City approves $3.3 million sale of land

October 11, 1990|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

The city Board of Estimates has approved the sale of land for the largest single project to be developed by a minority-owned firm in downtown Baltimore.

City Crescent Joint Venture, whose partners are minority developers Otis Warren and Theo Rogers, won a proposal in August from the federal General Services Administration to build an 11-story federal office building on the southwest corner of Howard and Baltimore streets.

The city Board of Estimates yesterday agreed to the $3.3 million sale to City Crescent of about a half-acre of city-owned land at that corner for the project. The land is currently vacant except for a lot leased to Budget Rent-a-Car.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke credited Center City-Inner Harbor Development, the quasi-public agency responsible for downtown development, for helping to get minority participation in the redevelopment of downtown Baltimore.

The mayor called the City Crescent project a major step for minority entrepreneurship and for the city.

The proposed new federal building would house branches of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Small Business Administration, the regional office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Secret Service and the Equal Opportunity Commission. It would be on a site near a planned light-rail station.

The $37 million, 350,000-square foot building is scheduled for occupancy by March 1992, said Jeff Middlebrooks, vice president for development at Center City-Inner Harbor.

"This is the first major black-owned development project in downtown Baltimore," said Middlebrooks. He called it a key to the redevelopment of the South Howard Street area across from the Baltimore Arena.

The board yesterday also approved the first step in getting $4.2 million to re-build the Pier Six Pavilion operated by the Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts.

The large tent has been in place for about eight years, six years longer than expected, and has deteriorated badly. The new cover would be of Teflon-coated fiberglass.

The board agreed to send a resolution to the City Council giving the city's approval to sell $3.7 million in industrial revenue bonds to help finance the Pier Six project.

The project also calls for permanent buildings to house the outdoor pavilion's stage, dressing room and concessions, replacing the temporary trailers used since Pier Six opened eight years ago.

Pier Six Pavilion holds outdoor concerts and music events during the summer.

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