University of Baltimore prepares site for 5-story Merrick School of Business building


January 15, 1992|By Edward Gunts

The University of Baltimore has begun preparing the southwest corner of Charles Street and Mount Royal Avenue for construction of a five-story building for the Robert G. Merrick School of Business, the newest addition to its growing midtown campus.

The construction timetable for the 115,000-square-foot project was moved up as part of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's plan to speed up work on state capital improvement projects to help stimulate the economy. A construction fence will be put up around the site this week so work can begin later this month.

Designed by the Hillier Group of Princeton, N.J., and Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore, the building will take two years to complete. Triangle General Contractors of Hanover, Md., is the general contractor.

Originally budgeted at $22 million, the building is now estimated to cost substantially less because Triangle's bid for the largest single phase of construction came in at $11.1 million, 23 percent lower than expected, according to state officials.

The Merrick building will be the third major building to get under way in Baltimore this month, after the City Crescent office building at Baltimore and Howard streets and the Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. branch at Charles and Chase streets.

In conjunction with the Merrick project, the university may have determined a temporary use for the vacant Odorite building at the southeast corner of Maryland and Mount Royal avenues. University officials say they have offered to lease the building to the general contractor so the builders won't have to work out of a construction trailer. The building could also be used to store construction equipment.

Governor Schaefer saved the Elizabethan-Tudor style Odorite building from the wrecker's ball more than a year ago after preservationists expressed concern that it might be torn down for a 25-space parking lot. Two buildings next to it, at 19 and 23 Mount Royal Avenue, will be razed for use as part of the construction staging area, according to George McDevitt, dean of auxiliary services.

Baltimore Thermal Energy Corp. has begun construction of a million steam boiler and district heating system designed to replace one that was demolished to become right field in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Cochran, Stephenson and Donkervoet Inc. is the architect for the project, which is being constructed inside a four-story warehouse at 641 W. Saratoga St. Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is the general contractor.

Baltimore Thermal supplies steam used to heat and cool 70 percent of the buildings in downtown Baltimore, including City Hall, University Hospital, the Murphy Homes and other large xTC users. The Maryland Stadium Authority agreed to pay the company up to $18.8 million to cover the cost of replacing its Camden Yards "peaker" plant, which was used to supplement other generating plants on the 50 or so coldest days of the year.

Baltimore Thermal erected a temporary boiler plant just north of the Camden Yards stadium for use this winter, but it is scheduled for removal before the ballpark opens in April, according to G. Michael Larkin Jr., vice president of marketing. The Saratoga Street facility is scheduled for completion by August, in time for next winter, Mr. Larkin said.


Around the region:

* Karen Lewand, a member of Baltimore's Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation and director of Baltimore Heritage, was selected over 134 other applicants to be the executive director of the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects. a former director of development and alumni relations for the Johns Hopkins University's School of Continuing Studies, Ms. Lewand is to begin her new job Jan. 28.

* Construction began Monday on Riverside Shopping Center, a $9 million, 92,000-square-foot retail center that will have a Klein's Super Thrift grocery store as its main tenant. The developer is Riverside Parkway Limited Partnership, which is a joint venture of BLC Properties, the owners of Klein's and an investment group headed by Lawrence Mekulski of Kayne Levin Neilson Bavar Realtors (KLNB). Planned for the junction of Route 7 and Riverside Parkway, just off Interstate 95 in Harford County, the complex is 85 percent leased, according to KLNB, the leasing agents. Bignell Watkins is the architect. Morris & Ritchie provided site planning and utility engineering.

* Valu Food has leased 54,000 square feet at the Liberty Plaza South Shopping Center on Route 26 in Randallstown. It plans to move into the space, a former Bradlees store, by May 1. Carlton W. Smith of Prime Sites Inc. was the exclusive broker for Valu Food.

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