Hopkins plan seen creating jobs

March 03, 1995|By Edward Gunts and Diana K. Sugg | Edward Gunts and Diana K. Sugg,Sun Staff Writers

The satellite campus that the Johns Hopkins University wants to build on the former Eastern High School property in Baltimore could represent an investment of $40 million and bring 1,500 employees to the area, according to the proposal submitted this week to the Schmoke administration.

The centerpiece of the plan is the $11.5 million renovation of the vacant school building on East 33rd Street, across from Memorial Stadium. Hopkins envisions ringing it with as many as five smaller buildings to create a complex that eventually would contain 500,000 square feet -- about as much as is in the Candler building downtown.

When complete, Hopkins estimates that the project would pay up to $250,000 in yearly property taxes and could pump $200 million into the local economy each year. Another 2,500 jobs could be created in businesses citywide.

Proposed occupants of the campus, which is to be built in phases, include:

* A high school run by the Kennedy-Krieger Institute, a regional resource center for children with brain disorders, in the east wing of the high school and part of the center wing.

* A 50,000-square-foot "Business Incubator Center" run by Dome Real Estate, a Hopkins affiliate.

* Up to 50,000 square feet of office space for administrative, academic and other university needs.

"Because of its location, the site provides a unique opportunity for Johns Hopkins University's future growth in Baltimore," Eugene S. Sunshine, Hopkins' senior vice president for administration, wrote in a letter that accompanied the proposal. "Our plan is to create high quality . . . improvements that enhance the neighboring community and bring significant new employment and business opportunities to Baltimore."

Mr. Sunshine said yesterday the participation of multiple parties is the key to making the project work economically.

When Hopkins considered developing the property several years ago and passed on it, he said, the administration was contemplating funding the entire project alone. But by bringing in Kennedy-Krieger and Dome as partners, he said, the university's cost is "a fraction of the apple as opposed to the whole apple."

Hopkins needs space more today than it did several years ago, he added. "We grew more than we envisioned, so the need for space is outstripping what we thought it would be."

Hopkins is one of two groups that met the city's Feb. 27 deadline for bids for the 26-acre Eastern parcel. Hopkins offered to pay up to $2.175 million for the property, with an initial payment of $100,000 and additional payments coming in phases as the space is built and occupied.

The second bid came from a group of three developers who want to tear down the school and build an $8.9 million strip shopping center called 33rd Street Station. Klein Development, SJS Development Co. and A&R Development Co. offered to pay $690,312 for the property, according to their proposal.

The shopping center plan has drawn strong opposition from representatives of neighboring community groups, who say the area doesn't need any more retail outlets.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke declined yesterday to say which group will be selected, noting that both still have to be reviewed by city agencies and community representatives. But he said that since the city received only two bids for the property, the review process could be expedited.

Mr. Schmoke also pointed out that one plan calls for retention of the high school building, which dates from 1939, while the other calls for demolition. And he said he knows that community leaders don't want another shopping center.

"It was always their preference for a project that would not involve a shopping center, and I think the developers who proposed one know that."

Hopkins' general contractor would be a joint venture of the Whiting Turner Contracting Co. and the Mel McLaughlin Co., a minority firm. Kann & Associates and Amos & Bailey Associates were listed as possible architects, although Frank Gant Architects also has done extensive preliminary studies of Eastern High School for Hopkins.

Dome Real Estate was listed as the developer and project manager.

According to Hopkins' proposal, the Kennedy Krieger high school would be a major expansion for that institution, which recently transformed the former Fairmount Hill high school in East Baltimore for its educational program for elementary and middle-school children.

While the finances are still being worked out, Kennedy Krieger wants to open a school for about 30 to 50 students, according to Jim Anders, the institute's administrator and chief operating officer.

The students, like the roughly 150 in Kennedy Krieger's elementary and middle school, suffer from learning disabilities. All receive schooling and intensive rehabilitation. Mr. Anders said there is a need for a high school for teen-agers with these conditions.

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