Government House now turns out chefsThe Government House...


September 02, 1993|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Staff Writer

Government House now turns out chefs

The Government House, established in the mid-1980s as a reception center for Baltimore government, has become a full-fledged training facility for budding chefs and innkeepers.

The Baltimore International Culinary College has signed a 10-year lease that gives the institution control of the house and the 18-room Inn at Government House.

The college had been operating the city-owned inn and meeting center at 1125 through 1129 N. Calvert St. for the past two years under a management contract with the Schmoke administration. The $1-a-year lease, which college President Roger Chylinski signed in mid-July, gave the college control of the $3.5 million facility, It also privatized the inn, which enabled the city to take it off its books as of July, saving money on upkeep and maintenance. For the year that ended June 30, for example, the city budgeted $9,000 to help operate Government House.

The Calvert Street buildings date from the 1880s and were originally private residences. One early resident was William Painter, inventor of the soda bottle cap. Baltimore City acquired them in the 1930s and used them for the next 50 years as office space for the Department of Recreation and Parks.

The buildings were refurbished as a volunteer effort by a local group headed by Marion Pines, the former housing commissioner, and the interior design firm of Johnson-Berman.

When Government House opened in 1986, the concept was to provide a setting where then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer and future mayors could entertain.

It was also envisioned as a job training program for people who wanted to work in the hospitality industry -- an idea that was never realized.

The Victorian-style rooms feature a number of Baltimore-made pieces of furniture donated by local antique dealers and others. Mariana Palacios, managing director of Government House, said the college has no plans to alter the interior.

The public rooms at Government House, at 1129 N. Calvert St., are available for wedding receptions, business meetings and other events. Staying in one of the guest rooms at 1125 to 1127 N. Calvert St. costs $100 to $125 a night.

The college plans to use Government House as a hands-on learning center for students on work-study, Ms. Palacios said. "The building was originally designed to be a training facility, and now that the college has it, it is being run as it was designed." The state of Maryland is investing $7.2 million to convert the former Baltimore Life Insurance Co. building at 901 Howard St. to a new headquarters for Maryland's Mass Transit Administration.

Construction crews began removing asbestos from the building last month. Work on the new offices will begin in March, with completion by the end of 1994, according to MTA administrator John A. Agro Jr. The 100,000-square-foot headquarters will house employees now based on three floors of One Market Center at Howard and Lexington streets. Some employees will also be transferred from MTA facilities at 1515 Washington Blvd.

Mount Royal Center

Another large state project now under way is a $4 million, six-story parking garage that the University of Baltimore is building at the southwest corner of Maryland Avenue and Biddle Street, in place of the recently razed Pat Hays Buick showroom.

Wheeler Goodman Masek and Associates of Annapolis designed the 505-space garage to be made of reinforced concrete with brick cladding and a precast and stone veneer. H. A. Harris of Towson is the general contractor. Completion is due by the mid-1994.

Around town

Seen at Penn Station yesterday: New York architect James Ingo Freed, designer of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. He is one of several well-known architects under consideration to design the $600 million International Life Sciences Center.

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