Remington gets second look for police station Schmoke says city has bid for vacant F & M property

November 25, 1997|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

In a signal that he might change course on a site for a new Northern District police station, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said yesterday that the city has put in a bid for a vacant F & M drugstore property in Remington.

Last month, Schmoke told North Baltimore community leaders that he had decided to locate a new Northern police station on city-owned property near Cold Spring Lane and the Jones Falls Expressway.

The decision angered many of them, who contended that it made more sense to locate a police station at the F & M site -- an empty building in an area troubled by crime and drugs.

"If we could acquire the site at a reasonable cost and then dispose of the Cold Spring Lane property so that we would not incur significant new costs, I would be willing to reopen the matter," Schmoke said.

City officials said the offer, made through the drugstore company's real estate agent, Metro Property Management, is in the neighborhood of $1 million. In an October report, the city estimated the cost of acquiring the F & M site at $1.5 million to $2 million.

"We are in negotiations," the mayor said. "We don't know if [we're] going to reach a successful conclusion."

The mayor based his earlier decision on the city's estimate that building on the Cold Spring property would cost $5.9 million, compared with more than $7 million for the drugstore site.

Planning director Charles Graves said if the city purchased the F & M property, it would tear down the building and put one up in its place, rather than try to renovate the box-like structure, as was originally considered.

Second District Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young -- who represents parts of East and North Baltimore, including Remington -- expressed his pleasure at the city's "fair market offer" yesterday and urged the owners to be "good citizens."

Schmoke said one factor in making the offer was Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier's view that neither the Cold Spring site nor the Remington site has a "strategic advantage" in controlling crime.

The Northern District station on Keswick Road in Hampden is a Victorian architectural landmark nearly a century old. Plans for a new police station have been in the works for a decade.

Schmoke said that if the location changes, the lowest bidder for the Cold Spring Lane project, BCI Construction, would be offered the chance to build the station. The company's bid was $4.3 million.

Pub Date: 11/25/97

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