City seeks proposals for 2 tracts Swirnow has plans for downtown land

December 07, 1991|By Edward Gunts

One month after state officials named a group headed by Richard Swirnow to be the lead developer for a 6 1/2 -acre parcel in Camden Yards, city officials are about to decide whether to give the group rights to develop two key city-owned parcels as well.

The Baltimore Development Corp., the agency in charge of downtown development, has set Jan. 20 as the deadline for developers to submit proposals for the parcels, which are just north of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Parkway/Swirnow Group Ltd., a joint venture of the Swirnow Corp. of Baltimore and Parkway Holdings Ltd. of Singapore, expressed interest last July in using the city parcels as part of the construction site for a $600 million medical trade mart and conference center that it wants to build between the ballpark and the Convention Center.

The first parcel is a block bounded by Pratt, Camden, Eutaw and Howard streets. Parkway/Swirnow wants to put parts of the medical mart there.

The second parcel is a portion of a two-block tract bounded by Howard, Pratt, Sharp and Conway streets, site of the proposed $150 million Convention Center expansion. For the second parcel, the city is seeking bids for either part of the site itself or the air rights above it.

Parkway/Swirnow's plan calls for construction of a 1,000-room hotel over the Convention Center expansion.

City officials said when Mr. Swirnow first submitted his proposal that they wanted to see what the state did before acting on his bid for the city land. Now that the state has given Mr. Swirnow's group until Aug. 1, 1992, to refine its plans for the state property, city officials say they are ready to consider his proposal for the city land.

Before they award any property, however, they are seeking competing bids, according to Jeff Middlebrooks, executive vice president of the Baltimore Development Corp.

"We all know what the medical mart is," he said. "If someone else has a better idea, they should grab the city's attention. That's what these competitions are for."

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