street lined with retail businesses leading through Lighthouse Point from Boston Street to the water - a pedestrian-only street if possible. They'd also fatten the waterfront promenade there. Both of those elements are part of the Icon plan.

The goal for Lighthouse Point, Feinberg said, is to get the "right type of use" on the site, "to make it the kind of place people want to be."

For the Can Company and Safeway area, planners would like to see something - perhaps housing - built on the city-owned lot at the corner of Lakewood Avenue and Boston Street. And, behind the Safeway on the store's parking lot along Hudson Street, they could see another residential project with stores and parking - if Safeway would consider that.

More than 60 people attended meetings at Hampstead Hill Academy recently to review the department's recommendations. Residents' reactions were largely skeptical.

"We can recommend whatever we want," Feinberg said. "But all of this will be reviewed and ultimately voted on in a public hearing process."

Much of the community consternation centers on the Icon, a project that has been setting off alarms around Canton for more than a year and a half. Over the objections of community leaders and City Councilman James B. Kraft, then-City Council President Sheila Dixon introduced two bills late last year that would pave the way for the project.

Kraft, who represents Canton, remains resolute on his promise not to introduce the bills, which is why the job fell to Dixon. Dixon, who became mayor this week, has said her sponsorship of the bills doesn't necessarily mean she supports the project.

In light of the public outcry, developer Cignal Corp. scaled back its original plans for the project, scrapping plans for townhouses and a 150-room hotel and shaving the main condominium building from 295 feet to 240 feet.

The condos would be built on top of a five-story parking garage and anchored with about 30,000 square feet of retail space for stores and restaurants.

The bills Dixon introduced would grant Cignal what is called a "major amendment" to Lighthouse Point's "planned unit development." That would allow the company to build more on the property than what the city permitted the center's original developer in the 1980s.
To build as tall as they would like, developers also need an amendment to Canton's urban renewal ordinance.




Anything new along the Can Company site would require similar legislation. With the Tindeco site, however, a developer willing to stay within the 72-foot height restrictions could build right away. Tindeco's owners have no immediate plans for the site, and Cignal has shown interest in acquiring at least part of the adjacent lot to bolster the Icon.

The bills would need the approval of the Planning Commission and the council's land use and transportation committee before heading to the City Council.

Before the design panel yesterday, some Canton leaders vented their frustrations over the Icon and the city's ideas for their neighborhood.

"People feel somewhat betrayed by the process," said Carolyn Boitnott, a longtime waterfront activist. "We were asked for our hopes and dreams, and what they proposed was large buildings."

Added Gerry Aronin, president of the Canton Cove condominium association: "I'm a little upset - a lot upset - that this might become skyscraper row."

Yet the design panel didn't seem to have any problem with the possibility of more high-rises along Boston Street.

"I don't see this as a lonely Icon," said panelist M.J. "Jay" Brodie, who is also president of the Baltimore Development Corp. "I see this as one of a series of towers that creates an urban skyline."

And panelist Stanford Britt, an architect, said he had just one beef with the Icon plan.

"I wish," he said to the horror of the neighborhood critics, "that [the] tower could be taller."



[email protected]


The newly designed tower.


The older design.

I'd like to know how close/far is the project in relation to Hale's Canton's Crossing. Anyone have an overhead/map of them?
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Last edited by StevenW; January 19th, 2007 at 12:06 PM.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 01:51 PM   #52
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The new one is UGLY IMHO!

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Old January 19th, 2007, 04:06 PM   #53
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The City had better be careful with this one....follow your plans or change them democratically....

Nate

(At least Planning wants to fill in those Safeway parking lots )
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Old January 19th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #54
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So where do Safeway customers park then? That small lot in front of the store? Plus, overflow neighborhood parking uses that lot after 6pm, when a spot is hard to find on the street. Filling in that lot will make parking in Canton almost worse than Fed Hill IMO.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 05:34 PM   #55
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Anyone read the City Paper article on those bloggers who write about murder in Baltimore? I'm reading those blogs, and they're really getting me down. I was at Hopkins at a time when two students were murdered in one year, and most of my friends couldn't wait to get out of the city after the fact. I stuck it out, but I'm getting damn pessimistic.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 06:02 PM   #56
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Yes, I read that. Pretty depressing stuff. I couldn't read too much of it. Here's the main one for anyone interested in a downer: http://baltimorecrime.blogspot.com

Reminds you of how far this city has to go. We're at pretty much a murder a day for the new year.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #57
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It's pretty sad when a cop gets killed, and then two out of town cops who are in town to attend his funeral are robbed at gun point in Canton. That happened a few days ago in our fine city. I'm sure that will make national headlines too.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #58
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Yes, I read that. Pretty depressing stuff. I couldn't read too much of it. Here's the main one for anyone interested in a downer: http://baltimorecrime.blogspot.com

Reminds you of how far this city has to go. We're at pretty much a murder a day for the new year.
one of the blogs i read spoke of a virginia state trooper and a federal trooper who was robbed and beaten in canton. they were in town to attend troy chesley's funeral and show support to the Baltimore PD. when tourists read things like this, it's not good news for charm city; not at all.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 06:25 PM   #59
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It's pretty sad when a cop gets killed, and then two out of town cops who are in town to attend his funeral are robbed at gun point in Canton. That happened a few days ago in our fine city. I'm sure that will make national headlines too.
we always seem to find the same stories, wada!
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Old January 19th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #60
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we always seem to find the same stories, wada!
Great minds think alike.
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