Locust Point residents vote to support plan to redevelop waterfront plant

April 16, 1999|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,SUN STAFF

Locust Point residents voted overwhelmingly last night to support a plan to transform one of the city's largest and best-known industrial sites -- the dormant Procter & Gamble Co. soap plant along the southern Baltimore waterfront -- into office and storage space.

The vote, at a heated meeting of about 70 members of the Locust Point Civic Association, is likely to give a boost to a proposal by Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse Inc., a local development firm that has an option to buy the property.

Residents said they would back Planned Unit Development (PUD) legislation, expected to be introduced in the City Council later this spring, that Struever had sought.

That designation would allow developers to turn a little more than half the site into offices for shipping lines, high-technology firms and, company officials said, a new headquarters for Struever Bros. About 75,000 square feet might be used for retail space, perhaps a restaurant.

Another section of the site, farther from the waterfront, would be used by a storage company, said civic association President Joyce Bauerle.

"I'm happy, but there's a lot of work to be done," Bill Struever, the company president, said last night. "The Baltimore waterfront is a very special place."

Struever and community leaders emphasized that the prospects of the proposal are far from certain.

Chief among the questions facing Struever is whether the city and state governments are willing to revive -- and finance -- a plan to extend Key Highway east to the property.

Terms of the PUD, negotiated in five meetings between Struever and local residents, require the road to be built before the PUD takes effect. Struever also said his company would "in all likelihood" buy and develop the site only if the government agreed to extend Key Highway.

A handful of residents who live on Woodall and Stevenson streets complained that the community was voting too quickly.

Pub Date: 4/16/99

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