In what might be the most extreme example yet of the emerging life sciences industry's ability to change the urban landscape, a local developer is converting a former warehouse for nuts and bolts to a high-tech medical office and kidney dialysis clinic.
Samuel Himmelrich Jr. of Washingtonville Limited Partnership said a Berwyn, Pa.-based group, Renal Treatment Centers, signed a 10-year lease this month for 6,154 square feet of space at Mount Washington Mill, the 60,000-square-foot office center he is creating on the site of Maryland's oldest cotton mill, in the 1300 block of Smith Ave. in northwest Baltimore.
Renal Treatment Centers plans to open medical offices and a kidney dialysis clinic inside a 1970s warehouse most recently used to store nuts and bolts by the previous owner, the Maryland Bolt and Nut Co.
Renal Treatment is the first tenant for the $3 million mill conversion, and it enabled Mr. Himmelrich's firm to begin this month converting the 7,500-square-foot warehouse, the first of several mill buildings that will be upgraded for new uses.
Mr. Himmelrich's group is retaining the structural supports of the metal warehouse but recladding it with split-faced block and multipaned "punched" windows.
When complete in about four months, it will be much more compatible with the older stone mill buildings nearby, yet expressive of its new use.
The exterior alterations were key to luring the tenant, Mr. Himmelrich said. "A kidney dialysis center isn't going to go into a blue, Butler-style building," he said. "What we've done is create a building that works well with the other buildings in the complex but accommodates the tenants of today. It's going to make a modern statement."
Werner Mueller of Atelier Three Architects designed the conversion. NationsBank is the construction lender.
Mr. Himmelrich is meeting with Baltimore's Planning Commission tomorrow to seek approval of a City Council bill that would enable him to carry out the project as a "planned unit development" to include up to 6,000 square feet of retail space.
He said he expects to begin work soon for a second tenant, the Stone Mill Bakery, which is operated by his brother, William Himmelrich.
Around the region
* Gilbane Building Co. has been named construction manager for the $150 million, 600,000-square-foot addition planned for the Baltimore Convention Center. The project could begin construction by mid-1993 if funding comes through.
* Baltimore's Consultants Evaluation Board and the Baltimore Development Corp. are seeking architects with experience designing police headquarters to serve as a consultant on the proposed conversion of the eight-story Hecht Co. building at Howard and Lexington streets to a new headquarters for the city Police Department. The deadline for completed applications is May 4.
* Micrographic Specialties Inc. has signed a 15,127-square-foot lease and moved into the first building at Konterra Business Campus in Prince George's County, a joint venture of Muirkirk Limited Partnership and Manekin Corp.
* The George Hyman Construction Co. of Bethesda outbid four other general contractors to win a contract to build a $104.5 million, 1.1 million-square-foot headquarters for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Ill.
* Mail Marketing Systems Inc. renewed a 65,842-square-foot lease at the Greenwood I project in the Corridor Industrial Park in Savage. Michael Elardo of W. C. Pinkard & Co. structured the transaction.
* Pinehurst Landing Marina, an 18-slip marina off Bodkin Creek in the Locust Cove area of Pasadena, recently was sold to Frank and Peg O'Brien. Wilford Land Co. Inc. of Easton was the broker.