Marina at Henderson's Wharf to be renovated

July 24, 1991|By John H. Gormley Jr.

The marina at the end of Fell Street is almost empty. The end of one pier slumps into the water; a loose piling sways gently in the waves generated by passing boats. The parking area is overgrown with weeds.

On the rapidly gentrifying Fells Point shoreline, the marina is something of an eyesore. But not for long. The new owners of the Henderson's Wharfdevelopment plan to spend $1 million to rejuvenate the facility and make it the attractive companion to the Henderson's Wharf complex that it was designed to be.

"It doesn't make sense to have it for pigeons to poop on," said George C. Wilson, president of Hillcrest Management Inc., the property manager and operator of the Henderson's Wharf development. "We want to clean it up, make it look nice and let people know we're back in business."

Henderson's Wharf had been a troubled development until it was bought last summer from the lender who foreclosed on the original owners. Since then the new owners, Boston Bay Capital, have moved to rescue the main building, a former brick warehouse that dominates the spit of land that gave the surrounding Fells Point neighborhood its name.

Instead of trying to sell the units as condominiums, the new owners decided to market them as apartments. That approach has succeeded, and 81 of the 125 apartments have been rented.

The second step was to open the inn that had been part of the original scheme. That happened in May.

The next stage is to complete the marina. More piles need to be driven. A dockmaster's structure must be built, and the parking area has to be reconstructed. What is in place has suffered from several years of no maintenance, and a tug boat accidently rammed one of the piers last year, dislodging some of the pil

ings and leaving the end of the dock awash.

"It's not a benefit to the neighborhood," Mr. Wilson said of the marina's appearance. But in the past few weeks, a decision was reached to move ahead with the reconstruction.

The marina was built to accommodate 250 boats. The section of the marina beside the apartment building and inn is in good shape, and the 29 slips there are in use. But the rest of the marina extending from the land across Fell Street from Henderson's Wharf needs extensive work.

While a few details still need to be worked out, "I'm very optimistic 125 slips can be ready early next year," in time for the start of the boating season, Mr. Wilson said.

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