East Baltimore rising

Face lift: Big construction projects promise to change landscape from City Hall to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

April 12, 1999

THE EASTERN edge of Baltimore's downtown is about to change beyond recognition.

Already, a $184 million cancer complex is rising at Broadway and Orleans streets, next to Johns Hopkins Hospital. Neither of its two structures is a skyscraper; nevertheless, their combined square footage equals the 30-story Alex. Brown Building plus the 30-story Blaustein Building.

The two buildings are several months from completion. Even so, they have made city officials realize the magnitude of the potential change as one of Baltimore's biggest employers grows even bigger.

This has prompted City Hall to re-examine the entire neighborhood, including the future of the Broadway, a boarded-up, 22-story tower on the other side of the intersection. Just months ago, the former senior citizens' building seemed destined to become a suite hotel.

That changed recently. The thinking now is to demolish the high-rise and use its 8-acre site for more ambitious redevelopment.

This shift is welcome. A big chunk of land, roughly bounded by Fallsway on the west, Monument Street on the north, Lombard Street on the south and Broadway on the east, will be the focus of massive redevelopment in the next few years. Consider:

The Flag House public housing project's three high-rises and 15 low-rise buildings will be demolished in July 2000. The 11.3-acre site, near Lombard Street's corned beef row, Little Italy and the Port Discovery children's museum, is slated for a $65 million redevelopment that includes townhouses for rental and ownership, as well as stores.

Just north of the Flag House area, the city is going ahead with a plan to create a business park along Fayette Street, where another public housing complex has been rebuilt into a townhouse community.

A triangular parcel between Fallsway, Hillen and Gay streets has been cleared and will be the site of a new state-financed Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. Projected cost: $42 million.

The Oldtown Mall, a celebrated 1970s redevelopment project that has fallen on hard times, is the target of another resuscitation effort.

This activity has tremendous potential. With another revitalization plan being prepared for the corridor between Howard Street and the University of Maryland campus on the west side, the edges of downtown are being solidified even as new investment is going to Charles Center.

This bodes well for the city's future.

Pub Date: 4/12/99

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