Plan for new medical center unveiled Proposed site near Inner Harbor area

March 06, 1991|By Edward Gunts

One of the largest undeveloped parcels between the Inner Harbor and Fells Point may soon be the site of a $15 million medical complex.

The Inner Harbor Medical Center would contain offices for 50 to 60 physicians, a surgical center and outpatient walk-in clinic, a pharmacy run by Church Hospital and a parking garage. Later, two high-rise residential towers may be built on the site.

Developer Maurice Freedlander of the M. P. Free Co. has been negotiating to purchase nearly two acres at the northeast corner of Fleet and Eden streets from Bernard Bohager to carry out the project.

Mr. Freedlander hopes to begin building the five-story medical office condominium next summer for a physicians' group headed by Dr. Lewis Newberg. The developer plans to sell it to the physicians when construction is complete in late 1992.

The medical center is one of the first major redevelopment projects planned for the largely industrial area surrounding the 20-acre site of Inner Harbor East, a $350 million waterfront neighborhood that Gilbane Properties and John Paterakis, a Baltimore businessman, plan to build during the next decade.

The pending sale of the Bohager property is a sign that the ambitious Inner Harbor East proposal -- designed to contain residences, offices and retail space over an eight-block area -- is beginning to trigger spin-off development.

The property that Mr. Freedlander wants to acquire represents the bulk of a 2.2-acre parcel that has been owned for more than 70 years by Frank P. R. Bohager & Sons. The Bohager family ran a waste paper and trash removal operation there but sold the business to Illinois-based Waste Management Inc. in 1983.

Damian Bohager, former vice president of Bohager & Sons, said other ideas for his family's land ranged from nightclubs and restaurants to an auto mall and a theme park. He said he brought Mr. Freedlander together with the physicians' group and believes a medical center is the best possible use for the property.

"We've looked at a lot of proposals and, of all of them, we think it will most benefit the city and the community," he said.

Mr. Bohager, who plans to work with the development team as ......TC project coordinator for the medical center, said the doctors had been looking for some time for a site where they could build a facility that could serve the growing Inner Harbor East area. "We are in the middle of what will be a lot of development, and that was a big selling point for the project," he said.

The land for the medical center and a companion four-story, 260-car garage is bounded by Fleet, South Eden and South Spring streets and Duker Alley. Mr. Freedlander is also acquiring the land bounded by Duker Alley, Eden and South Caroline streets and Eastern Avenue. According to Mr. Bohager, he would like to build two high-rise residential towers -- projects that could provide an additional clientele for the medical center.

Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse will be the general contractor for the 55,000-square-foot medical center. As designed by Gould Associates, it would have office space for 50 to 60 physicians as well as a walk-in clinic for minor emergencies and a surgical center for specialists.

Mr. Bohager said the medical condominiums will be sold to specialists seeking an office location near the Inner Harbor and that 80 percent of the space already is taken. Church Hospital will operate a pharmacy in the building and will also lease a suite of offices.

According to marketing director Peter Mongroo,the hospital will have no ownership interest in the medical center but would like to forge a strong relationship with the physicians there.

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