Undeterred by the recession, a group headed by developer Leonard Attman is making another effort to obtain permission to construct an office tower called the Baltimore Financial Centre at the southeast corner of Baltimore and Redwood streets and to use part of Redwood Street as its base.
Baltimore's Planning Commission will consider June 27 a pending City Council bill that would allow the development team to acquire part of Redwood Street between Charles Street and Wine Alley and use it as part of the construction site for the 32-story office tower, designed by Ayers Saint Gross Inc.
The plan has drawn opposition from neighboring property owners and others, who say the city would be setting a bad precedent by selling part of a city street so a developer can enlarge a construction site, especially when numerous other vacant lots downtown could be used without encroaching on a public thoroughfare. Owners of the two adjoining properties -- the Legg Mason Building at 7 E. Redwood St. and the First Maryland Building at 25 S. Charles St. -- also have expressed concern about the size of Mr. Attman's proposed building and its possible effects on traffic congestion.
In a meeting last December, Planning Commission members took no action on the council bill and asked Mr. Attman to try to reach a compromise with the neighboring property owners. Mr. Attman has since disclosed plans to scale down the design of his project so it would take up only one lane of Redwood Street rather than two. But representatives of the owners of the Legg Mason and First Maryland buildings say they still have strong reservations.
Eric Forshee, senior property manager for Hallwood Management Co., the manager of the First Maryland Building, said that he believes the building is still too large. He believes the site could support about 150,000 square feet of space, but the Attman group is trying to build more than twice that much.
Around the region:
* Harbor Hospital Center has decided to turn the old Inner Harbor Ford showroom in the 2900 block of South Hanover Street into "Harbor Family Care," an outpatient treatment facility with eight examination rooms for primary-care services, including pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology. Design Alliance of La Plata is the architect for the project. Construction is expected to begin in August and be completed by late fall.
* The Baltimore Convention Center Authority has set July 1 as the deadline for architects and engineers who want to design the proposed 570,00-square-foot expansion of the Convention Center to express their interest in writing. Preliminary funds for the design work were allocated during the last session of the state legislature.