City workers have begun demolishing a section of the long-vacant Hamburger's building downtown -- a condition of the deal that led to the purchase of the property last month by attorney and Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos.
Baltimore public works director George G. Balog estimates that the demolition could cost the city $750,000 and take two to three months.
Workers are dismantling the section of the three-story building that crosses Fayette Street like a walkway and connects to the plaza of the 22-story One Charles Center, which is also owned by Angelos.
The work will cause some lanes of Fayette Street to be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., beginning next week.
As soon as city work crews are finished, Angelos said, he will embark on a full-scale redevelopment of One Charles Center and the surrounding area at a cost of about $12 million.
"The renovation and the rehab of that building will cost more than $5 million," Angelos said, referring to the Hamburger's building. "The structure now has a negative impact on the immediate area."
City officials and business owners have complained that homeless people and people suspected of using illegal drugs congregate under the portion of the building that is scheduled to be demolished.
The city agreed to demolish the section of the 43,000-square-foot building as part of a deal under which Angelos bought the property from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for $1.6 million.
The deal was struck after Angelos thwarted a plan by BGE to convert the Hamburger's building into an alternative heating and air-conditioning plant and build a large tower beside it.
Angelos had threatened last year to file a lawsuit against BGE after the utility revealed it would build a 14-story tower and install natural gas-fired boilers atop the 10 N. Charles St. building, which the company bought for about $1 million in March 1996 to house its Comfort Link subsidiary.
Angelos -- who is leading an effort to revitalize that northern part of the city's central business district that has declined since the city began focusing on the Inner Harbor nearly two decades ago -- didn't think the BGE proposal would complement his plans to redevelop the nearby area into retail and office space.
The city worked out a deal with BGE to relocate the generation plant to Greene and Pratt streets, the site of a BGE substation.
Part of that deal included the city's agreement to dismantle part of the Hamburger's building if Angelos would purchase the structure.
Pub Date: 1/09/98