$90 million complex proposed for NCCB-owned site

August 22, 1991|By Edward Gunts

A prime Inner Harbor parcel owned by the New Community College of Baltimore could be the site of a $90 million office-hotel-educational complex by the end of the decade under a development plan received yesterday by the college's trustees.

Representatives for Legg Mason Realty Group and the design firm of Probst-Mason Inc. presented a report to the trustees that showed how a 2.8-acre parcel that contains the two-story Lockwood Building could be redeveloped in phases to hold:

* An 11-story, 280-room hotel.

* A 23- to 25-story, 350,000-square-foot office tower.

* Up to 30,000 square feet of retail space at street level.

* A 12-story, 1,183 car garage.

* New facilities for the college, including academic space to replace what is in the Lockwood Building and possibly a bookstore.

The parcel comprises the block bounded by Pratt, Gay and Lombard streets and Market Place with the exception of the U.S. Appraisers Stores, a federally owned building. Besides the Lockwood Building, the site has a 230-space parking lot that generates about $500,000 a year in revenues for the college.

Legg Mason Realty Vice President Jerry L. Doctrow said that the property is one of the most valuable development parcels in the city -- valued at $17 million, with "more harbor frontage than any other parcel downtown." The college could earn $3 million or more a year if it leased part of it for more intensive development, he said.

The Lockwood site, part of the college's two-building Inner Harbor campus, has been the subject of numerous redevelopment studies over the years, initiated by public officials who believe the land could be put to better use. The Legg Mason/Probst-Mason study is the first since the college, formerly city-owned, became affiliated with the state July 1, 1990. The study was launched at the request of state legislators, who wanted to know if the land could be redeveloped in a way that would increase revenues to the college.

"This is a development plan and only that," said Jeanette Cole, a trustee who headed an 11-member task force that worked closely with the consultants. "It gives us the opportunity to phase it in over any period of time. We know we have a valuable asset."

The report will be forwarded to the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the state legislature for approval. If the recommendations are accepted, college officials would have to seek a change in Baltimore's design controls for the site.

According to Mr. Doctrow and architect James Arnold, the current urban renewal plan for the area allows only public uses on the site and buildings that rise no more than 65 feet, or about six stories.

Mr. Doctrow said that college officials also could begin the process of identifying a developer or developers so that a team will be ready to move ahead with construction when market conditions improve.

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