Building boom on Key Highway Development: A $12 million nursing and rehabilitation center planned by HarborView Properties joins two projects announced last week.

Urban Landscape

September 25, 1997|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

When the Baltimore Development Corp. selected two groups last week to develop city-owned parcels along Key Highway, it paved the way for $9 million worth of construction to begin.

Now a third developer is planning to start construction on yet another Key Highway project that will cost more than the other two combined.

The HarborView Nursing and Rehabilitation Center -- a $12 million building -- is being planned for the east side of Key Highway, south of Cross Street.

The development team is headed by Richard Swirnow's HarborView Properties Development Co., the same group that built the 29-story condominium tower at 100 HarborView Drive. The other team members are Richard Commack and Stanley Savitz, local nursing home specialists. Marks Thomas & Associates Inc. is the architect.

Representatives for the development team presented plans this month to Baltimore's Design Advisory Panel that call for construction of a long, narrow building rising five stories above Key Highway. Its main entrance would face Covington Street and Southern High School, and its service entrance would be accessible from Key Highway.

As designed by Marks Thomas, the nursing home will have 176 beds, including 108 nursing beds, 29 for subacute care, 28 for Alzheimer's patients and 11 "assisted living" beds.

Ed Giannasca, a HarborView Properties vice president, said the developer wants to begin construction in the first quarter of 1998 and complete the project by mid-1999.

The design panel members praised the design, which is vaguely reminiscent of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. They said they particularly liked the rooftop garden, corner lounges and dining rooms that will provide sweeping views of the harbor. But they questioned whether the building's loading dock should face Key Highway, which was recently reconstructed to be a gateway to downtown Baltimore from Interstate 95.

"I'm really worried about all the garage doors and truck openings and curb cuts that we're getting along our streets," said panel member Phoebe Stanton. "They interfere with the foot paths, they're ugly and they're inhumane. I'm on a crusade to protect our streets from becoming lanes for garbage hauling."

The other projects planned for Key Highway include a $4 million, 20-unit townhouse community just north of Cross Street, proposed by a group headed by Jay French, and a $5 million expansion of the American Visionary Arts Museum at 800 Key Highway.

HarborView Properties submitted a proposal for the land awarded to French, proposing to build 30 townhouses on the west side of Key Highway, with an average base price of about $190,000.

Giannasca said HarborView Properties was disappointed that its proposal was not selected but that the decision will not affect its plans to begin construction of the nursing home in early 1998. The firm is currently re-evaluating its plans and timetables for other parcels with the HarborView renewal area, he added.

Giannasca estimated that the nursing home will result in the creation of 287 jobs, 168 on the premises and 119 "spinoff" jobs.

He added that the nursing home administrators hope to hire students from Southern High School as a way of creating ties with the community.

"We want to nurture a relationship with Southern," he said. "Instead of the kids seeing this as a place to hang out, we want them to see this as a possible place to work, a key part of the community." David Cordish, head of the company that is transforming Baltimore's Pier 4 Power Plant into a $30 million entertainment center, has another preservation project on his hands.

Cordish is the new owner of Villa Pace on Green Spring Valley Road, the one-time estate of opera singer Rosa Ponselle, and he is restoring the Baltimore County landmark for use as his private residence.

J. Paul's restaurant to open at Harborplace

The newest restaurant at Harborplace, a dining saloon called J. Paul's, will open Oct. 8 on the first level of the Light Street Pavilion. The Harborplace operation is the second location for J. Paul's, which opened its first restaurant in 1980 in the Georgetown section of Washington. Its parent company is Capital Restaurant Concepts Ltd., which also owns the Paolo's restaurant chain.

Pub Date: 9/25/97

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