Council to try again to decide fate of McNasby Oyster building

October 10, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

The Annapolis City Council will try again tonight to decide what to do with the old McNasby Oyster Co. building in Eastport.

Jonathan A. Hodgson, a former city attorney who has been retained by the city to negotiate a lease for the building, will present several proposals at the council meeting in City Hall at 7:30 p.m.

The council also will be briefed on the Parole development plan and vote on a planned unit development project off Bywater Road.

Mr. Hodgson said all of the offers for the McNasby building are to continue seafood processing in the city-owned property.

One of those proposals is from the Portland Lobster Co., an Annapolis-based seafood business that was one of three bidders when the city solicited proposals in April. At the time, Portland Lobster was the only bidder to include wholesale and retail business elements and seafood processing.

The city was negotiating a lease with Portland Lobster, but last month the City Council expressed reservations about a preliminary agreement that would have deferred rent payments for nine months and required the city to continue to subsidize the property for several more years.

The city currently pays a $4,700-a-month mortgage on the building.

"The city needs to get a tenant sooner rather than later," Mr. Hodgson said. "Hopefully, the competition will make a better proposal."

Mr. Hodgson declined to name the other prospective tenants he will present tonight.

He said the council could take several actions, including giving tentative approval to one of the plans or rejecting them all. "It's not likely they'll reject everything," he said.

The city bought the property in 1989 for $1.1 million with a combination of state, county and private loans. Some of the state money was provided on the condition that the property be used as a park.

The city then leased the property to the Maryland Watermen's Cooperative, which was to have operated a seafood processing plant as well as a wholesale and retail business.

The project was beset by delays in getting the proper permits and by mismanagement. The watermen closed their operation in February.

In the only major action item on the agenda, the council is to vote on a 185-unit residential development called Annapolis Walk.

Atwater Development Co. of Annapolis has promised to set aside a 3-acre site for a park and community center on the 18-acre site.

The development is on a location off Bywater Road that was to have been the site of the Oxford Mews -- a 192-unit affordable-housing project that fell victim to the savings and loan crisis.

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