A downtown parcel once targeted for an Inner Harbor Medical Center and two high-rise residential towers is now being developed as a 7,000-square-foot restaurant that will open next month.
Bohager's Bar and Grill is the name of the restaurant, which has been under construction since March inside the shell of a warehouse at the northeast corner of Fleet and Eden streets.
It will be owned by Jim Mikula and Tom Douglas, who also own the popular Weber's on Boston restaurant in Canton. They have signed a seven-year lease for the Fleet Street property and plan to open in mid-June. Before the grand opening, they are holding preview parties June 6 from noon to 10 p.m. and June 7 from noon to 6 p.m. to benefit the Fell's Point soup kitchen, Beans and Bread.
Mr. Mikula, who is also a partner in Pierpoint restaurant on Aliceanna Street, said Bohager's will be a moderately-priced "warehouse restaurant," similar to ones in New York and Chicago, and will specialize in ribs, burgers, chops, steaks and seafood cooked on a large indoor grill.
The building, parts of which date back to the late 1800s, has been owned for more than 70 years by Frank P. R. Bohager & Sons. The family ran a waste paper and trash removal operation there but sold the business to Illinois-based Waste Management Inc. in 1983.
Representing an investment of $300,000, the restaurant is the first retail project to get under way in the heavily-industrial area surrounding the 20-acre site of Inner Harbor East, a $350 million waterfront neighborhood that Gilbane Properties and John Paterakis, a Baltimore businessman, are building over the next decade.
It is a sign that the ambitious Inner Harbor East proposal -- designed to contain residences, offices and retail space over an eight-block area -- has the ability to trigger spin-off development.
ARC Studios, a design-build firm headed by Kent Dunn and Don Levin, is the architect and contractor. The restaurant will seat 140 people inside and 65 to 80 outside, and will have off-street parking and shuttles to and from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Mr. Douglas told members of Baltimore's zoning board last week that he believes the area has great potential. "We're targeting our resources at developing an area that has been an eyesore between the beautiful Inner Harbor and Fells Point. We're trying to establish for the first time what no one else has established -- putting retail in that area -- and I think we'll be able to achieve that."
"We think it's the right thing for the right area and we that's why we're going for it," Mr. Mikula said after the meeting.
Damian Bohager, a member of the family that owns the property, previously was working with a local group that planned to build a $15 million, 55,000-square-foot medical office center on the two-acre site. Also involved were a physicians' group headed by Lewis Newberg and the construction firm of Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse.
Their plans called for construction of a five-story building containing offices for 50 to 60 physicians, a surgical center and outpatient walk-in clinic, a pharmacy run by Church Hospital and a parking garage. The group was also exploring plans to build two high-rise residential towers as a later phase of the project, but it never moved ahead with construction and Mr. Bohager subsequently leased the property to the restaurateurs.
Gilbane representatives say they would like to see the medical center developed as part of the Inner Harbor East project but have no agreement with the physicians. Dr. Newberg could not be reached for comment.
Smithy Braedon of Baltimore has been named the exclusive leasing agent for the Redwood Tower, a 202,000-square-foot office building at 217 E. Redwood St. It is owned by the California-based Bank of America, which foreclosed on the previous owners earlier this year.
Smithy Braedon recently hired Brent M. Fish as a sales and leasing representative. The company has also promoted Tad Wood and Alexander Montague to the position of assistant vice president, with Mr. Montague responsible for office and industrial transactions in Baltimore County and Mr. Wood handling sales and leasing activity in Anne Arundel and Howard counties.
Around the region
* The Chase Brae Apartments, a 169-unit complex in Columbia, is scheduled to be sold at a public auction at the apartment manager's office, 7525 Murray Hill Road, on June 5 at 2 p.m. Atlantic Auctions Inc. is handling the sale.
* Manekin Corp. is the sales agent for the Esther Lazarus Building, an 11,000-square-foot office building at 1114 Cathedral near the central light rail line. Owner Bernard Kleiman is asking $550,000 for the building.
* Jasper's, the restaurant that leased the old Pimlico restaurant space in the Commercentre office building at 1777 Reisterstown Road, is planning to open in early June. MacKenzie and Associates, landlord of Commercentre, is holding a preview for brokers on Friday at 12 noon in the adjacent banquet facility, which is open for business.
* A former branch of Loyola Federal Savings Bank at 6401-15 Frederick Road is being converted to a retail center containing a 7,000-square-foot Rite Aid Store and four other tenants. Vanguard Equities Inc. is the developer and Richard Polan Associates Inc. is the architect. Completion is due for this summer.
* Robert H. Johnson, an appraiser formerly with W. C. Pinkard & Co., has joined the staff of Lipman Frizzell & Mitchell Real Estate Consultants.
* James R. Landau has joined W. C. Pinkard & Co. as an associate appraiser. Barbara C. Hart has joined the firm as assistant to company president Walter D. Pinkard Jr.