Historic Camden Station is in line to receive a $1.2 million face-lift, thanks to the Maryland Stadium Authority.
The panel yesterday voted to pay the local architectural firm Cho, Wilkes & Benn Inc. $72,500 to design a renovation plan for the exterior of Camden Station, which will serve as a gateway to the 46,000-seat, $105.4 million baseball stadium scheduled to open in 1992.
Authority executive director Bruce Hoffman estimates it will cost an additional $927,500 to renovate and restore the building.
The state's action comes several months after development plans for Camden Station were submitted by the Orioles and another private development group that authority officials refused to identify. Authority officials have not yet decided whether to accept either of those two plans, said Ed Cline, stadium authority deputy director.
Cline said the authority is prepared to fund total renovation costs of the station, which is to be paid for out of an authority "miscellaneous revenues" fund that contains money from parking fees from the Camden Yards site, lease-back options from former businesses on the site and auctions of equipment.
The cost of land acquisition and baseball stadium construction so far is $205 million. It is being funded from bond-sale revenue and the sale of instant lottery tickets.
Janet Marie Smith, the Orioles' vice president for stadium development, said she remains hopeful that the authority will approve the Orioles' design to convert the station into a "flagship" baseball site to contain a retail store, a cafe, the Hall of Fame museum and a display of old-fashioned ballparks.
Smith also hopes the authority will approve a second Oriole plan to build four narrow buildings parallel to the old B & O warehouse on the east side. Those buildings, to total 600,000 square feet of space, would serve as office space, she said.
Earlier this year, the authority rejected a plan by the team to develop the southern half of the warehouse.
Since then, the authority has hired William Parsons, a private consultant, and paid him $43,000 to study how to develop the southern portion of the warehouse. The authority has refused to release Parsons' report, which was recently completed.
Cline said if the authority decides to lease the renovated Camden Station space to a private source, some of the architectural and design fees could be recouped by the state as part of a development-rights package.
He said the authority decided to hire the architects so the project could proceed and the station could be completed at the same time as the ballpark.