ABC-TV wants Power Plant Network would use it for a 'Wide World of Sports' showcase.

June 18, 1992|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Staff Writer

Visitors to Baltimore's Inner Harbor might one day experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat -- over and over again.

Representatives of ABC Sports in New York, a division of the ABC television network, have expressed strong interest in transforming part of the Pier 4 Power Plant into an elaborate multimedia display about the "Wide World of Sports," based on pTC the long-running TV show.

As part of the display, video libraries would show "Wide World of Sports" segments at the push of a button.

A separate area would be devoted to Baltimorean Jim McManus, better known as Jim McKay, the original host of "Wide World" and a 12-time Emmy Award-winning ABC sports commentator.

ABC's exhibits would be the centerpiece of Sports Center USA, a $31 million sports museum and entertainment complex proposed by a group headed by Lynda O'Dea. It is one of seven proposals from groups that want to recycle the vacant facility.

"ABC Sports is very excited about the possibility of having the 30-year history of 'Wide World of Sports' showcased as the centerpiece of this new attraction," Stephen Solomon, senior vice president in charge of sports planning and administration for ABC Sports, wrote in a letter accompanying O'Dea's proposal.

The possibility that ABC might join forces with Ms. O'Dea's group became public when the Baltimore Development Corp. made the proposals available for inspection this week.

Ms. O'Dea, president of the O'Dea Group and vice president of the Maryland Jockey Club, said ABC's role in redeveloping the Power Plant would be further defined if city officials select the Sports Center proposal.

Other aspects of her plan would involve "virtual reality" computer technology, motion simulators and large screen theaters to simulate various sports events. The development team also wants the right to use the inlet between Piers 3 and 4 for aquatic displays.

Four other proposals for the three-building Power Plant were announced last week.

They include plans for a multifaceted arts and entertainment center by Struever Bros., Eccles and Rouse and LRS Associates; a $5 million educational and entertainment complex called E=MC by Darrell D. Frazier and others; a $5.8 million ethnic heritage center by the Committee for the Maryland Ethnic Center; and a $1.1 million family-oriented entertainment center called American Celebration on Parade.

Baltimore Development Corp. officials said this week that they received two additional proposals that they did not initially disclose and will review them as well.

One is a proposal for the Heritage Museum of Art, a $4.5 million showcase of the art, culture and history of Africans, African-Americans, American Indians, Latin Americans and West Indians.

The complex would include performing space, a library and areas for fine arts exhibits, lectures and other activities. It was proposed by The Heritage Museum of Art Inc., a non-profit group whose executive director is Steven Lee of Baltimore. Sulton, Campbell, Britt & Owens would be the architect.

The second new proposal came from Jerry Nelson Jr., a resident of the 4500 block of Marble Hall Road. He proposed transforming the Power Plant into an amusement center reflecting the best features of existing theme parks in one location.

Struever Bros. and LRS said two possible components of their project might be a National Craft Arts Center that would be created by Wendy Rosen of the Rosen Agency and a multidimensional presentation called "The Cinema Experience of the Future."

Possible features would be a "big screen illusionary theater," ride simulation, an interactive theater, simulated games and "virtual reality" technology.

Previously disclosed aspects of the proposal include an off-Broadway-style theater and a catering hall to be operated by the Classic Catering People.

City officials say that a blue-ribbon panel will review the proposals.

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