Public hears site plans

Four developers present options for medical center land

`Major impact on city'

Residents stress need to preserve district's historic character

July 09, 1999|By Matthew Mosk | Matthew Mosk,SUN STAFF

Four developers competing to buy a century-old hospital in downtown Annapolis met with residents last night, each offering different options for transforming the 5-acre site into a mix of houses and shops.

The companies are finalists in the race to purchase the Anne Arundel Medical Center land, the largest piece of property to become available in the heart of Annapolis in decades. The hospital is planning to relocate to Parole in 2001 and residents have been watching the site carefully since officials first announced their intention to move.

Last night's packed community meeting was the first time most residents of the historic district had seen architects' concepts for an area long dominated by the hospital's large eight-story tower.

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

"The hospital looks like it was sent down from outer space into the middle of an historic residential community," said David Tufaro, a Baltimore-based developer and one of the finalists. "It was clear to us that we needed to bring something that fit in."

While each of the four plans offered a different approach -- ranging from condominiums and an assisted-living facility to luxury mansions -- all promised to blend into the centuries-old state capital district.

Aesthetic continuity

For many the 200 or more residents who came out last night, the call for aesthetic continuity with the past was an important message. Minor Carter, president of the Ward One Residents Association, which held the event, said everyone understands how significant the development will be.

"This is the biggest thing to happen in this community in at least 30 years," Carter said. "It's critically important [that residents get] a look at something that will have such a major impact on the city."

Said Ann Hillyer, who lives down the street from the property: "It sounds like all of them are quality sorts of things. We're hoping it will complement the rest of the neighborhood."

Community voice

Because Anne Arundel Medical Center is a private concern, neighbors cannot dictate how the land is developed. Shortly after the hospital began contemplating its move, it formed a committee to give the community a voice in the decision.

Hospital spokeswoman Mary Lou Baker said that Anne Arundel Medical -- which is not saying how much it is seeking for the property or how much each development proposal would cost -- has been interested in residents' concerns from the beginning.

Residents worried

Yet some residents worry that the presentations were nothing more than a show and that the hospital has known all along which company would get the contract. Hospital officials did not attend the meeting.

The homeowners' group that organized last night's event passed out index cards for residents to indicate which elements of each plan they wanted to see realized. The medical center plans to announce the buyer in September.

Four finalists

After receiving 12 proposals from developers in April, the hospital whittled the list to four this month. The four proposals on the short list are:

Village at Franklin Park, by the Holladay Group in Washington. Under this plan, two historic homes on the site would be remodeled to house 3,000 to 6,000 square feet of retail space. The hospital building would be demolished and replaced by a residential community of 70 assisted-living units, 57 townhouses and seven single-family homes. The South Street plot would be used as a park.

South Street Landing, by a limited partnership between David F. Tufaro and Toll Brothers Inc., in Baltimore. This plan also would demolish the hospital, replacing it with 128 condominium units, 27 townhouses and either six single-family homes or 20 townhouses on the South Street land. The first floors of the two historic houses would be retail space, with the three upper floors housing nine apartments.

The Villages of Annapolis, by Madison Homes Inc., a Maryland-based limited-liability company. This company intends to knock down the hospital, replacing it with 120 condominium units and 47 townhouses and single-family homes. The historic homes would be renovated, with 7,000 square feet earmarked for community use and the rest for office space or a fitness center. The South Street plot would be turned into a public waterfront park.

Struever Brothers, Eccles and Rouse of Baltimore, which proposes retaining the hospital with substantial interior and exterior renovations. The building would house 120 residential units -- 45 market-rent apartments, 75 upscale condominiums, 17,000 square feet of retail space and 45,000 square feet of office space. The two historic homes would be used for office space or residential development.

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