BGE to buy Hamburger's site Charles Street building to house new heating and cooling division

March 07, 1996|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. said yesterday it intends to purchase the vacant Hamburger's building in Charles Center downtown for roughly $1 million and renovate it as the headquarters for a new alternative air conditioning and heating division.

The decision will bring life to the 10 N. Charles St. building for the first time in more than five years. Initially, the $8.1 billion utility will move 15 employees in its Comfort Link division to the former retail store.

"It's a centrally located building in the financial district, where we have a great deal of interest from prospective clients," said Greg Fox, BGE Comfort Link's marketing director.

Mr. Fox said Hamburger's location will allow Comfort Link's systems to heat or cool buildings as far away as five blocks.

In addition to containing the office component, the building will house BGE's first mechanism to provide steam or hot water heat downtown, after BGE won the right to compete in that arena from the Baltimore City Council over the objections of competitor Trigen-Baltimore Energy Corp. last December.

The city's Architectural Review Board is expected to vote later today on a BGE application to convert and modify the building.

The 43,000-square-foot building also will become Comfort Link's second ice storage hub, providing air conditioning to downtown skyscrapers via chilled water circulated through underground pipes.

BGE and partner Monumental Investment Corp. plan to have the conversion and its new systems in place in the Hamburger's building by the spring of 1997.

Hugo Boss USA Inc., the parent of Hamburger's Clothiers Inc. and owner of the building, could not be reached for comment.

BGE expects the $60 million chilled water air conditioning system to save downtown landlords millions of dollars in cooling and maintenance costs over 20 years. BGE expects to invest $20 million more to install and implement the heating component.

BGE is in the process of completing a similar 20,000-square-foot cooling system in the $150 million expansion of the Baltimore Convention Center.

Thus far, however, BGE has lined up only the Convention Center as a client. Mr. Fox said other contracts are in the process of being negotiated.

Pub Date: 3/07/96

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