Proposal expected for college's Inner Harbor project

December 02, 1992|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Staff Writer

A possible developer has emerged for the first phase of a $90 million mixed-use complex trustees of Baltimore City Community College want built on their Inner Harbor property as a way of generating more revenue.

A&R Development Corp., a Baltimore-based firm headed by Theo Rodgers, intends to submit a proposal to design and build a 550-space parking garage at the corner of Lombard Street and Market Place, college trustees were told at a special meeting yesterday.

A&R has been working with The Poole and Kent Co., a Baltimore-based mechanical contractor, to study expanding the garage to include a basement-level chilled-water plant that could help air-condition buildings around the Inner Harbor.

The parking garage would be the first phase of a development that could eventually include an 11-story, 280-room hotel; a 23- to 25-story office tower; up to 30,000 square feet of retail space; and new academic space on the garage's lower levels.

The trustees last year approved a master plan that calls for the complex to be built in phases on a site now occupied by a large parking lot and the William V. Lockwood Building.

The two-story structure, which contains classrooms, faculty offices and a computer training center, would be razed.

The board of the state-run college, previously known as the New Community College of Baltimore, approved the Lockwood Building replacement plan as a way of making better use of the valuable Inner Harbor parcel.

The L-shaped property is bounded by Pratt and Lombard streets, Market Place and the U.S. Appraisers Stores building at the southeast corner of Gay and Lombard streets.

The parcel is located near the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Pier 4 Power Plant, which is to be made into a sports museum, and the $164 million Christopher Columbus Center for Marine Research and Exploration, which is under construction on Piers 5 and 6.

A&R officials outlined their plan last month and are prepared to submit an "unsolicited proposal" to the college in the near future, said Sheryl Fleming, the college's vice president for administration.

She said the state would then advertise for competing bids before deciding whether to award the development rights to A&R.

Ms. Fleming said the college intends to structure a "profit-sharing arrangement" with A&R or another developer, including a monthly land lease, to ensure that the college earns revenue from the project.

Ms. Fleming and College President James Tschechtelin said the college is in the midst of relocating the activities now housed in the Lockwood Building by next July, so it can be torn down starting in August.

In response to Ms. Fleming's report, college trustees voted to commission a feasibility study to determine whether the garage could be constructed as proposed with the chilled-water plant on the basement level and to ask the development team to pay for it.

One prospective user of the chilled-water plant is the Columbus Center. Planners for the research facility would like the garage and water plant to be in place well before the center opens in late 1994, Ms. Fleming said.

Other phases of the college's Inner Harbor development plan are expected to take shape as the real estate market improves and developers emerge.

City Council President Mary Pat Clarke introduced legislation earlier this year that would change land-use restrictions and design guidelines for the college parcel to permit commercial development on part of the site.

The Lockwood Building is one of two on the college's 16-year-old Inner Harbor campus, the other being the five-story Bard Building. If the demolition plan moves forward, it would be the first Inner Harbor revitalization project to be razed since the renewal effort began nearly 30 years ago.

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