The outside of the old Baltimore Greyhound Bus Terminal, a remnant of the city's art-deco era, has been painstakingly restored.
On the inside, little remains of the Howard Street building's former self, save the positioning of windows and an old staircase.
The now modern interior -- home of the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments -- is a slick, if not overly ostentatious, rendition of contemporary office design with lots of windows, white walls and open space.
It is a far cry from the council's old location on North Charles Street. The council had leased a portion of a drab office tower where its staff operated out of sometimes tight quarters that were very much in need of upgrading.
The six major local governments in the Baltimore area are represented on the council, which is partly funded by the state. The regional organization passes along federal money that supports housing assistance and transportation planning.
The council will be the sole tenant in the renovated terminal, which has 23,250 square feet of office space.
Two features of the building were cited as standouts by officials yesterday:
* A 1,600-square-foot conference room is illuminated by the terminal's numerous windows.
* A spacious, 1,400-square-foot information center replaces the council's formerly cramped library.
PD Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke called the $2.6 million project a "sign of
hope" in the city's efforts to revitalize the Howard Street corridor. He was among the state and local officials who attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday.
"It shows that we're not just focused on the Inner Harbor, although that area is important, too," said Schmoke.
The renovation was a joint venture of Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse and Bacon & Co., both Baltimore development firms.
State and city government agencies also participated. Gould Architects of Baltimore designed the project.
The Baltimore light rail system, which will travel along Howard Street and connect the city with suburban areas to the north and south, is expected to open next April. City officials expect the system to further boost revitalization of the corridor.
Gail Owen, spokeswoman for the council, said her agency is "excited about anchoring the revitalization efforts."
The move has been one in a series of recent changes at the council, which this year lost 14 of its 57 staff members due to state cost-saving measures.
"We've gone through a lot in terms of losing some staff and moving," Owen added. "Right now, I think the staff is really feeling positive about things.
"It's a pleasure to be in an architecturally significant building and to just be in new, fresh space," she said.
* * * The following are recent commercial real estate transactions handled by Hicks & Rotner Associates Inc. Realty.
* City Cleaners, a dry cleaner, has leased 1,900 square feet at 5627 Reisterstown Road.
* Unique Nails, a nail and facial salon, has leased 1,600 square feet in the Boulevard Theater Plaza, at 422 E. 33rd St. in Baltimore.
* The Baby Maven Inc., a children's clothing store, has leased 840 square feet in Franklin Village, at 11718 Reisterstown Road.