A delicate task

April 21, 2000

IT MAKES good sense for Baltimore City to unload its unprofitable bed-and-breakfast -- as long as the stability of the Midtown-Belevedere neighborhood is not eroded in the process.

Exactly why the city felt compelled in 1985 to operate an inn is not clear -- beyond the stated need for an official guest house for visiting dignitaries. The result was Government House at 1125 N. Calvert St. It's a charming place, perfect for small weddings and romantic escapes. But it does not make money. Last year alone, it lost $120,000.

The Board of Estimates has now decided to sell or lease the property by June 30, which is wise. But Government House must be unloaded with care; otherwise, it may share the fate of an adjoining building, which has been vacant and boarded up for years.

The Midtown-Belvedere area contains architectural gems that once belonged to railroad barons and other wealthy Baltimoreans. Investment adviser Eddie Brown recently made a major investment in renovating a faded mansion opposite Government House. Overall, though, Midtown-Belvedere is struggling. City Hall should take care not to make the situation worse.

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