Homes in place of a hospital

Annapolis: Medical center justifiably chose residential proposals as neighbors desired.

June 11, 1999

THE MOVE OF Anne Arundel Medical Center from downtown Annapolis to a commercial area on the outskirts will have an immense impact the core of the state capital: The 5-acre parcel is the largest to become available in the Annapolis Historic District in decades.

The surrounding community feared that the hospital would be replaced with offices, bringing more traffic to the area and dormancy after dark.

Medical center officials ought to be commended for heeding the wishes of neighbors as they whittled the list of candidates vying to develop the site.

FOR THE RECORD - The spelling of C. William Struever has been corrected for the archive database. See microfilm for original story.

A hospital, with ambulances roaring through the night, might have seemed more intrusive than an office tower proposal. We thought the site, with a view of the water, was ideal for a high-tech firm.

But neighbors saw it differently. If the hospital is to move, they'd prefer owner-occupants as committed to the area as they are.

Although more homes would mean more traffic and pressure for services, the neighbors' position has merit. Annapolitans often lament the loss of grocers and other merchants downtown who cater to residents, not tourists. An infusion of middle-income housing might restore some balance.

Only one of the four finalists, Baltimore's Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, proposes substantial office space, but even its plan would include 75 upscale condominiums and 45 market-rate apartments. Other proposals -- by the Holladay Group of Washington, Madison Homes Inc. of Maryland and a partnership of David F. Tufaro and Toll Brothers Inc. of Baltimore -- would create 133 to 175 homes.

Only Struever Bros. would retain the hospital building, but the unremarkable structure should not be of great concern. The hospital has four satisfactory proposals; its mission is to select the best.

Pub Date: 6/11/99

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