City soliciting plans for land along Howard St.

April 19, 1991|By Edward Gunts

Three months after city housing officials abandoned plans to assemble land for a shopping center near North Avenue and Howard Street, they have come up with a revised plan that could lead to some redevelopment of the property by fall.

At a meeting of the Charles North Community Association this week, city planners outlined the latest plan and identified three developers who have expressed interest in acquiring some or all of the property that had been targeted for a shopping center.

David Elam, director of development for the Department of Housing and Community Development, told members of the neighborhood association that the city will issue a formal request for proposals about May 15 for the land bounded by Maryland Avenue and Howard, 20th and 21st streets, plus the vacant Royalton apartment building at 102 W. North Ave.

Mr. Elam said his office has divided the property into five parcels and will seek separate bids for each parcel. . But the city also will entertain proposals for development of all five together and will award the property to the group or groups that submit the best bid.

"Our position is to have flexibility," Mr. Elam said. "We're anxious to move as quickly as possible."

Officials had worked for years on plans that would have put a supermarket and other neighborhood-oriented stores on the property. But Mr. Elam said in January that the developer who was working with the city did not offer as much money for the land as officials had hoped.

Under the new plan, the parcels to be offered for redevelopment are: a 52,000-square-foot site at the southeast corner of 21st and Howard streets; a city firehouse on 21st Street; a row of eight town houses along Maryland Avenue; a square parcel at the northwest corner of Maryland Avenue and 20th Street; and the Royalton building.

Mr. Elam and Laurie Hay, a city planner, said the parcels may be cleared for new construction or the existing buildings could be recycled for new use.

One company interested in part of the city land is the Dankmeyer Orthotics and Prosthetics Center, which makes artificial limbs and braces at its current base at 2010-2014 Maryland Ave.

Company President Charles Dankmeyer told the group he would like to buy the northwest corner of Maryland Avenue and 20th Street and raze the buildings not already occupied by his company. He would then build a larger and more modern facility for his business.

Another businessman interested in part of the property is Gus Diakoulas, developer of the Baltimore Design and Resource Center at the northwest corner of North Avenue and Howard Street.Mr. Diakoulas said that he would like to acquire the property at the southeast corner of Howard and 21st streets, landscape it, and use it as parking for customers and employees. He said he also is interested in the firehouse and town houses on Maryland Avenue.

A third developer with interest in the land is Ted Rouse of Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse. Mr. Rouse made no formal presentation to the community group, but Mr. Elam said that he is working on plans for a mixed-use project that would include a retail component.

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