City OKs plan to finance stadium conversion

Effort to use Memorial as elderly housing advances

November 05, 1999|By Kurt Streeter | Kurt Streeter,SUN STAFF

The nonprofit group hoping to redevelop the Memorial Stadium site passed another hurdle this week when its financing plans were approved by Baltimore officials.

The Govans Ecumenical Development Corp. (GEDCO), which wants to turn the site into a senior center and YMCA, presented a proposal outlining the financing for the plan to the city Department of Housing and Community Development on Monday.

The nonprofit, church-based group won a city government-sponsored competition this year with its proposal to turn the storied stadium site, former home to the Baltimore Colts and Orioles, into a campus including housing for low- and moderate-income senior citizens and a 45,000-square-foot YMCA for all ages.

GEDCO "is showing clear signs this important project is moving forward," said Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III, noting the nonprofit group's proposal includes at least 10 sources of funding for the proposed $45 million dollar project.

Julia Pierson, GEDCO's executive director, said her group plans to tap into federal low-income housing tax credits, tax exempt bonds and conventional banking sources to pay for the project, which she estimates will be completed by 2002.

"We've taken a giant step forward, and we are looking forward to bringing this to Baltimore and our neighborhood," said Pierson. "There's a critical need for this kind of housing in the city."

She said none of the funding has been secured, because Memorial Stadium would not be demolished until next year and the site would not be ready for construction until spring of 2001.

Henson said he has extended the city's period for hammering out the details of the proposal with GEDCO 90 days and that the city might lengthen the process if a final agreement on development plans has not been made by then.

The financial plan was the final step in a three-stage review process that included a market study showing demand for the project and a design plan.

Competing bids included a research and technology park, and a mixed-use project that would have combined residential, retail and recreational buildings at the site.

Pub Date: 11/05/99

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