City seeks new plans for Pier 4 power plant

April 25, 1992|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Staff Writer

Nearly two years after they unsuccessfully sought a developer for the Pier 4 power plant, Baltimore redevelopment officials are trying again.

The Baltimore Development Corp. has set June 8 as the deadline for proposals from groups interested in recycling the cavernous three-building complex overlooking the Inner Harbor.

City officials last issued a request for power plant proposals in August 1990 but decided that none of the seven bids was strong enough. They said they would try again when the economy got better.

In recent months, numerous groups have approached the city with ideas for using the power plant, said Gillian Bishop, development director for the city agency. "We know there's strong interest out there," she said. "A few parties are quite serious, so now we're offering it again."

Proposals in 1990 included a Depression-era-style "speakeasy," a Hard Rock Cafe, a high-technology information center, a downtown branch of the Baltimore Museum of Art and a theater for off-Broadway shows.

Since then, local groups have offered plans ranging from a National Craft Center to a showplace for giant hot-air balloons -- when they're not being used in parades and festivals.

The city is asking parties that submitted previous proposals to resubmit them by June 8 if they are still interested in being considered. It is also inviting new groups to submit their ideas.

Dating from 1901 and owned by the city since the 1970s, the 106,230-square-foot former power-generating station was converted in 1985 by Six Flags Corp. to an indoor amusement center, but it was never a success. City officials regained control of the complex when they bought the Six Flags lease in 1989.

No city funds are available to help finance the conversion, and demolition of the power plant is not an acceptable option in this process, Ms. Bishop said.

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