HarborView plans to start 2nd tower

June 14, 1994|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Sun Staff Writer

Developers of HarborView are expected to announce tomorrow the start of a second condominium tower in the proposed $600 million waterfront village along Key Highway.

HarborView Properties Development Co. and partners Parkway Holdings Ltd. yesterday said they'll unveil construction plans during a news conference tomorrow morning at the South Baltimore development.

Breaking ground on a second tower would signal a long-term commitment to the project, one of the city's biggest private residential developments ever, despite slower-than-expected sales in HarborView's first tower.

"It doesn't surprise me that they're going ahead, because they're taking the long view," said Michael Gisrael of Fountainhead Title Co., which has handled most of the property settlements for the first tower, 100 HarborView Drive. "The investors are deep-pocket investors from overseas and seem to be patient."

HarborView Properties officials have repeatedly maintained that the financial backing of general partner and half-owner Parkway Holdings of Singapore gives the project the holding power to ride out real estate slumps.

The first tower, overlooking a marina and distinguished by a beacon topping its 27 stories, opened last fall -- the latest in a series of upscale condominiums built downtown since the mid-1980s. A weak market for condominiums has forced several projects to lower sales prices or sell units at auction.

Since opening the 248-unit high-rise in a city never known for embracing the condo lifestyle, HarborView's developers have struggled with sales.

The sales pace became the center of controversy in February, when legislative opposition forced Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to request the withdrawal of legislation in the Maryland General Assembly that would have benefited owners of the HarborView by giving tax breaks to people who buy condos there.

The developers still must apply for a construction permit.

HarborView's developers released no details about the second tower yesterday. Under plans filed with the city, the tower, the second of six planned at the site, would be built over an existing underground garage adjacent to the first tower. Original designs by Design Collective call for a red-brick, L-shaped building, no taller than 250 feet, with balconies and terraces, an internal courtyard and rooftop swimming pool.

As opposed to the first tower, designed as a building to stand on its own with strong architectural elements, "the second building needed to be more of backdrop building, and elements needed to be more intimate and in scale with Key Highway," said Rich Burns, a partner with Design Collective, a Baltimore architectural firm. "But it will provide just as dramatic views as the first building. Every unit will have a view of the harbor."

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