Circle of life

Anne Arundel: $101 million Park Place could dramatically turn around area near new traffic circle.

October 29, 1999

ANNAPOLIS CITY planners have already begun to reap rewards from their decision to build a nearly $8 million traffic circle at West Street and Taylor Avenue.

The roundabout, nearing completion ahead of schedule, is more than a solution to traffic congestion in the West Street corridor. It is becoming a stimulant for the kind of development that can revitalize an area.

Annapolis-based developer Jerome J. Parks' proposal to build a $101 million complex adjacent to the still-unnamed circle could be a major boon in the city's quest to revive this stretch.

The plan includes a 225-room hotel, two office buildings, a theater, apartments, condominiums, retail space and a three-level garage on 11 acres.

Envisioned with a 95-foot-tall clock tower, the development could enliven a part of the state capital in sore need of a makeover. Annapolis planners have targeted the area for revitalization for decades.

The area is only a few blocks away from the popular historic and state government areas that bustle with tourists, but has often seemed a world away with its vacant storefronts and forlorn empty lots.

The dramatic project, dubbed Park Place, would complement several others that have risen along West Street in the 1990s, such as the Loews Annapolis Hotel, the expanded Rams Head Tavern microbrewery and a three-story office building. Just last April, a developer announced plans to build a 124-room hotel also on West Street.

The height of the project, with its clock tower and six-story office buildings, may raise some concerns. But the plans are attractive and the site is far enough away that it wouldn't compete visually with the historic area.

This could be a welcome addition to Annapolis' West Street corridor.

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