Since May 1998, what today is Bank of America has been quietly preparing a comprehensive land-use and revitalization plan for a decrepit 18-block residential area that is bounded by Monroe Street in the west, Carey Street in the east, Franklin Street in the south and Lafayette Avenue in the north.
Ground is to be broken in early autumn for the first component -- an independent senior living complex, with a drugstore and community space at Edmondson and Fulton avenues. The price tag is $7 million.
Meanwhile, land acquisition is under way for the second component -- 160 semidetached new and renovated houses.
No total cost figure is available yet for that phase of the multimillion-dollar project, which is to be developed in partnership with the neighborhood's nonprofit Harlem Park Revitalization Corp. While the effort is expected to take several years to complete, the bank hopes to start site preparation next year.
For Mr. O'Malley, Bank of America's Harlem Park project is vital. It could quickly establish him as a mayor who delivers. Because of its geographic proximity, Harlem Park would strengthen revitalization efforts started by Mr. Schmoke in nearby Sandtown-Winchester and near the former Murphy public housing project, which is to be replaced with a mixed-income community.
So far, things seem to be going Baltimore's way. Earlier this week, Mark Sissman, a one-time city deputy housing commissioner and former Enterprise Foundation executive, was named a Bank of America senior vice president. He will be in charge of the bank's Community Reinvestment Act lending nationwide. That he lives in Baltimore's Guilford neighborhood will not hurt.