A couple of years ago, several brainstorming conferences were held to create a new "vision" for Baltimore's future. Like other committee sessions by well-meaning people, they produced lots of ideas. Visions leading to what real estate developers call "big bang" dividends to the community, however, are more difficult to come up with than mere ideas.
We mention all this as an introduction to Allied-Signal Inc.'s concept for redeveloping its old chrome processing plant site. That 20-acre parcel in Fells Point juts out into the harbor and is a pivotal corner of a shoreline that stretches from Fort McHenry to Canton. Together with another 20-acre site, John Paterakis' Inner Harbor East, that acreage is a key to the eastward expansion of the Inner Harbor.
For 140 years, chrome was processed on the Allied site. As a result, much of the soil and ground water is contaminated to a depth of 80 feet. Under a consent agreement with state and federal regulators, the chemical company is now spending an estimated $80 million to remedy the effects of that contamination. After completing bulkheads, retaining walls and a multilayer "cap," it hopes to cash in on the views and location of the property and redevelop it.