True to their word, developers of $90 million Commerce Place office tower at Baltimore and South streets have re-erected the former entrance of the old Safe Deposit and Trust Co. building, which previously stood on the site, as part of the base of the new tower.
Contractors finished work several weeks ago on the reconstructed entrance portal, which was dismantled piece by piece and placed in storage when the Beaux Arts-style bank at 13 South St. was razed four years ago to make way for the replacement project.
In response to preservationists' concerns about the loss of the 1876 bank, the developers promised to reconstruct a portion of its facade on the site to preserve its memory.
"I think we lived up to our promise," developer Leonard Harlan said yesterday during a "topping-off" ceremony for the 30-story tower. "The restoration of that facade [will lend] a certain tone of elegance to the courtyard."
The reconstructed stonework still bears the bank's old address, "13," and will provide an entrance to a tenant space from a landscaped courtyard that is being created south of the tower.
The bricks behind the salvaged stonework are new.
The effort is something of a new twist on "facadism," an oft-derided practice in which the outer shells of old buildings are preserved as part of new projects. Usually, the walls of the older buildings are kept in place while a larger building is constructed behind them, as with the Baltimore Federal tower at Water and South streets. Commerce Place marks one of the first times locally that an old building has been taken down and fragments of it have been reconstructed in a new location.
RTKL Associates is the architect and lead tenant for Commerce Place. The developer is Harlan-KDC Associates, a joint venture of the Harlan Co. Inc. and Kajima Development Corp.
Ten Baltimore-area office buildings have been named finalists in the 1991 Buildings of the Year award program administered by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Baltimore.
Finalists in the "downtown" category are: the Candler Building at Market Place and Pratt Street; the 28-story building at 201 N. Charles St.; and the First Maryland Building at 25 S. Charles St. In the "suburban" category, finalists are the Gateway International in Linthicum; Heaver Plaza in Lutherville; Park Plaza in North Plaza at Hunt Valley; and One Owings Corporate Center in Owings Mills.
In the "corporate/single tenant" category, finalists are the CSX building at 100 N. Charles St. and the PHH Corporate Building in Hunt Valley. Winners will be announced Dec. 4 during ceremonies at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
The 22,000-square-foot office building known as One Oakwood Business Center, 7050 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia, will be sold at an auction on the premises Nov. 5 starting at 11 a.m.
The auction, by A.J. Billig & Co. Auctioneers, is on behalf of Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co., which has initiated foreclosure proceedings against the developer, Trimtax Limited Partnership.
Scheduled for sale at the same auction is a development site at 7070 Oakland Mills Road with room for a 38,500-square-foot building. That action also is a foreclosure sale on behalf of Mercantile. The owner of the property is Oakwood Business Center Limited Partnership.