Judah Hertz, the developer who is negotiating to purchase the upper floors of the Belvedere Hotel at 1 E. Chase St. for $5.5 million and convert the rooms to 125 condominiums, is also planning to spend another $900,000 to upgrade certainpublic spaces, including hallways and elevator lobbies inside the building.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court last week approved Mr. Hertz's plan to acquire most of the space above the first floor and for the city of Baltimore to take over the public facilities, including the Owl Bar, the John Eager Howard Room, and the 12th-floor ballroom. The previous owner, Victor Frenkil's One East Chase Street Associates Limited Partnership, filed for bankruptcy court protection more than a year ago.
Mr. Hertz, who is based in Miami and plans to settle on his portion of the building by Nov. 30, said the condominiums would be created on floors two through 11 and 13 and would be priced from $59,000 to $110,000. He said he didn't plan many changes to the hotel rooms, which already have small kitchens and in some cases have been used most recently as rental apartments.
Some of the most spectacular apartments would be on the 13th floor, which has been a bar and lounge since the late 1970s and has a view of the Washington Monument and the Inner Harbor.
The bulk of the funds for the acquisition and conversion, $4.4 million, would come from Home Savings Bank of Hollywood, Fla.
Mr. Hertz said he expects to begin the conversion early next year and will honor leases of any residences currently living in apartments inside the building. Those residents will be given first chance to buy their units in compliance with state laws that give apartment dwellers right of first refusal to buy their units when they are converted to condominiums, he said.
Although the condominium market has been slow in Baltimore, Mr. Hertz said he believes the Belvedere will be a success because it is a well-known building and its prices will be low compared to the higher-priced units along Baltimore's waterfront.
"I don't think anyone has done the kind of condominium project that we are talking about," he said. "This is a landmark building, a one-of-a-kind property."
The Baltimore Museum of Art will be the host this fall for an unusual series of lectures designed to bring together young architects who are on the cutting edge of their profession.
"The Baltimore Conference," as the program is called, will consist of four lectures given during a two-month period, culminating with the daylong round-table discussion of architectural issues raised by the lecturers.
"We are providing a platform for groundbreaking architects who will be the architectural giants for the next 10 or 20 years. We want to set the agenda for the future of architecture," said Mark Neustadt, director of continuing studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
The Maryland Institute's Center for Architecture and Interior Design is sponsoring the series along with the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
The program includes lectures by Neil Denari on Oct. 16; Laurie Hawkinson & Henry Smith-Miller on Oct. 30; Wes Jones on Nov. 13 and Ken Schwartz and Judith Kinnard on Nov. 27. All lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Museum's Meyerhoff Auditorium.
The round-table discussion, on Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will bring the lecturers together with a Baltimore Conference Advisory Board that includes architect-educators Peter Eisenman, Patrick Pinnell, Allan Plattus, Herbert Muschamp and Michael Hays and Baltimore Museum of Art Director Arnold Lehman.
Admission costs $120 for all four lectures and the round table, and tickets to individual events may be purchased separately. More information is available from the Maryland Institute Office of Continuing Studies at 225-2219.
Around the region:
* Princeton, N.J.-based architect Michael Graves will present a free public lecture at Morgan State University's Murphy Auditorium on Oct. 9 starting at 7 p.m. Further information is available from Gilbert Cooke at 837-2350.
* Canadian-based architect Moshe Safdie will be the guest speaker for the annual Alexander Cochran Lecture Series at the Walters Art Gallery Oct. 11 starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person for members of the American Institute of Architects, the Baltimore Foundation for Architecture, and the Walters Art Gallery. More information is available from the AIA at 625-2585.
* The St. Paul's Schools in Brooklandville held a groundbreaking ceremony for their $5.5 million Center for the Arts on Sept. 27. The 21,000-square-foot facility will house a 325-seat theater, an art gallery and reception area, painting and sculpture studios, a student publications offices and separate rooms for film screening, filmmaking and choral and instrumental music and performance rehearsals.
James R. Grieves of Grieves and Associates is the project architect. Henry H. Lewis Contractors Inc. is the general contractor, and Robert A. Kinsley Inc. is the site contractor. More than $4.5 million has been pledged in the schools' fund drive.
* George Middleton, a former vice president of sales and marketing for Richmond American Homes, has formed New Home Services, Inc., a new homes management and marketing consulting firm for builders and developers. The company is based in Vienna, Virginia.
* Construction has begun at Dogwood Station, an 84,300-square-foot shopping center at Dogwood and Rolling roads in the Woodlawn area of Baltimore County. Questar Properties Inc. is the developer. An independent grocery store called The Food Place has leased 35,000 square feet to become the anchor tenant. Other tenants include a branch of Pizza Hut and a private dry cleaner.