The Baltimore Development Corp. has selected a group headed by Ayers Saint Gross Inc. of Baltimore to develop preliminary designs for converting the former Hecht Co. department store at Howard and Lexington streets to a headquarters for the Baltimore Police Department.
The Architectural and Engineering Awards Commission approved the firm's selection over 10 other groups last week. Baltimore Development Corp. now will negotiate a contract with Ayers Saint Gross to provide a preliminary design for the conversion.
The city has budgeted as much as $225,000 for the work.
Jeff Middlebrooks, executive vice president of the development corporation, said that once it has a schematic design for converting the eight-story building, the city will seek proposals to do the work.
He said the city still intends to buy the 280,000-square-foot building from its Virginia-based owners and that they would be eligible to bid for the conversion work. But the city has rejected their original offer to rehabilitate the building and sell it to the city, he said.
A reliable cost figure for the conversion will not be available until the preliminary design is finished in the next several months, but the cost of the work has been estimated at more than $20 million.
City officials also are studying buying a three-story retail building at 315-319 W. Lexington St., just west of the former Hecht's store, to provide better access to the new police headquarters.
Other consultants in the Ayers Saint Gross team are Carter Gobel Associates of Columbia, S.C.; a specialist in criminal-justice planning; Gould Architects; H. C. Yu and Associates; and Daniel Consultants.
The five runners-up in the selection process were groups headed by Hord Coplan Macht; Cho, Wilks & Benn; Daniel Mann Johnson Mendenhall; RTKL Associates; and Smeallie, Orrick and Janka.
The police headquarters is at 601 E. Fayette St. The Schmoke administration sought a new headquarters site because the Fayette Street building has been plagued by mechanical problems.
Ayers Saint Gross
* The Baltimore County Board of Education has hired Ayers Saint Gross Inc. to design an addition to Hereford Middle School that could accommodate an enrollment increase of 200 students.
* The Urban and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee of the Baltimore City Council will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. in City Hall council chambers on a bill that would amend the financial-district urban-renewal plan to allow developer Leonard Attman to buy air rights above the sidewalk on the south side of Redwood Street east of Charles Street. Mr. Attman is seeking financing and tenants for a 29-story, 344,000-square-foot office building designed by Ayers Saint Gross.
* The University of Maryland System's Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies recently began construction of a $4.8 million, 25,300-square-foot Coastal Chemistry Laboratory on Solomon's Island. Ayers Saint Gross was the architect, and Omni Construction Co. is the builder. Completion is expected by fall 1993.
Maryland's Department of General Services plans to buy as much as 300,000 square feet of office space in Baltimore as part of an effort to reduce money spent on office leases for state agencies. The 1992 General Assembly appropriated $13.2 million to enable general services officials to "acquire one or more buildings for state use" while prices are still low as a result of the depressed local real estate market.
The department is asking potential sellers to submit information on buildings with 25,000 to 300,000 square feet of space. They must be within the area bounded by North Avenue, the Jones Falls Expressway, Pratt Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Around the region
* The Columbia Design Collective has promoted architects Charles Alexander and Luis Bernardo and construction administrator Donald Harris to associates.
* The Manor Club, a 7,000-square-foot brownstone mansion at 1800 N. Eutaw Place, was sold at auction Monday for $97,000 to investor Michael Tisdale. A. J. Billig & Co. handled the auction, a foreclosure sale on behalf of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
* The Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 1621 W. Nursery Road near Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Linthicum was sold by Marriott Corp. to a Real Estate Investment Trust sponsored by W. P. Carey & Co. of New York.
The hotel is one of 13 Marriotts sold at the same time to the Carey trusts for about $150 million. Carey is leasing the properties back to Marriott, which will continue to operate them.
* The University of Maryland Medical System has selected Atlantic Builders Group of Baltimore to complete renovation projects involving emergency rooms on the ground floor of the University of Maryland Medical Center. BWJ Architects designed the renovations.
* The Manhattan, a 150-room business hotel in Japan that was designed by RTKL Associates Inc. of Baltimore, received top prize in the "best hotel" category in the 1992 Gold Nugget awards sponsored by the Pacific Coast Builders Conference and several building-industry magazines.
* RTKL has promoted one architect and two engineers to vice president. They are Paul Hanegraaf, managing director of the company's London office; and mechanical engineers Robert E. Fagg and Bernard Friel.