A local Korean-American group's plan to build a $4.3 million business and cultural center near the intersection of North Avenue and Howard Street has won the backing of the Schmoke administration, which this week chose that group over several other bidders to redevelop more than an acre of city-owned land in the area.
City Housing Commissioner Robert Hearn announced he has selected the Triple C Real Estate Development Corp., a business group headed by Ki Duck Han and Heesok Kim, to develop three of the five parcels for which the city sought proposals this year.
The three parcels are a 52,000-square-foot lot at the southeast corner of Howard and 21st streets; a surplus city firehouse at 105 W. 21st St.; and a row of eight town houses at 2018-2032 Maryland Ave.
At the same time, Mr. Hearn awarded the vacant Royalton building at the northwest corner of Maryland and North avenues to the Baltimore Corporation for Housing Partnerships, which planned to spend $1 million to build 12 cooperative residences.
He also assigned a parcel at 2000 to 2016 Maryland Ave. to Charles Dankmeyer, owner of the Dankmeyer Orthotics and Prosthetics Center. Mr. Dankmeyer proposed spending $2.5 million to construct a larger facility for his business, which is in the same block.
"These projects, totaling $8 million in new investment, will generate 52 new jobs and $200,000 in annual real estate taxes," Mr. Hearn said.
"In addition, the proposed Triple C Plaza complements the $2 million [Oak Street Station] auto service complex across Howard Street, developed by Yellow Transportation Inc. These projects promote a well-balanced mix of uses, including retail, institutional, offices, businesses and residential," he said.
Struever Bros., Eccles and Rouse Inc. will be the consulting developer and general contractor for Triple C Plaza. Cho, Wilks & Benn will be the architect.
According to the proposal, the 52,000-square-foot lot on Howard Street will contain the Triple C Cash and Carry, a 26,300-square-foot discount retailing operation run by the owners of Triple C Wholesalers Inc., and an 8,800-square-foot international food store.
The fire station will contain new offices for Korean Social Services of Metropolitan Baltimore and the Korean Senior Center. The eight town houses on Maryland Avenue will be rehabilitated to house offices for Korean businesses and a new location for the Korean School, where children of Korean descent can go on evenings and weekends to learn the Korean language and cultural traditions.
The school will move from its current location on the Goucher College campus near Towson.
Mr. Han, who heads Triple C Wholesalers along with Mr. Kim, said that he was delighted his group was selected. He said that the Cash and Carry store will be operated in addition to Triple C's wholesale operation at 2728 Loch Raven Road and that, if it is successful, Triple C might launch similar outlets elsewhere in the city.
According to city officials, the Korean group offered to pay the city $750,000 for the land and buildings it was awarded. Baltimore Corporation for Housing Partnerships offered $63,000 for the Royalton Building, and Mr. Dankmeyer offered $99,000 for the Maryland Avenue property he wanted.
Each group has been awarded an exclusive negotiating priority that will enable it to negotiate a land sale agreement with the city.