More than five years have passed since a private developer last began construction of an office building overlooking Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
But the dry spell will end officially at 11 a.m. tomorrow, when Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and other dignitaries break ground for a $32 million office and residential complex that will be the headquarters for Sylvan Learning Systems, now based in Columbia.
The project occupies a block bounded by Central Avenue and Lancaster, Aliceanna and Exeter streets -- part of Baltimore's federally designated empowerment zone. It is the first major component of Inner Harbor East, a $350 million community planned for a 20-acre waterfront parcel between the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.
"It's been a long draw, but we have the momentum going now," said John Paterakis, the Baltimore businessman who has been working to develop Inner Harbor East since 1983.
Mr. Paterakis said the project is designed and priced to attract other companies from the suburbs, not just those relocating from one part of downtown to another. "That's the only way the city is going to grow," he said.
Inner Harbor East "represents another jewel in the crown that is Baltimore's Inner Harbor," said Mayor Schmoke.
The project consists of two structures rising from a two-story platform containing 212 parking spaces and retail space at street level. The structures will be separated by a courtyard on the roof of the platform.
A four-story, 107,000-square-foot office building called 1000 Lancaster Street will rise on the south side, facing Lancaster Street and the harbor. An 11-story residential tower tentatively called the Harbor East apartments will rise at the northwest corner of the complex, overlooking Exeter and Aliceanna streets. Slated to open by October, 1000 Lancaster St. will be the first major office building overlooking the Inner Harbor since Commerce Place opened in December 1992. (Work on that project began in July 1990.) In late 1991, a 28-story office tower hTC opened at 100 E Pratt St.
Columbus Center opened partly this year, but its office and laboratory space is reserved for marine biotechnology. The City Crescent building at Baltimore and Howard Streets opened in 1993 but houses federal agencies.
The new office complex will have a glass and precast concrete surface, with brick accents. Sylvan, a nationwide testing and tutoring organization, will occupy about half the space, bringing 250 to 300 employees to the city.
The development team is a joint venture of the Paterakis family of Baltimore and the Evans Co. of McLean, Va. Beatty Harvey Fillat is the architect. Armada Hoffler Construction Co. of Chesapeake City, Va. is the general contractor. Design Collective is the designer for Sylvan's interior space. Miller Corporate Real Estate is handling the office leasing.
Bozzuto & Associates, a specialist in upscale rental housing, will market the 113 one- and two-bedroom apartments, which will be complete by March 1997. This will be the first downtown development to mix offices with housing since Scarlett Place opened at Pratt and President streets in the mid-1980s.
As part of tomorrow's event, Mayor Schmoke also will cut the ribbon for Victor's Cafe, a new restaurant inside the marina house at 801 Lancaster Street.
The master plan for Inner Harbor East calls for the construction of up to 600,000 square feet of office space, 800 residences and a 325-room hotel over the next decade.
Open house is planned for artists' loft building
A three-story loft building at 1601 Guilford Ave. has been transformed to a multilevel artists' colony, containing the studios of more than two dozen painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers, musicians and others. They will have a 12-hour open house on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. For information, call 625-5722.